A Pillow Book

I wanted a blog to reflect my life and, as with most people, I do and am many things, decided to create a Pillow Book. It will have thoughts, ideas, observations and little snippets of my day to day life. So, thank you Empress Consort Teishi....... I bow to you and your great work and hope, in some small way, mine might be great too.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Keeping your cup/bucket full...maybe even let it runneth over.....

Many years ago when my children were all very small and there were still sleep interrupted nights and days full of play dates, school runs, laundry, cooking, baths, and bedtime stories I went on a  workshop entitled, 'How to be a good enough mother'.

A flier was sent out from school the title, as you might imagine, intrigued me so I signed up, along with a group of  friends. The morning came and we deposited various children in various places and arrived at the school hall. There was a lady, sitting by a metal bucket surrounded by chairs... she was, about my age, smiley faced, very short hair, swinging necklace, woolly jumper, a psychologist, her name was Jayne Mansfield... she made the joke about not being THE Jayne Mansfield...somewhat lost on most in the room, but I liked her.. I can't say that I remember a great deal of what she said that day, but the bucket stayed with me.  

                                                                               She described how, as mothers, wives, lovers,

daughters, sisters and friends we start our adult life with a bucket that is full to the brim and each time we help, or give advice, comfort, talk to the small hours, or listen, that bucket is dipped into, sometimes a small sip is needed, sometimes great gulps, but gradually, over time, the bucket is emptied and unless we replenish it then we will no longer have the means to quench ourselves or those we love.  Her method for refilling the bucket was, in theory, quite simple 'time for ourselves' we all laughed and shook our heads....impossible we said, but Janyne with her smiley earnest face looked us straight in the eye and said to be a even a 'good enough' mother this part of her advice was non negotiable or our buckets would be dry and we could help no one.  We all came away and said 'well what does she know? What does she understand?'   But what she said stayed with me, a niggle in the back of my mind, because I knew she was right.  Now 'me time' sounds dreadfully self indulgent and we all fight against it but it is lifeblood.  

I started by organising a Book Club for my friends (before they were fashionable in England) we met monthly, talked, laughed, cried and often got drunk but always refilled our buckets.  Firm friendships made, a network formed.  I also started to rekindle my artistic side, at first as a co-student for learning disabled adults, pottery and art therapy courses, (all free) then jewellery making and various other crafts. Each hour spent, each moment of concentration, of creativity, has kept my bucket replenished.  Most recently I have tried my hand at collagraphy.  A local artist, Sarah Ross-Thompson, runs small classes.  It is thoroughly absorbing, totally different to anything I have ever done before.  Pictured here are my efforts from last Saturday, I had not been for a year and I must say by lunchtime I was convinced I had lost my mojo. But Sarah is a master and gently guides you, so you think it is all your own doing, but she sees 
what you are wanting to achieve and by the end of the day have a print to be proud of.  
Here you can see my efforts, proof prints of my mornings block and coloured prints that really didn't work, then my afternoons work, first print (not shown) with ink squelching out, second too lilac, but finally beautiful Prussian blue, and me happily sloshing home with a bucket brimming, even running over slightly.....
Check out Sarah's website, for a look at her beautiful work and an explanation of collagraphy.

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