That wonderful serendipitous moment that you are out strolling, not entirely knowing where you are going, when you stumble across a beautiful little shop. Magical. I had just been out to get my hair cut and fancied a little exploration. I always find the best places when I unintentionally go out and look for them. And that’s exactly how I found this place.
I took these photos because I wanted to remember this little gem that you can find in Gracia. Aixo is a beautifully created little shop on Carrer de la Virtut, 14. It houses vintage furniture, an amazing photo exhibition and hand crafted gems. It also sells lovely objects from Hay. Which is fairly hard to find. I purchased my much longed for golden scissors and I love them very much thank you.
I love that the shop is small and quite typical of Gracia. It has little corners with beautiful pieces inside, I feel like every time you step in this shop you are likely to discover a new favourite. Belen, the owner, was super lovely and it was so nice chatting with her about photography and her furniture and shop.
I love the mix of old and new. Vintage against Scandinavian cleanliness. Those wooden handled ceramic mugs (heart eye emoji).
I would highly recommend a visit to this lovely little shop. Oh Gracia you have once again made me love you and have once again come up trumps with a little beaut of a place.
On a cold blustery day in the Welsh/English countryside we found ourselves in this wonderful, worn little workshop. Tucked away at the bottom of a garden. Where a ginger cat ruled the roost and roamed in an out. A large old range stove constantly fired up and ready to go. Everything coated in a fine orange dust. Piles and piles of clay. Tools scattered. Projects ready to be created.
There is something about manual arts and crafts which always makes me feel better and more real. Making something beautiful out of quite literally nothing makes me feel myself and takes me back to the reason of being really. As cass as that sounds. I love from a lump of almost earth you can create beautiful objects that have use. I love that out of a sheep’s’ wooly jacket you can create clothes, out of a simple piece of cloth you can create a beautiful garment and out of a piece of led or ink on paper you can create a master piece. When nothing becomes something is quite magical. Thats the reason I make to create something out of nothing, to remind my self that thoughts become things.
Learning how to throw pottery is quite a task, it looks so much easier than it actually is. Its something I really loved doing, so much technique to learn. Its a craft I want to explore more and I am itching to find some studios here in Barcelona. I loved using my hands and getting stuck in, quite literally, I loved the feeling of making something useful and functional but beautiful at the same time.
In this studio, on a cold winters day, we learnt how to make little bowls with the help and guidance (and a hell of a lot of patience) of a skilled craftsman. Just being in this scene, in this studio, made me feel alive again. For its places like these that I do love the very most!
Dearest little white box, blank space, negative space, my journal, diary and confident. I seem to use this little white box as a place to process or record thoughts and feelings at the moment and thats good, thats a blog isn’t it? Is that my “brand”?.
Anyway I was so overwhelmed by the comments and feedback from my last post. I am still processing and trying to understand those feelings, so bare with me. But all the advice and kind, wise words <3
So this blog post, the title, the reason why I need to pour my heart out into this little white box.
The pressure to be a success, the pressure I am feeling and putting on myself at the moment to push myself and get recognised.
I was listening to the most amazing podcast the other day whilst making soup and washing the dishes. It was brilliant. I think I found my kindred spirit in the guest speaker and oh she perfectly described my life for the past 6 + years. I was in a small art school and constantly propped up and was made to feel *special* and like I was talented. You get cocky and almost spoilt with this. It is your identity, the artist/the one who draws/ the one who is good. And then you get thrusted (eep) into the big wild world where you are just one more little illustrator/artist/creator seller amongst many more like you, that have been made to feel somewhat special. Put yourself in a bland, office type environment and see yourself struggle. For you think if you are not good enough for this environment how could you possibly be any good at all (failing to see that its a square peg trying to be smashed and hammered into a round hole- ouch painful!).
And then there is instagram, branding, social media and putting on ones best dress and (war, bitch, fight?! what is the word) GAME face. Clambering to be seen and trying to get somewhere and be something that the very task you are doing makes you feel like you have literally just sucked the life out the only thing you still loved and enjoyed. You have literally killed your identity (for identity and branding are two different things). SO who are you when you strip all that away? When you are just trying to survive?
