more than one voice

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

ticking off boxes

My husband has a saying – ‘just need to tick off a few more boxes’.  He’s always making long lists of things that he has to do, and somehow he never seems to finish ticking off his boxes.  I think it’s the mental lists that get him the most, those lists that include – give the girls a good education, get them through university and settled into a decent life,  lists that seem to want to hurry along time.  His boxes stress him out, I think it’s the never ending lists of things he feels he has to do, I call them his duty lists.

Recently, I seem to be copying him and I have my own list of boxes that need to be ticked off.  We are opening a book shop in December, which is very exciting but also very stressful.  We both have full-time jobs and trying to fit it all in is creating more and more boxes.  My husband has been selling books since he was a student.  He scours charity shops and auctions for books that he buys, restores and sells at a local farmers market – his slogan is ‘fresh produce for the mind’.  He specialises in South African historical books – called Africaner, books filled with stories about the early settlers, Zulu wars and fascinating African mythology.
making magnets  
making pictures 
Product development - not as easy as it looks

The shop is about 40 minutes outside of our town – along a beautiful route of farms and interesting little shops and restaurants, called the Midlands Meander.  I’m hoping to put my art in the shop as the whole setting lends itself perfectly to arty things. My hope is that I will be able to supplement my income with my art and be able to work mornings only, giving myself more time to spend on art. (It would be a real dream come true if I could spend ALL my time on art – but I won’t be greedy).

So my dear bloggy friends, if I have been a little quiet it’s because I’m trying to tick off all my boxes, not to mention trying to fit all the boxes of books into my house.  
just some of the boxes of books that are waiting to be priced and coded (and then ticked off)

I'm having problems leaving comments at some blogs again.  Does anyone know why this is happening?  It's a bit frustrating when you write a long comment and it disappears into the ether.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


what sacred spaces do you have in your home, she asked with a curious smile

I remember sitting in church as a child, fixated by the altar and the statues, mesmerised by the flickering candles.  Back then children played what we saw and experienced, so I made altars and played church. My altars where decorated with artefacts that I found around my house, ordinary objects that took on new meaning,  glass vases filled with huge dahlias, an old yellow chenille bedspread – the altar cloth, and stumpy candles gave the finishing touches. 

Looking around my house the other day, I realised that I still have altars of sorts, but now I like to think of them as shrines or sacred spaces.  My shrines are arrangements of talismans, and mementos, sacred souvenirs and pictures, objects that are meaningful to me, that remind me of things I don’t want to forget.  Cherished pictures of my children, art that they have made, stones that they have given me, displayed on bookcases and shelves.  I sometimes think that I would love a home decorated in ‘magazine’ style, uncluttered, free of dust catchers, but my displays evoke emotions inside me that are more important then having a neatly decorated house.

I have a little stuffed rabbit sitting on a shelf in my bedroom. My mom gave me the rabbit when I was writing my matric exams, he was smuggled into many more exams after that and saw me through university. Next to him sits a beautiful pottery church that I bought at an art show many years ago, it reminds me of the spiritual journeys I’ve been on.

I guess I should have picked up Noddy for the photo

I read recently in a book on shrines and altars, that to create a shrine, no matter how simply, is to make art.  I like that idea, that my sacred displays are in fact art, created to represent my life, a way to pay homage to my life experiences, to remember occasions and events that have shaped my life. They are I suppose a visible representation of those invisible aspects of my life that I want to remember, just like art they tell a story. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

being alone

The art making process can be a solitary affair and sometimes I feel lonely. I have often wondered about loneliness as it seems to be something that many people battle with. I have wondered if contact with others really does take away loneliness.

I remember when I was working in London, completely and utterly alone, I knew no one, and yet I didn’t feel lonely.  It was a time in my life when I remembered with perfect clarity to live in the present moment, to watch life, to observe myself with no expectations, with no distractions.  I still remember in detail the walks I took, the wind on my face as I looked at how the leaves on the trees responded to the same wind, I had no need to explain life to myself; it just was what it was.

I think that when we face life moment by moment as it presents itself then we are happy with what is, happy to be alone, we don’t need to constantly seek out others, if they are there that is great, but it is also fine to be alone.  I find that when I forget this way of being that is when the loneliness creeps in, and becomes the distraction. I forget that solitude can be a gift, something that is a necessity, I forget to breathe in stillness, to let silence wrap around my shoulders, and to feel its comfort. People can fill the space and there is nothing better than spending an afternoon laughing with a special friend but we also need silence, quiet time to fill up our souls .