Saturday, August 14, 2021

My first doll and puppet ever made

 It was a beautiful experience to hand over the little man in the basket yesterday to its new minder.

The cloth doll is obviously not my most amazing work, but perhaps the most significant. It is the first ever doll I made at the age of ten. Nearly 50 years ago.

I had already made a few dolls clothes by then on the singer sewing machine and also by hand. Some knitted. 

My parents were on holiday, not sure where my older siblings were, but in any case, I was staying with an aunt and uncle for a few weeks. Cycling to school every day. With the hep of my aunt I made this doll. It was the starting point of a life long doll making adventure. Initially using cloth, then paper mache heads, using a plastic mould and putting a nylon stocking over it. I started borrowing books from the library and learned more and more techniques. My mother following my lead. 

I made the first puppet at age 15, following the instruction of the first doll making book I bought. And still have.

The puppet body template, and some of the starting process of making the base of the head I still use in my online teachings tutorials.   I remember sitting at the dining table to cut the wooden body with tools my dad had given me for my previous year’s birthday. He passed away when I was 14.

Both these pieces are up for adoption. Email or message me if interested. 

Again, all funds raised are for future support, both living, and creatively.

The first doll’s clothes have faded a little over time when she was sitting on the window sill in my studio. Enjoying the morning sunshine. 

The clown puppet is a fully working marionette. Obviously my sculpting skills improved a great deal over the decades. But for a first attempt I am still quite proud of him. Including the detail in the clothing. 

Many thanks 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

“It happened on the Late Late Show (1993)”

As I am continuing to let go of some of my artworks/creations, here is a piece I made around 1991 as part of my Fantasy Folk Artist Dolls business. I made many tiny little people. Each and every one a unique piece. Often with acorns, shells, or (clay) leaves as hat or clothing. All created in response to living in Dromana House in Villierstown, Co. Waterford at the time. A place steeped in history, folklore and surrounded by nature. 

All are sold - and found homes all over the world. This is one I kept.

This piece made its appearance, and received a special mention by Gay Byrne, on the Late Late Enterprise Show in January 1993. I have a video clip of it, one day I’ll figure out how to share it.

This appearance was very much the start of my public sharing and selling of my work.

My work at the Late Late Enterprise Show, January 1993

The egg shaped basket was made from local rushes, woven around a balloon. I learned the craft of basket making with rushes at the little church in Villerstown, and was told; “You can’t weave around a balloon!” I did it anyway. 30 years later it is still intact. 

This sculpture is in my room at present, looking out the window, but I have decided to let it find a new forever home. It is ready for adoption. 

If you are interested to purchase this piece, please send me an email, or personal message via Facebook/WhatsApp (if you are in my contacts) with your offer. Its chosen home will be at my discretion.

Collection from Waterford would be preferable, but (overseas) courier can be organised, but might take me a while to sort.

A few other dolls and puppets are currently stored by Jane who kindly handled the sorting out of my little home with huge dedication. These works will be up for adoption in the near future.

(Please stop by here another day…)

I also have some puppets in my new home; The Girls, Johnny Dwyer, and Jimmy. All stored in their boxes. I do tell them that one day they will see the light again. In what capacity I don’t yet fully know. Perhaps during the suggested exhibition here at Signacare of my work later in the year.

The funds raised from sales of this piece and others, will help me pay for practical support to make the intended video-documentary of my work. (See previous blogpost)

When my brain allows, I am editing two previous written lectures (Cork, and Chile) into one, and publish this on my blog, with links to youtube, website, podcasts etc. to give a ‘tour’ of my work created during illness. 

I have an offer of help with further editing of the video I made for Cork Puppetry Festival. The final video will have subtitles in English. Perhaps with subtitles also in Spanish and Dutch, but if not, then I do hope to have the written document available in those languages. But all in its own good time….!

Stay tuned

PS, I think the email notifications of new blogpost will cease at some point in the near future - or so google told me - so if you like to stay up to date, you probably have to take the initiative to see if I have anything new added. Many thanks for your support. As ever.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Change, acceptance and new creative opportunities

Big decisions followed by acceptance allow me to move forward. Again.

Maybe I will start working on my photo album cover again too…

After too many physical/mental challenges to create the video presentation for Cork Puppetry Festival, attend (briefly) 2 zoom meetings (Cork, and Chile), and being encouraged to be more part of the community here, I had to concede that I need to be much more in tune, respected, and clear in what I can and can no longer do. Unfortunately a lot less…

I will have to listen much better to what my body needs. And put expectations aside. My own, and from others.

Creatively I have made the decision that I will no longer do any online events. The physical collapses were just too scary to justify any further involvement in them.

However it was utterly beautiful and a huge honour to share my work, my stories, and to communicate with some amazing people over the years. 

I do realise that anyone who wants to hear, read, see my work, there is enough material out there. Over time I intend to create a list of links to talks, podcast, videos etc. and share it on my blog. (For now, there is lots on my website and blog, including links to videos and podcasts) Maybe I’ll extend last week’s video, but certainly not yet!

As always, when decision are made, and I fully accept them, in this case to withdraw from public online engagements, a beautiful opportunity arose.

In stead of giving I will be receiving. The universe as always heard me, and supported me.

Request for Assistance

Months ago I put a request in for Personal Assistance (PA) through Disability Services, in order to be able to explore life a little more outside my room, as well as receive support creatively. The application is in…. And as before, that is where it stayed. (Probably when it is granted, it is too late to be able to explore the world outside my room…)

Anyway. To find a way ‘out’ in the meantime, I put out a call in a private group of artist - and in a subsequent beautiful turn of  events I have very gratefully accepted one to one support through Waterford Healing Arts Trust. (WHAT)

My first contacts with WHAT was the invitation to give a talk in 2004

From next Thursday I will be collaborating with artist Caroline Schofield to see what and where and how my current abilities fit to continue to use my creative mind. As we talked on the phone yesterday we both acknowledged that this isn’t just me getting support, but it is very much a process for both of us. Hence using the word collaboration. 

I think this contact will also help me to start working on the embroidered tree again (See first image and here ) and other unfinished projects.

I now need to be horizontal a great deal of the time. Communicating is now only possible if I lay flat. This will also be the case for creative work. I imagine.

Initially there will be three sessions with Caroline. No idea what will happen, but after a phone call yesterday with the artist the Tree, and my Tree House will be central to our collaboration.

It has been a tough learning process. Again!

Time to rest, rest, rest, and then play.

Be well and much love.

Further reading: