Do you like my new tattoo of Dad? It looks a bit wrinkly because of the gladwrap over it to protect it as it heals.
No? Okay, you’re right. I’m too chicken to get a tattoo, and Tony has enough for both of us!
Yesterday I mentioned that I have a plan in mind for new Legato works. The plan involves image transfers. Yesterday I did some laser copies of photos from WWII of Dad in uniform then gave them two thin coats of Golden’s Clear Tar Gel and left them to dry well overnight. Today I soaked one really well then rubbed most of the paper off the back. I let it dry to see how much paper pulp was left then soaked it again, and draped it over my arm so I could use my other hand to gently rub more paper pulp off. I find having it on my arm means fewer creases in it, and I can feel how much pressure I am applying – rub too hard and the image gets damaged. I’m pleased with it so far – it’ll be interesting to see if it is totally clear once it’s dry.
When Mum passed away recently a friend gave us some flowers which included poppies and seed heads – awesome! I have been fascinated with poppies since we visited Italy in 2010 and use them a lot in my artwork. Having the real thing on display in the kitchen inspired my to take a bunch of photos, do some drawings, and finally cut some stencils. Huge thanks to Michelle Ward for lessons learnt while doing the Crusades – without your lessons I doubt I would have managed it. I have now got stencils for two flowers, and two different heads plus the masks for all but the big poppy. I couldn’t work out the bridges to keep it in one piece but may have another shot at it yet.
I have had a quick play with them on newsprint and am happy, so tomorrow I’ll start playing in earnest. Earlier in the year I was given some lovely old, never used and in mint condition, prints of John Abbott’s The insects of Georgia produced by the Alexander Turnbull Library. I am going to be participating in Legato 2013 and have a vague plan in mind involving the prints, transfers of photos of Dad from the war, and the poppy stencils. We’ll see…
(the images are wrinkly because I am too impatient to wait for the ink to dry before scanning)
I know this is a bit early, but I have a lot going on in my head, so this seems the perfect time. At the end of each year I think back on the year that’s been; the achievements and events that have shaped my life. Knowing what we have done, what has happened, and where we’ve been, helps map the road forward. Here’s a quick recap of things that stand out from 2012. In many ways this has been a sad and difficult year but as a scrapbooker I know that we can’t just document the good times; without the hard stuff, the really good days would not shine so brightly.
- Had to accept Mum going into the local rest-home, after 14 years of caring for her at home, when she had a stroke in May.
- Was awarded Overall Winner of the 2012 Signature Exchange.
- Dropped out of Post Grad Diploma in Museum Studies at Massey for 2012 – my work and family needed my time more than my studies did.
- Re-elected as Co-Chair is PubSig, a national organisation that supports librarians, to serve another 2 years.
- Enjoyed another year of love and friendship with Sandra; 40-mumble years and counting!
- Presented a lightning session on professional registration at the Palmerston North LIANZA conference 2012.
- Participated in the 14th Annual International Collage Exchange.
- Tony had double cataract surgery, then a few months later a femoral crossover bypass to get around a 20cm clot in his left femoral artery.
- Enjoyed being on the communications committee for the 2012 LIANZA annual conference.
- Mum passed away just four days after my birthday and 9 days before Christmas. My heart aches.
My guiding word for 2012 was LEARN; looking back, I did few of the things I wanted to learn to do. I think that’s mainly a reflection of the kind of year it has been, which means that my word for next year will have something to do with being kind to myself. When you look back, what have been the big things for you this year?
I’ve been converting an A5 notebook into an art journal for the coming year. I usually have more than one art journal on the go. This one’s role is to encourage me to draw more often, and make notes of ideas as they flash though my brain. I coated all the pages with gesso, and have spent a few afternoons painting, inking and stenciling to get rid of much of the whiteness. I’m nearly finished and the process has been very therapeutic as I mourn the loss of Mum, and incredibly messy. I can’t wait to start gluing bits and bobs into it, drawing on top of the paint, and generally just using it – not storing it, putting it on the bookcase and leaving it there or making it too precious to use.