I have recently gone through a tribunal after not physically and mentally (as both are so so entwined) been able to work and they ruled that I am indeed not fit for the working word. So what do I do when my work and what I do IS ME? I feel guilty and like I have failed because the tribunal (a whole host of doctors and specialist health care workers and not to mention the tight spanish (but lovely and ever so grateful for) social security system deemed me not able to work. Not to mention the 11 dr’s that look after me and are on my health team deeming me not well enough to either. But my brain, it plays dark tricks on me and makes me believe that I am a failure and not good enough / deserving enough. (That I am a lazy layabout).
It got to a point where every drawing and piece of art was created to fit into a certain image, where with most people a successful brand is them and themselves being them and others being attracted to the things they like/dress/wear/eat etc. Brand image isn’t something that is created it already should exist… Anyway going back to my main point. It got to the stage where I was just churning stuff out for the likes, the numbers, to feel that self gratification and also the reassurance that I am actually good, every like acting as acting as a sort of affirmation of the fact that I am ok and doing a good job.
It got to a point where everyday it was a chore and a panic. I enjoyed doing the actual drawing and task but it all felt joyless. And to prove a point to my weirdo brain that I CAN DO IT.
Oh and the comparison.
Don’t get me bloody started. Unhealthy comparison and trying to rack up points against successful colleagues and friends. Why are they doing so well? What can I do? Poor little victim me, spying and counting and not actually being proactive. Gah, this fight is a hard one.
So I should listen to my body and my mind and just rest and chill the f out and do things because I LOVE doing them and ask myself why I am creating something, is it worth while or just adding more noise to a very very loud room? hmm. Still processing. These are just thoughts and feelings whirring around and needing a place to call home. For example this here blog. The moment I try and force myself into a bi weekly schedule is the moment I totally lose interest in it. I resent it and feel so blocked and angry. I then feel like I have failed because I’ve not kept to this crazy scheduling regime, because that is what I SHOULD do to become successful. There are so many rules that I enforce on myself. Why not just post when the bloody hell it takes me fancy because I am happy/sad/creative or inspired to do so? I am slowly letting my self to rest (and not quit) but to let it all go a bit and let it be and not to try and control and make these crazy schedules of things I know deep down I will never get round to doing because my body and my mind decided to be too busy trying to bloody wage war on itself. (hello multiple autoimmune / anxiety and depression).
So my point? We are all just bloody winging it innit? Even if it looks otherwise.
From the trying to make it-but not quite there yet- try hard- super creative- draws ok- blogger- vlogger- chronic disease fighter- sister- daughter- partner- dog mummy- sad lonely bitter- 30 something has been-………………..
So here I am. In bed with a cup of hot chocolate and reeling from the days events. I know having a good old moan on social media isn’t #inspo but I am feeling lost, stuck and rubbish.
Today I had to go under general anesthesia to do some intense procedures and tests to rule out yet more crap things that my body seems to want to throw at me. I don’t write this to be like, oh you poor thing “you ok hun”. I write this because having it all floating around my head and inside of me is quite literally eating at me.
I mainly wanted to write an update on how my work and illustration is going and I feel like not many illustrators or artists really share online when things are SHIT.
I feel like I am watching the world around me succeed and do well, and I celebrate it I REALLY DO.
But here I am left, days spent in bed, feeling awful about my abilities to create. Feeling like I am not succeeding or getting anywhere. Feeling like everything I create is pointless and just silly and amateur. I feel like a massive imposter and like my work doesn’t do or say anything and I don’t quite know how to go forward with that. I just feel like a massive failure in terms of trying this hard slog of being an illustrator. I have posted to my social media for two years everyday and feel like I am in the exact same position. It feels like no one is really willing to work with me or that I am indeed talented enough to find work. Also feeling like I have had the choice taken from me. I feel like I have been given the bad luck of the draw. I am yet to see what I am supposed to learn from this other than to give up?
