Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A light touch

During the winter I scurry out to my studio first thing in the morning to turn my heater on. There is very little 'limbering up' associated with my exacting working methodology. Necessarily, I sit for hours employing just small muscle groups; painting with miniature brushes, modelling with pins, stitching with tiny needles...nothing brisk to stave off the cold. I categorically cannot work if chills are pinching at my fingers and toes or I can't feel my nose! Occasionally I'll brave the distance in my fluffy dressing gown, pyjama legs tucked into my wellie boots in order to steal a march on the day. In the time it takes me to polish off my porridge and brew some coffee, it's generally quite cosy out there.

This morning I made the dressing gown dash, scampering about as the day dawned not unlike any other creature we spy crossing our field... I even have an authentic furry coat!  I do however lack the tenacity of our furry friends living full time in the open air. Beatrix Potter should have been given a medal for compassion for fashioning them little coats and booties to see them safely through the winter!  Of course I have grown to understand that we cannot cosset or clothe the creatures with which we share our land, there's not a badger out there that would thank you for a velvet coat and breeches, but their struggle to survive does distress me. A struggle not only presented by harsh winter weather, against which one may argue they are more or less fairly matched having adapted and evolved defences against the elements. It is moreover the man made adaptations of our land that nature cannot survive. Our demand for housing, crops, road networks, shopping centres and car parks ..tennis courts, swimming pools, sports arenas. It is pointless continuing to list. I do not have the 'weight to debate'.  There are much stronger environmentalists, academics, and people politic out there than me. But what I do have is my miniature paintbrush, fine filament threads and the sensibility to share how much I care through the art work that I evolve. Mine is a light touch. My 'muscle' exercised in delicately pinching hold of embroidery needles and fine sable brushes. In triggering the small motor neurones of hand to eye coordination, and the gentle perception of what is beautiful in nature and in need of preserving.

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