The Owl and The Pussy Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful 'red and white'(!) boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, 'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are!What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Edward Lear

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Creative future

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post, I'm sorry I'm so rubbish at replying but I do love it when people make the effort to comment.
I'm no good at those "whatever every day" things …and my retreat was disappointing,
so …… moving on!
I started this post back before Christmas, here's the updated version ..

I ran some informal 'workshops' at home for friends in the autumn. I started with little books and paste papers. I have taught both of these before and chose them because I wanted to break myself in gently.  I had two main aims when I organised these, one was to try out a space to meet up regularly with others who want to dabble in creative things, the other is a place for me to try out new workshop ideas. I love teaching the bookbinding, and I'd like to expand the range of workshops I provide and try to reach a wider audience. I thought they went well, and I then did a few more before Christmas and invited a few more people. This year I have launched a whole load more, doing two hour workshops on the first, second and third Mondays in January, February and March. I'm stretching myself by teaching stuff I haven't taught before, which is scary but really wonderful when it works well and people enjoy themselves. So far I've had between 2 and 5 people turn up each time and it's been so satisfying. I am now charging £5 for the sessions, which means I'm not making a huge profit what with all the preparation, but as I said, I'm hoping this will be a good investment for future workshops. I haven't been blogging or even taking photos, I've just been enjoying life each day as it comes.

I cut down on gardening work so much in the autumn that I pretty well run out of money. It's a bit of a shock as I've been so busy busy for the last few years that money has just flowed in and out and I haven't really thought about it. I am making a big effort to put energy into my creative stuff and I'm very passionate about developing my teaching because I enjoy it, I believe I'm good at it, and I have a desire to help others to bring creativity into their lives.

But, it's not easy. I regularly lose my confidence about whether I can actually earn enough money to survive. I think I have inherited from my family a common belief in our culture that art is something that one does as a hobby, and isn't a proper job. So my inner critic regularly rises to the surface. There is also a rational side to this, because if everyone wanted to be able to swan about being creative there wouldn't be food to eat, houses to live in or fuel to keep us warm (etc) However, although I feel I've 'worked hard' all my life, all I've done is weed peoples flower gardens so I suppose I have, effectively, earned my money doing something creative and enriching peoples lives!

I would also like to acknowledge that one of the reasons I can afford the luxury of spending time playing with creative things right now and trying to develop workshops is that I have a wonderful husband who works jolly hard and pays all the household bills. This is a bit of a novelty for me because from leaving school to the age of 45 I always supported myself or paid half the bills, and sometimes more than half the bills. Much as I appreciate this current luxury I also feel guilty because it is important to me that Vince is also able to enjoy being creative. When he does have time to relax he enjoys playing the guitar, played lots of cricket last summer and has even written some lovely poetry. I also make sure that he comes home every day to a meal, a warm (if untidy!) home and, most importantly he comes home to a happy wife. Ok, so I don't always manage the happy bit, sometimes I'm a bit grumpy or sad, but I always make a point of telling him how much I love him, even if I am feeling grumpy! And I am also very grateful for the fact that he is incredibly supportive of all my creative adventures.

I haven't given up the gardening, it is still my bread and butter money. I went out today weeding, pruning and clearing some brambles, loved it.

Gosh, that was a rambly post, and no photos at all, I think that's a first!

Feels good to be back, now where is that camera?….


  1. Nina - I wish I lived near you so that I could come to your Monday sessions. I DO think you have so much to pass on through your teaching and one has to move on - you won't be wanting to garden exclusively for the rest of your life. Maybe the time will come when you support Vince in doing something else. (However, I'm a fine one to talk as I share all your misgivings about giving up my paid editing and concentrating on airy-fairy writing while Frog works!)

  2. I just hope that you have not been too badly affected by the rain and wind. Hopefully we will get to see you in the March/April timeframe.
    Barry and Julia