The gentle pull of Wabi-Sabi

An artist’s work is not a flat line, one style equation. We get inspired, emotional and question things. We learn skills and combine elements and slowly our work changes.

Mine has taken many directions with some constants in terms of style, ethics and how it serves a purpose within a space or for a person. For the last couple of years, I was lucky to discover new techniques and skills that I had, dormant within me. All that being said, new skills can be both distracting and unsettling because the direction that seemed so clear on minute looks unclear.

But there is a reason why we change. We learn to absorb elements we believe in and that we feel are helpful to ourselves and to others. Last week, the teacher of my Mindful Art course lent me a book on Wabi-Sabi. [Wabi-Sabi is a philosophy embracing the cycle of life through natural materials and embracing imperfections]. I had for the last year or so collected images and elements linking to this Japanese philosophy but reading in depth about it shone a light on how much deeper some of my work wanted to go. Colours, textures, environment… all contribute to the direction of bringing mindfulness in how I work and soon on my teaching. Now the fact I tend to avoid bold colours makes complete sense. Or the need to improve environments to impact how people feel within them which has been with me for as long as I can remember. Funny how sometimes we know a feeling, emotion or impression but we have no words for it.

Wabi Sabi the Japanese art of impermanence

Wabi Sabi the Japanese art of impermanence

It is always worth to explore our hidden depths and feelings because they inform so much of what we do. We create from emotions which are sometimes bigger than us and it is good to know more where they come from. This book is not for everyone but if some of the peace explained within its page can shine through my work, I am happy.

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Wabi-sabi a tranquil alternative

This morning I ran a Sketch group session (thanks to Eve the wonderful organizer of this drawing group in Falmouth) and I mixed wabi-sabi and one line drawing together.

First let me set the scene by explaining that this strange word means. Wabi-sabi is a Japanese philosophy a few centuries old that embraces natural materials, the cycle of life and imperfections. Do not confuse this with wasabi which is the spicy green stuff you add to your sushi. This could not be different. It is calm and beautiful in  an understated way.

wabi sabi 1

The group of about 28 people (not exactly sure but this was the largest workshop I have delivered so far).Now I find sharing skills and knowledge gives me a real buzz. When I came across it a about a years ago, I did not realized how well it fitted with my work but reading a book about this week has given me in depth knowledge  that goes a log way to explain why I strive for unique works, muted colours and a gentle and calm approach. In a world of bold designs, I am clearly standing on the edge. But the magic is when it gets combined with other things like one line drawing that led me to embrace whatever happens. It is a wonderful tool  that I would almost qualify as a life skill in a fast moving world.

Ribbet collage

Wabi sabi is about taking a pause, not rushing and looking. Taking in the essence of what is there and honoring natural materials.

Finding out more about who we are through meeting people, learning about other cultures and taking in new information forms who we are and become. I am now a very different person to when I dew as a teenager and I had hardly any techniques in my tool box. This has changed and the last 2 years have been especially great in teaching me new perspectives. So much that I can wait for the next discovery…

It’s been a long time

I cannot believe it has been so long since my last post. Well actually I can. It has been a whirl of activities with lots of craft fairs (lots of making) and running workshops so I found it hard writing as well as doing everything else.

My little one now 5 has started big school. This was a bigger shift than I thought possible. She is growing up. She is also spending more time away during the day so naturally, I started filling time with more crafting, sewing and anything necessary to prepare stock. It is amazing how much needs to be done just to participate to an event. Endless! Lots of fun but… you can end up with an empty tank. That was me in December. The last few shows gone, I finally settled to celebrated Xmas. My husband changed jobs after a period of uncertainty and associate stress but now he is a 10 minutes walk from work instead of a two hours commuting by train(that is when they are running on time or not breaking down altogether). I am now sharing my art room as my desk has been hijacked! OK I have free run of the rest of the house. Still….

So after a longer break than planned, I stared resting after feeling burned out. Now If you knew me, you would know that I don’t do rest. I don’t do “doing nothing”!  My diary used to be filled through and cracks and gaps that would dare to show a free space.

One thing changed though. I changed. Mindfully.Photo-2016-01-11-09-29-01

First I read a book called “Calm”. Beautifully tactile, it was a gem filled with the kind of pictures you see on Pinterest a lot. I started meditation and learnt that it is not what I thought it was. Just breathing, nice long  deep breaths. Then taking the time to notice thoughts, single ones, patterns, habits… I felt refreshed but still low in being able to define “what next?”. This had nothing to do with a new year resolution but rather something within that said I was not happy.

