Tuesday, 18 December 2007

'Getting To know You...'

A few weeks ago I was tagged by Ewa to reveal eight random facts about myself. I promised her I would do the post when I felt able to, so here goes.
The rules when you are tagged are that you must…

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Write your post.
3. Choose eight more people to tag.
I am at my happiest when I am being creative. Whether it is within the home or in the garden, or, previously in my profession as a primary, then nursery teacher, my life has been full of restless creativity.
1. As a young child at school I was introduced to the art of embroidery. I remember my teacher drawing a set of traffic lights and showing me how to do stem stitches, which I did in the shape of a circle to represent each traffic light, in shades of red, amber and green. It was to adorn a cover for my reading book. The edges were sewn together using blanket stitch. I loved that cover and used it for years.

2. Also, at school, we were taught how to knit a little scarf which had a loop where one end slipped through the other. It sat neatly around the neck, rather like a cravat. I remember choosing Angora wool as I loved the feel of it. Besides, the lady in the shop had intrigued me when she said it came from Angora rabbits, and, as I loved my pet rabbit, that was more than enough reason to have it.

3. For Christmas, when I was five years old, I received a little blackboard and easel and a packet of coloured chalks. My brother drew me little bunches of green holly with red berries around the edges. Then he drew a huge Santa on his sleigh in the middle. We spent countless happy hours taking turns to draw pictures on that blackboard. By watching my brother I learned how to sketch.
4. As well cooking scrumptious meals for her family every day, my mother also enjoyed baking several times a week. These skills were more like hobbies rather than duties, as she perfected them to an art form. When I left home to begin my first teaching post in London, my flatmate and I were at that stage in our lives - late teens - where we always felt hungry enough after work to eat a horse. That’s when my interest in baking and cooking really took off, and the rest, as they say, is history.
5. A few years ago, when I retired, I decided to learn how to do watercolour painting. I began by painting flowers growing in our garden at Barleycorn. That way I felt I was completing the circle, from the planting of the seed which germinated and grew into beautiful flowers, to their final representation in my painting.

6. When I began courses on portraiture, it was only a matter of time before I fancied trying my skills at sculpture. I went to a seminar where I was shown how to make a clay head which I later sprayed with bronze paint and placed in the garden. He was meant to represent the Eastern Sun God, as he faced east and took on a golden appearance as the sun glistened on him early in the morning. But, during one very cold spell in Winter, parts of his face fell off, which means I will need to make another one sometime.
7. Two years ago I was delighted to learn that I would be able to participate in a silk painting class. Many of the skills I learned in my watercolour classes are transferrable to silk painting, though the latter is an art form in its own right. After dabbling for a little while, I painted a design with two Chinese dragons on a square of silk, which became a pretty little scarf.
8. Though as a child I never enjoyed posing in front of the camera, as an adult I became very interested in photography. When our boys were small I used to have the camera ‘at the ready’ to capture those ‘first moments’ in their lives. This September, when we were in China to celebrate the Tea Ceremony and Banquet of our elder son and his wife, I took a video using a camcorder, bought especially for their Oriental wedding. It was the first time I had ever used one. Though there was very little skill attached, basically a question of pointing it in the right direction, it is still a record of the happy occasion.
The beauty of learning these skills over a lifetime is passing them on to others, whether they be adults or children. The old adage rings true every time. If we don’t use our skills, we lose our skills, so we are duty-bound to share them.
The beauty of all things lives in the soul of the person who observes them.

Since everyone is so busy with preparations for the Christmas Season, I will refrain from naming eight people to be tagged, and open it up to anyone who would like to participate.
For the latest Barleycorn photos click here