Sometimes I forget why I started my blog way way back in London.
I took a trip down memory lane and it was good to feel that I still had my love of all things natural and wild flowers and more than that, the tentative start with a camera, as before 2012, I didn’t own one, to now working on fabric designs that draw directly from my rural French life, makes me very happy.
I lived on the centre of London, first Lambeth near Westminster, then Peckham, of Only Fools and Horses fame, and daily would head off to explored and photograph any flowers I could find, those in parks, formal beds, and even the tiny wild ones surviving in paving slabs or under park benches. I had a small Panasonic then and began learning about composition and light but mostly that plants, battered by the wind were hard to capture and needed some sort of wind break, or shelter from a spare jacket I carried for that task. The slightest breeze caused blurs and I realized I needed a faster sensor and better image quality if I was ever going to turn this hobby into anything more. But money was tight. I researched and continued to practise regardless.
When life changed and we arrived in France, the scope of photographing wild weeds expanded to Woodlands, hedgerows and farm crop field margins. I invested in a Cannon Mark III and once again a huge learning curve set me back a little with so many permutations this DSLR gives you. I realized my glasses were terrible and causing my photos to still be blurry and I was a tad impatient as a photographer…not a good trait. I was also trying to find my place. My career was effectively coming to an end. I had had enough of tax and spreadsheets and yet I couldnt fix on anything specific I wanted to do long term, excepting something in craft, sewing and photography.
So I bounced ideas around for two years whilst we resolved our residency issues in France and pulled out of UK as UK pulled out if EU in Brexit. Our timing was good. In 2019 before Brexit completed after stalling so often, we were in rural, sleepy Creuse for good.
I had somehow ended up with four properties via inheritance, and a field full of poultry and arrogant Toulouse geese. Our renovation schedules were mad and business and any plans re sewing and crafting got swiftly parked for a future resurrection. But then as creatives do, the pen and notebook kept appearing, the camera, the sketches on backs of card, envelopes, and in mo time my little wooden filing tray was full. I then commissioned a local artist to do a large scale portrait of my poultry, in fact two, to sit side by side. I started to follow her progress and acquired a few fine art books myself and my first ever set of coloured pencils. I wrote in another post that a lightbulb went off. I could still illustrate.
I drew daily, I wrote too, my tales of the local area and the wildlife and my poultry too, childrens stories and sketches for the books I would self publish. Traditional publishing is over. No longer do you need permission to create. The public will decide, not a frustrated and time pressured editor or agent.
But the camera remained in its drawer. Yes I used my phone as its instant and flexible and social media savvy but the quality isn’t as good. It’s ok for social but not for fine art photography and I had ideas brewing. I finally drew up a plan of what I loved on a daily basis re sewing, craft, printing, art and photography. It all had to combine somehow and knocking onto my mid fifties, time wasnt on my side to either too much. A few years had past since leaving London and we were busy enough with the renovations.
So that’s where I am. My plans are made and over this year they will come alive. I am designing fabrics at the moment as this fulfills my love of textiles and sewing. I photograph and illustrate for these fabrics as the local countryside provides endless possibilities for textures, patterns and colour palettes and removes the need to be sitting at a computer all day. I pull it al into Photoshop, which I am finding very easy to use, and from there work the ideas into fabrics and products. Mostly I am enjoying the journey from an inspirational moment out walking to finally holding the printed fabric in my hand. Its satisfying and yet scalable too. I can work on as many ideas as I want or limit my design time as other projects demand…a note pad and pen are sometimes all I need and a few hours can be as productive as a few days when you have to take time out. For once I feel in control and no longer hoping to find my vocation. And for me that’s my life. I have to work, have dreams and create. It keeps me sane.
My floral photos sometimes get forgotten on my blog and I need to revisit and add to them. Once my van has transformed itself into my tea making, snoozing and out and about studio, I will add more plant portraits. So for now, please enjoy.
Have you found your vocation or are you unsure to make the leap into new projects? It would be lovely to hear from you.