Bullet journaling diary, the end of classic diaries

Bullet journaling diary, the end of classic diaries

I am just coming out of hibernation after a lot of reading, drawing (having re-started drawing after 25 years interruption), and maybe the key feeling happier than I have ever been.

Now this is something coming from within, not looking for acceptance from others by from myself. Creative people can be so harsh with themselves. Trust me, I am one of them and it started when I was a child, when my mind started being non-stop.

It feels quite strange to write again. I know it will become more natural as I write some more but this is a reflection on the journey I have taken as a creative mum.

Someone I know said the media around us feed us a lot of short stories of success. Social media does the same when we get highlights of our friends life. Matching any of that, getting success takes time, work, good days and bad days but sometimes we need to know what is really going on, because we can relate to that and find strength in it.

I am now part of a community on an app called YOU. Beautifully made, it is full of people that set micro-actions to change their life. Don’t know what a micro-action is? Well imagine you want to change something big. Ok break it down in tiny pieces, this is where you will find micro-actions. Change happens beautifully in tiny actions that you make every day. And it is free…

the YOU app

the YOU app

This is one of the many things I have changed since I have started adding mindfulness in my life. But this is the start of another post so keep tuned until I write the next instalment.

Be happy, be safe, be well.

 

With smiles as always

Gaelle by the sea

http://www.gaellebythesea.wordpress.com

I am now the proud owner…

… of a shiny new website! I resisted for a long time whilst I was happy to develop my latest artwork. There is no such thing as waiting for a time that feels right. It needs tweaking, it needs more information and interior design blog tips but that will come soon. For now, it has information about the bespoke lampshades, more about me and 3 exhibitions I am taking part in from the 25th of April so if you have the time visit www.gaellebythesea.com (yes same address as this blog but without WordPress to keep it simple) and drop me a line to let me know what you think.

This is so exciting! New pictures, contents, events… and as if that was not enough my wedding in 6 weeks. Yep, life is busy but creative at every turn! Enjoy. xBlooms detail

Getting out there

Getting our work out there takes time. A lot of planning, dithering, tweaking, pricing… You name it, it is part of the process. Sometimes it takes quite a few conversations with a retailer and then… nothing. Yep, big silence and the opportunity is good. Actually, maybe it is natural selection and it is best to know early. But when it does take off, it is exciting.

Earlier this month, some of my work started to be featured on the Cornish High Street online shop. Finally an address to source beautiful and Cornish inspired products. From artwork to jewellery, food and home accessories are now available even if you are not local to us or miss our region. My page http://thecornishhighstreet.com/search.asp?types=The+Gallery+%3E+Gaelle+by+the+Sea looks stunning. See, for me, having my work out there is one thing. Having it on a website that looks so good is a moving and exciting time.

Then, this week a video was produced to celebrate products for Valentine. My work was in there too so here’s for a bit of sharing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_G_uI11cXmo&feature=youtu.be

So now I am planning a bit reveal of some lampshades soon and more frames. Life is good!

Black tie and evening dress

For the second time in less than 4 weeks I am going to wear an evening dress! I like the sound of that. There used to me more occasions to dress up but now there are quite rare.

Why? Well that’s kind of what you do when you get nominated then shortlisted for an award (mine is a joint award with Abbi for the collaborators award). In fact, there are many nominations within the Launch and too many to list here. Following The Launch 2014 which we hosted in October, our event has been in the news, online and in print, on radio and the word keeps going. A new venue offered to host the next one because we have now started an event that will repeat itself. Some people are even trying to copy us because no one has done this before in this neck of the woods.

Abbi and I

Abbi and I

So how did the event go? Over 200 people came. Actually more than that but cars filled the car parks, lined the drive and the street up to it and there were the unlucky one that could not park. The buzz was lovely, wine was flowing and conversations were easy. We did not even get the chance to meet the guests we had invited. Each company (21 in total had a personal list) and there was a right mix of guests from political, including the local Maire, to businesses and supporters that have helped us along the way.

Only half of my display was shown on the night, simply because of my dad passing away, I did not get everything ready on time and I preferred to only show what I was completely happy with. There will be other occasions when the rest makes an appearance. Having said that, I created a butterfly frame with multi layers of recycled paper back lit that came down a storm. I chose a very neutral set of colours and again sometimes it is all you need.

