Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A year of contrast

Dear friends

It is that time of year again. Christmas is on its way.
The New Year looming.
As usual it got me by surprise. Suddenly it is December. Mid December. My heart and mind are far, far behind.

Anyway, there are a few things I’d like share with you.

First of all, it has been a year full of contrasts.

On the good end of the spectrum are my continued create explorations which has led to being in touch with people far beyond the walls of my house, even my studio. I was invited to give talks about Puppetry and Disability in Ireland, the UK, Canada and Brazil. The latter two via pre-recorded message, and Skype. The talks and research opportunity in the UK were kindly sponsored by many of you. Thank you so much for making that trip happen. 
I also now teach puppet making via distant learning, which dissolves any borders.
And the women of Bantry shop Forest & Flock have been amazing in bringing my work out to places way beyond my dreams.

My health was not the best during these memorable UK adventure, and still isn’t, but meeting like-minded creatives and researchers, was a logical next step in my own (creative) development. It is just beautiful to be welcomed into this intriguing world of puppetry and have my experiences of illness/disability and my creative life taken serious. To be asked to contribute to the research; to have people learning from my story.

At Cork Puppetry Festival 2018

Puppetry – a sense of movement in my work - which I had believed to be a reflection on me ‘dancing’ again, was actually a ‘dance with society’. Not a physical dance, as I have become less mobile again.

On the other end of the spectrum is the now almost one year long battle with the HSE (our national health service) in trying to “persuade” the Disability Support Services, that indeed I have a disability. In a peculiar, and rather difficult to understand mindset, my local office cannot assess me for Personal Assistant (PA) support as my diagnosis is not on their approved list of disabilities. I kid you not. Not to mind that I am disabled for every other part of the HSE, and society at large. Long story, and if you really want to know, please see this link.

Life with ME continues to be a journey of discovery.

These two extremes require a daily battle to finding and keeping a peaceful mind. Finding ways to stay with my believes, my hopes and dreams. To not sink with the pressure and heartache of dealing with a health ‘service’ which in many cases do not see me as a person, but as a number, a statistic.

Friends, as always have been a source of support, including my fellow members of ME Advocates Ireland. My deepest gratitude for sticking it out with me.

Creatively, I am at a crossroads too. Again.

I had to acknowledge that I cannot do my work the way I had become accustomed to: To spend daily about half hour in the studio; to teach puppet making in my studio; to spend time on the computer working on the next book. 
As ever there is no shortage of ideas, just a shortage of energy and physical ability.

I hope that by the time the New Year shows its face, I will have mastered to create a new balance. To have a care package in place in which I have enough support, and a continuation of support. To hopefully have a say in how this support package is being handled.
To be able to be in my studio and start writing again. 
To find ways to not have to travel (abroad) to give talks, but to learn how to pre-record talks on video, which can be shown instead.
I also hope to come to terms in a spiritual sense and make sense of where I am at in health and illness.

Letting go of the old – to make room for the new.

With all this in mind, I am hosting an Open Studio Event on Sunday 16th December, 1-4 pm. (or any day by appointment).
  • This gives me an opportunity to meet with you during a time when I find myself more and more housebound.
    The proceeds of selling of my books, cards, prints, (some) puppets, sculptures and tapestries; will go towards paying for a (creative) PA.
    This way I can continue to create new work, and/or writing. Or to have support if I am invited to give talks more locally.
  • Apart from the Open Studio, my books, prints, cards etc. can also be purchased from my website 
  • Some of the artwork can be viewed on my blog
  • And as I am not up for teaching puppet making in my studio, I have set up a Distant Learning Course. See a short video  and please contact me for details, or keep an eye out for my blog.

Wishing you a Wonder - Full Christmas
and a Peaceful New Year

Last but not least.

I would like to wish you a wonderful   
Christmas and a healthy and peaceful year ahead.

As it is very unlikely I will be getting Christmas cards or presents sorted, 
please be assured that you are in my thoughts. 
And as I read somewhere on social media – 
your friendship membership has been renewed for another year.

Much, much love to you and all