I am struggling and feeling like I am fighting every day to make my mark. To be successful. To get published. To get clients. To get a little recognition for all the hard work I have been putting in. And it just seems to be going no where. I have been told that I can’t work. But this goes against what I want and who I am. I want to make something, be successful and be the best I can be. There are just so many obstacles in my way though, that it is hard to know where to start or how to begin. Even the baby steps I am making seem pointless and they are not adding up. People keep telling me it will happen and its just persistance and that pays off. But what I keep asking myself is when? When will I get lucky. I ask for little. I would just like to create everyday and work for myself in an environment that makes me happy and I get to do what I treasure and love. Why does this seem to come with such a heavy price?
I shall write a list of my worries and updates. And I would appreciate any advice there is to give with my work and what steps o can take. Because at the moment I feel shit, like a talentless joke. Like a comedy contestant on xfactor whose friends and family are too polite to say other wise.
I feel stuck in which direction to take things in. I feel like it is such a over saturated market to get into. How do I get my stuff out there? I constantly feel like there is some secret I am not privy to and also feel like a lot of creatives like to keep their tricks hidden as so not to get competition.
Over all I am tired of my health situation and all the unfair hold ups and being held up. I just am at the point of giving up really as it’s not bringing me joy and I feel blocked, stuck and in a loop of throwing all my limited energy at something I dear;y love only for it to fall on deaf ears.
How can I get better and how can I forfill my dream/goals?
Not to be overly dramatic but writing this has made me have a HUGE CRY.
Here are some things I feel:
-Everyone else is taking over the world and getting all these amazing chances. How? What’s the secret?
-What am I doing wrong?
-What if I am just another creator trying to make it in the big pond
-What if its true that I am actually no good
-Why is everyone else super productive and confident an getting chances
-Is it all just smoke and mirrors, are platforms such as instagram and youtube just showing the best bits. Not these gritty behind the scenes sadness and panic sessions?
I would really love some feedback, even if it’s anonymous and even if it’s not kind. I would just love to get out of this horrible cycle I have found myself in.
I don’t have much energy left to fight anymore and after an awful experience working in a company where you were constantly made to feel like you were at the bottom of the ladder and there was no way of climbing up it and that you were/are a terrible designer and creator and are worthless. Well I am feeling that. I am feeling my body giving up on me. And I am just tired. I don’t want to take a break, I do want to push through. But what direction do I take? How do I get over this feeling that everyone else is doing it and I am still making baby steps. I still feel like I am at the bottom of the ladder and not good enough to “make it”.
It’s so hard when you are doing it alone and for yourself. I feel lonely here without any type of peers to cheer me on or give me feedback. I long to have a community round me where I can feel my best and work and get inspired and be able to create and get feedback.
SO I always feel like there is a massive pressure to do something. To be someone and to be succesful. I have a HUGE fear of not doing what i always imagined, not being able to do what I always wanted.
So that’s my update, life you are a shitter sometimes.
What a week. It has been filled with highs and lows. The low’s been very very low indeed. I have had many a hospital visit (infiltrations, new medicine etc). ATM it seems like the second round of Rituximab has worked and I can finally (for the first time in over a year) reduce my cortisone dosage. Which is a small, good new step (YAY!).
This week has been the hottest so far and I can say that summer has officially started. Sleeping and feeling sluggish and heat and the sun for me in general are terrible. I try to hermit away in the day as much as possible because I just CAN’T. But it is nice to get outside and go on little strolls either to the beach or the park. Getting my legs out and freckles on my arms.
Thursday night was so nice, getting out for San Joan. San Joan is crazy, fireworks and fire and noise everywhere. We went down to our beloved Poblenou (our barrio) and watched the parade of the Corre Foc, with its amazing percussion band, go and ignite the bonfire. We then walked along the beach and watch the fireworks and chinese laterns before sitting in a park talking about our future and drinking a clara. Perfect.
Waking up in tears to the news on friday, manic family chats and feeling genuinely shocked and scared at the state of things here, there and everywhere. I feel sad and scared for my future as an EU Migrant/citizen. Now more than ever borders need to be opened. I can’t stand this “Great” Britain rule Britannia island mentality. Which to be honest I find embarrassing- its actually something I have noticed more and more when going back. I am also VERY angry that my postal vote did not arrive on time and my proxy vote was unable to vote for me. DESPITE sending everything well in time. I am shocked to the core at some of the things I have seen people I know think and believe (everyone has a right to their opinions and beliefs BUT when they are just down right offensive and racist etc it hurts my heart). I will write something more on this in the future as my head is fuzzy and still reeling from it all. Tuesday marks my 10 year anniversary so expect a post then.
Friday I escaped to my favourite place, sat on a rock and watched my busy, hot chaotic home from above and felt a sense of pride and belonging for one of the first times since arriving. It felt right to be where I was and looking at it all pan out from above I felt incredibly lucky and fortunate to experience it. I took a deep breath and felt instantly better. My favourite place is magical like that. It is healing and where I shall escape to more frequently.
Lets see what next week brings!
Ama de casa. House bound and house proud, tied to her home.
la Marinera Grumpy nautical and lost at see, unable to see the horizon.
Bubble gum pink, sugar and spice and not all things nice. This lost girl is forever trapped in a little locket looking pretty (grumpy).
The redhead. Firey and prone to having a bad temper, especially when made to sit in a traditional portrait frame. She is sulky but strong.
Cheerful and sunny. She is not of the sunny disposition and quite likes her own company and staying indoors thank you very much.
Watery and light, always watching and feeling alone. Sad and lonely but always there.
This girl is happy living in the forest and being wild and free. Rosy cheeks and botanical hair. Wild and free.
Lost in the wilderness, brambles and leaves forever camouflaged, nature grows in her bones.
Golden girl. When she was good she was very very good. Lost in her own bubble of brilliance. Lethargic and bored this lost girl is captured day dreaming about adventures and better times. She is surrounded by a gold glitter glow but sometimes feels a bit dull in comparison.
This girl is under lots of mean clouds that tell her naughty things, sometimes she ignores them and then sometimes it rains (and really pours!)
Lost girls is a series I created to explore an alternative image of what it is to be a girl. A project of portraits that explore femininity in an alternative way. They also celebrate fragility, differences and a certain darkness that is not always explored in fairy tales. I wanted the illustrations to be an extension of myself and the stories I have within. I also wanted them to be quite imperfect. The series also explores the depression and anxiety that we often suffer due to not being quite perfect enough. They have been hand painted and hand cut out of thick grey card. They are “pocket” sized. A pocket sized alternative princess.
They have been painted using water colour, pencil and gouache on thick grey card and have all been hand cut.
It has been so therapeutic doing these little projects and bits of art work, as a way of reclaiming who I am a little bit. As I have been unable to work it would also be quite lovely to have a little help, both financially and for my self esteem which is why I have wanted to give a go at trying to sell my stuff.
This week started by going to “the top”, whilst Borja runs I sit and watch the view with this chap.
A few new updates to my shop, some new things added.
Daily life things like spaghetti and comfy patterns.
Sketchbooking some idea’s. More on this in another post 😉
Felt very lonely and a bit lost this week. My remedy for that is to get my self out of the flat for a walk and an adventure. I need to listen to the warning signs and listen to when things get too much and get out and distract myself.
A giant massive 8 kilo tortilla de patatas at my neighbours birthday party (convenient social events next door means I can see people and literally go straight to bed!).
This baby boys sleeping smile <3
Walking around Poblenou (love it here).
Not much to say about this week that isn’t a repeat of last week and the week before that and so on. The treatment has left me really knocked out with very swollen glands and a very swollen knee. I have barely left the house. I did venture out around my barrio of Poblenou though and snapped a few of my favourite bits.
Next week I have the second round of treatment so I am expecting much of the same then. Heres to naps, sleep, comfy beds, puppy hugs and good books.
See you next week xx
Well if this wasn’t the week that never was I don’t know what would be. That sentence made sense in my jumbled thought ridden brain.
This was the week that was AKA Treatment week Cycle 2. AKA the week that almost did me in mentally and physically. I recorded my treatment day on snapchat (hello- addicted much?) and that was basically it. I didn’t venture outside in all the week. Felt like I had literally had a tonne of bricks fall on me and was in All.The.Pain.
ALSO would a liken it to having the worse flu that ever existed. What hasn’t helped is the fact my knee has swollen up. Which it shouldn’t, thats why I had the operation. My hands also.
So this week has been a blur mainly spent sleeping (can’t literally physically lift my body up before 12). I know that sounds LAZY. I feel lazy and lethargic. I feel guilty and crap and just not good enough at LIFE. Then I remember fuck that, my body was pumped full of all sorts of drugs plus the normal daily intake and I am currently fighting this beast of a disease that despite all the doctors best efforts just won’t calm the fuck down (there really is a lack of a better phrase for it). So yes, pain and my bodies immune system being forced to be more crap (thanks chemo) makes me one tired lass. I must keep reminding myself that, might get it as a tattoo. Not to force myself. To take time, to heal, not to compare to others, to realise that I am doing the best bloody job actually. All things considered (always all things considered). I deserve a bloody medal or something with coping with shit. I deserve a medal for brushing my teeth, getting dressed, making lunch and doing all those small mundane things that you normally take for granted. Those minute things that make me feel like I am literally climbing the biggest mountain at the highest altitude and can’t breathe. Those things are too much on weeks like this week. I went to the supermarket yesterday, highlight of the week innit. It literally did me in. I then watched eurovision on my sofa like an over excited child. Has my life actually come to this? Chronic disease brings on all sorts of bad feels. Like guilt and the feeling you are never enough or can never do enough. How does one break this cycle of feeling like that?
This week saw me start a project on trying to put all of this into some sort of cathartic, tangible form. For me that is through drawing and art. I hope at the end it will be good. I need to get printing stuff. I need to release all of this. I also need to remember I am doing it for me.
So the week that never was, I survived it (just…kicking and screaming if I had the energy). Medal please!
BTW I added some originals to my shop, so if anyone fancies supporting me through this it will muchly appreciated (especially as not earning a great deal- the spanish SS is not that great yannow): SHOP SHOP SHOP.
Well this week. Not much to say apart from the fact that I have been under such a big black cloud this week battling ugly thoughts, anxiety, illness and other goings on. This has made me feel quite lonely and isolated. So there. Thats all I am going to say on here as I don’t want this blog to be a weekly moan.
There has been some shining lights through the black clouds though. Like having the time to catch up on my Lost girls series and experimenting with different materials etc. Also Saturdays quick outing, to the print studio in Gracia to see a friends work (it was great). Through all this I have realised that I am motivated and a fighter, even if I don’t feel like one. Despite everything I keep going and I am doing well. So yes.
Next week will be treatment week, so a quiet hospital recovering one. Its probably what is needed. I also need to see my family, so will have to arrange that happening.
This weeks glimpses of light (light chasing all the time atm):
1. This message from last week really rings true this week. I should get these as tattoo’s just to remind my self (a la Casey Neistat’s “DO MORE” tatt).
2. My lost girls. I love drawing them and seeing their different characters and stories come to life. I often feel like a lost girl with a lot of stories so I guess this translates into my drawings. I have really enjoyed this week, and working on the tiny postcard size drawings. They will be for sale in my shop next week and through instagram. Watch out for them.
3. Spotting the little tiny details in life.
4. Spontanious adventures and stumbling across good things like Els Gegants.
5. Gracia’s streets and getting lost in them.
6. Random nice/funny things.
7. Rainy Barcelona is the best. Its been raining ALL weekend and its been GLORIOUS!
8. Inspiring places and people (even if it was so very crowded).
9. Watching these naughty birds squawk from my balcony.
THE END, see you next week 🙂