In a way this event is still in each of us. we are having a de-brief next week and some of us will continue to collaborate. But collaboration can be in the details, the transport of the display screens by Tim, the profile pictures on the beach by Simone, the updating of the guest list from Porto Rico by Cecily… My confidence has grown and being shortlisted for an award is nice. A few years back I won 3 awards in one night including the most inspiration business person. I guess the first award stay in your heart forever but seeing the acknowledgment of the industry about getting 21 businesses together and promoting business in Cornwall is already an achievement. We did it and will do it again. We may not be on centre stage next time but may involved. But in the meantime we will all do what we do best , with passion.

PS: Results of the awards dinner on the 19th of November!

Diary of a photo shoot

Wednesday 20th of August

So after what seem along time, I agreed a time with Simone of Unleashed Photography and today is the day.

I slept badly last time, it was a little bit like Christmas day and waiting to open the presents!

7 am.  Getting up. This is a beautiful day, blue sky and tiny cloud.  All good. Time for breakfast  and getting little Please ready for summer school.

7.29am. Text from Simon.  Forecast says rain for this morning. Frantic search of online forecasts and most say it is ok.

8.31am. Texting Simone back. Going anyway. Will do work at the Blue Cafe and worse case scenario, I can do some work with a sea view.

9.00am. School drop off. Bags in the car. I’m off. It is getting very cloudy. Rain has started in Newquay where Simone is. Damn!

9.39am. Driving along. 10 minutes in. Phone rings.  Can’t pick up. I park safely as soon as I can and I call back Simone.  Agree to move photo shoot to this afternoon.  Call to my friend Sara who steps in and will look after my little one. Driving back home!

Planning a photo shoot on the beach is very weather dependent.  I know that after all, I live in Cornwall. So in a few hours, we will attempt the session again. Where would we go without mobiles and texts?

1.34pm. The weather has been terrible this morning but by lunchtime, it is brightening up and everything is going ahead. Finalising the time and setting off. I am now getting excited. My outfits are in the car and basic things I think I will need like make-up bag, money for the car park and drink.

2.25pm. This is it. We head toward the rocks on Porthtowan beach and drop bags, only taking the camera with us. The sun is blinding and Simone has to check angles so that I don’t squint too much. I take different poses. We talk about what I want the pictures to project and how I will use them. Before the shoot, I made a board on Pinterest about pictures and effects I liked so she already knows what I am hoping for.

4.30pm. It is in the box. Now I have to be patient to see the pictures. Being a photographer myself, the suspense is killing!

9.08pm. Simone has just texted me telling me there are beautiful pictures, some good enough to be on the mantelpiece.

9.13pm. One picture has come through. I like it but I’m not sure what to think of it. Gosh we can be so critical when we see pictures about ourselves (you won’t get a “selfie” from me!)

darkrock2

but this shoot is important for me. Not only I am planning to use it on my blog, my whole marketing documents and also for The Launch 2014, a black tie event happening on the 23rd of October (more on that later).

 

Thursday 21st of August

7.30pm. Another photo comes through. The excitement is increasing, This picture is even better than the one I got yesterday. I can’t wait to see the rest!

bigsmile

 

 

Sunday 24th of August

3.12pm. All pictures are available through Simone’s website. She gives me all the indications to download them via a secure access. I can see the whole selection of pictures she has chosen and edited. I breathe… happy! This is what I was looking for. She got it, she got me and it shows. I can now start “playing with” the images in postcards and see how I can use them.

Tips for people having a photo shoot

1. Think about what you stand for and what your brand represents. Collect some images and show them to your photographer. It will help him or her to take shots that you will be happy with.

2. If you are doing the shoot outdoors, be ready, like me in this blog, to clear another slot in your diary with no guarantees. Take your laptop to a nearby cafe if you have to wait for the weather to clear. At least you won’t feel you are wasting your time. Agree the meeting place beforehand so that you know what to do if the location has no phone signal.

3. Take the time to choose your outfit or selection of outfits. There is only one first impression and your choice will impact how you project.. Pack a change, you never know. Take what you need for hair and make up touch-ups.

4. Relax. Easy to say but be yourself. If you are struggling, tell your photographer and she/he can tell you one or two funny stories to make you smile. I did that and we both ended up smiling.

5. Clear beforehand how much is included and whether another session is included if you are unhappy with the results the first time.

6. Mention the photographer anywhere you can. All pictures are protected by copyright but it is nice to mention who took them and other people might want to use this photographer for a future photo shoot.

7. Last but not least, enjoy!

8. The details of Simone are available on www.unleashedphotography.co.uk