A busy art year for me, with wedding fingerprint trees going to all corners of the world, but a very sad year for our family with the loss of my gorgeous nan.
Dementia had taken it's cruel grip on my lovely nanna a few years back after my granddad passed away and it became so upsetting to not be able to communicate any longer with her and to see her health deteriorate. My nan was always a strong willed character and I wanted her to fight this battle but in reality she didn't even know what was the real world anymore or what her battle was, complicated with health problems this has been a traumatic few years for my mum and her sister and I have felt helpless.
My nan supported me 100% in all my endeavours from being a child through university and into my teaching career, and my move to Bermuda and Spain. She came to visit us in both of our adventures overseas. She was proud of me and always told me so. I take great joy in knowing I made her feel this way. I spent every Summer with her and every Friday night and she taught me a lot of common sense and established that women were a force to be reckoned with.
|A little Christmas tree decoration my Nanna made with me and I still hang on my tree every year.|
My Nan had time for me, she made time even when she was busy. We spent hours in the summer holidays baking, gardening, growing fruit and vegetables, and making craft projects out of anything we had saved. Now my nan wasn't a hoarder but she saw value and worth in creativity and knew the qualities of shiny chocolate wrappers, pine cones, shells found on holidays, doilies etc……we even made jewellery out of dried melon seeds that we threaded one by one with a needle to create bracelets and necklaces. We made christmas decorations from wooden pegs dressed up in tiny hand made felt clothes we had made (I still hang them on my christmas tree now see the pic above) and so many more things including drawings of flamenco dancers with their ruffled skirts made out of long pencil sharpenings we had carefully collected.
She encouraged me to create things whether it be in the garden or crafts from nothing. It amazes me now how I can take a piece of paper and a pen and create something of worth and value, and I owe that persistence in keeping on creating to her.
We played games for hours on end and she taught me to play every card game there was, she was keen bridge player and I would often see her hustle a few of the local ladies at a game and watched her moves at the blackjack tables at the casino. Playing cards with her certainly taught me to perfect a good poker face and to think a few steps ahead, essential as secondary school teacher and in management.
I hope I can pass down to my son some of the qualities she taught me.
My nanna loved cuddly toys and in her last years they were very important to her, she seeked comfort and friendship in them much like a child does. She had a love for Hippos and they would be dotted around her house from tea mugs to little sculptures. A few days after she passed away, I bought this lovely hand pulled collagraph print of a hippo to hang on my wall, to remind me of her and her love of these creatures. The UK artist is Clare Sherwen and her prints can be found on etsy. https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClareSherwen
I also have been doing some print making and have done a little hippo mono print as well as some other animals, and have created some with geometric details. I will do a blog dedicated to them next. But for now here is my little hippo for my nanna with a pink background.
I miss my nan terribly but her tormented last years are over and I hope now she has found peace. I am sure she is dancing with granddad up in the clouds. I miss them both more than words can say.
My grandparents wedding photo with the hand painted details traditional of the times. This one photo although very staged compared to the 1000's of digital photos that are taken at weddings today somehow seems more precious. Photography was expensive and a portrait photo was something that was saved for and cherished, with often only one photo being selected. We have become such a throw away society and the advances of technology, and social media has somehow devalued photography as an art form.