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- Tagged acrylic, art journal, arts, gesso, illustration, painting, process, relax, self, stenciling, study
As many of you know, until May of this year my Mum was being cared for at home by Tony and I, and had been for 14 years. She had a stroke and decided to go into a rest-home as she no longer felt safe alone when we were at work. In the months since her health has got progressively worse, despite the wonderful care she has been receiving. Her kidney and heart problems were reaching end stage.
Mum spent 3 weeks in hospital recently and we decided, along with medical staff, that Mum would return to the rest-home and never go back to hospital. If she got sick we would use comfort care only, and if she got an infection such as pneumonia we would not treat it. Mum had simply got too sick.
Friday last week her health deteriorated rapidly overnight and the palliative care nurse was called in. We got to the home at 10am and basically never left again. We had a quite rough afternoon and evening but by midnight Friday she was comfortable. I went home for 3 hours sleep, and Ailsa went for off for a bit when I got back.
Ailsa and her family were down because we had already planned an early family Christmas, so both Ailsa and I and our husbands, and most of her grandchildren were able to spend time with her. The rest-home manager, Judy, sat with Mum for an hour while we had Christmas lunch – Judy said Mum would be proud of us for doing the family thing for her.
Mum slept all afternoon with us stroking her hands and hair, and talking to her. She passed away peacefully late afternoon Saturday with Ailsa, Tony and I right with her.
I am glad she found the peace she needed to be able to let go and join Dad. I will miss her terribly but I am grateful she is no longer in pain.
I want to share some of the things I wrote to say at the funeral: I ended up only saying part of it, for various reasons, so here it is:
In the 14 years ago Tony and I looked after Mum the Hawera ED staff got to know us on a first name basis… We’ve had amazing care from medical and ambulance staff over the years. On Mum’s behalf, I have to say a special thanks to Dr Bok and ICU Nurse Simon – she remembered you both right to the end.
My sister Ailsa has provided endless support, coming down from Auckland most months. She’s been the patient recipient of many “hey, we’re just off to ED” phone calls, providing support, and a sounding board. In turn, she could not have done it without the endless support of Jim and their children.
Finally my husband Tony. We’d only been married 3 years when Mum got sick; for most of the years we have been together we’ve been caring for Mum. You haven’t just used your ambulance skills with Mum, you’ve been patient and kind; you made her laugh and taught her to do the fingers! You’ve supported me when I had to make difficult choices and never once suggested a particular path just to make life easier for yourself. Those things are part of the reason I love you; thank you for having taken this journey with me.
I have worked full-time throughout the years Mum’s been sick. Sometimes, particularly when Mum was very sick and I was truly nursing her – feeding her, dressing her, tucking her into bed at night –people have asked if I was tired or whatever. Yes, I was; tired as all hell sometimes. But few daughters get to spend the quality time with their ageing mother that I have had, and, as I have written on her coffin, the journey with Mum was worth every second.
I am a regular follow of Tim Holtz’s blog and have been looking at the Christmas decorations people make with considerable envy, although I admit most of them are way too fiddly for my patience level. The other day I was in @yourlotto in Hawera looking at the KaiserCraft mdf projects and there was a small fairy castle. It’s only about 5″ square and $11 – perfect! Finally, a wee Christmas decoration I felt I could tackle.
I painted the inside white and then stenciled a pattern in silver onto it using one of Michelle Ward’s stencils. I covered the outside using KaiserCraft “Just Believe” 6.5″ papers, and had plenty left over for making more Christmas cards too. I added some die cuts and a mountain of Kindy Glitz round the tops of the spires to look like snow or icicles. I don’t usually use Kindy Glitz but I loved it for this project.
The only problem I ran into was that I painted and papered over the tabs that hold it together and then they wouldn’t fit into the slots, so I had to sand them back. Other than that, it’s the first time I have tried one of KaiserCraft’s mdf projects and I’m sold on them.
My icy fairy castle is now on our mantle piece with a candle in the centre, looking very snowy and festive.
I’m tired, stressed, upset, and sick of the weather as well. Hence the angry red sky and summer snowfall.