Hello, its been a month. A month (!) since I last blogged. How is that so? Well being an ill one and not really being able to sit at a computer for longer than half an hour has meant that everything is done in small, slow chunks.
I thought I would show some of these small chunks of work and my very messy studio. Living in a flat means that I don’t have a load of space, however am very lucky to have a room of my own. I posted my studio in the past here. I am always constantly surrounded by keepsakes and bits and pieces of inspiration and life. As well as tools and useful things. Here are some bits and pieces of work from late. If you follow me on instagram you will see my sketchbook/work sharing. Its been nice to have a bit of time here alone listening to the radio and podcasts, these little pockets of time have really helped me not feel like Lupus is all consuming. It makes me feel a bit human again which is great. Because I am a nosy so and so I gathered that the rest of you may well be too. I love taking sneaky peaks into others spaces, especially when they are work spaces. Its been a rather sweaty, long, hot month this old month so my little cave has been a good refuge. Where do you work and what are your spaces like? Are they as cluttered and chaotic as mine?
I will do a little life update when I feel better/have energy and time.
Sometimes its all about the sweet little details in life. Serendipitous moments that bring people into your life to show you a bit of love when you most need it. I have struck up a friendship with the lovely Lou of Noo&Nell on instagram. We talk about art and creativity and bits and pieces of our lives. Her emails are like a warm cup of tea enveloping you in a hug and something that have kept me from going completely stir crazy with this cabin fever. It also is nice to have a physical connection to someone and see their personality in their handwriting and parcels. I miss this touch a lot online when connecting with people. I feel like we are so in undated with imagery and online profiles that it is sometimes hard to remember there is a face and a human behind a user name. Its so good to actually have a physical nice little detail of a friend. Its so easy nowadays to hit a like button, to double tap an image to show some love. Its all so quick and automatic so thats why its super meaningful and lovely when someone has taken the time in their day to stop, think and make with their lovely hands. I think thats what means the most, the thought, time and energy that goes into a little parcel or letter like this. For someone to say “I care and I am thinking of you” makes it all quite a lot better.
I must admit I am notoriously bad at replying to emails, sending written notes, planned packages. Scribbled notes seem to get forgotten about and when i do finally get round to sending things they seem a bit lost and irrelevant. However picking up this wonderful package from the post office made me feel generally loved and grateful, it did its purpose of being a care package. I truly felt so grateful (and a little undeserving of such prettiness!). I would love to do the same for the people I love when they need it the most. Watch this space.
The pink parcel smelt amazing as the postoffice worker handed it over to me. I waited until I was at home with pup and a nice cup of tea to open it. Inside the package contained 3 beautifully wrapped little presents, all in delicate pink soft tissue paper wrapped up with a piece of (pink!) string. Just the care and love that went into wrapping everything beautifully. I loved the card that came with the package, indeed when life gives you lemons 😉
The reason the package smelt so wonderful was because Lou had picked lavender from her garden and it had perfumed all the parcel. Within the 3 individually wrapped presents were the wonderful bestest gift an illustrator could ask for. Pencils, wrapped up with yet more lavender. I can’t stop smelling it as its calming aroma washes over me.
She also included two little sweet cushions, I love her funny little gnomes. So cheerful and sweet. Again, stuffed with that beautiful fragrant lavender. I will place it next to my bed and let its calming take effect.
There was also a cute little kitty, beautifully embroidered. I want to see these as brooches and they would be really sweet.
I loved the fact that it was like a care package and full of sweet little details. So much love and time was taken in putting together the little package. Its true what Lou said, she can’t send me get well flowers but this was even better. I have made a dear friend! I love the fact I have very good friends that I rarely see and when I get an email from them entailing their lives and loves and thoughts it makes my heart swell. I love that these words form a bond. I need to get my act together and send out a few care packages of my own. These friends are near and far away and I miss them in my life but feel so happy for technology that my words reach as far as Canada and England and that I have people rooting for me out there when I need it the most. I am rooting for you guys too! /gushypostend
I feel years fall like days. And days fall like years. The expression the days are long but the years are short. How apt I find myself thinking.
Everything around me is in constant flux and change is happening yet I feel I am wading through treacle to move the second hand on the clock just a tiny nudge. Life is on pause while everyone is around me getting married, starting families and going on big grand adventures. Whilst my little old body, aged before its time, sits whilst waiting seeps its way into my bones and eats away at them. The feeling of time rotting away at my insides, thick undergrowth and brambles growing around my bones. Making me feel suffocated and stuck. Making it harder to move from as they root me to this very spot.
The talk of change and future plans seem so distant and in the yonder when only spoken about minutes, hours ago, and then if by magic, suddenly those days turn into weeks that form months and then years.
Big heart wrenching occasions pass with the inevitable goodbyes that tug at the strings of my being, slowly pulling me down and making me miss and feel nostalgic for times that haven’t even happened yet.
Times that are spoken about wistfully, times that are spoken about with the gutsy confidence that comes with talking about very distant things gives you. The giddy excitement of a dream, plans and journeys (physical and mental). All spoken about with hope and joy. But its ok because they won’t happen for a while. There is still time, life still has time to happen, we still have so much time to be. Until the day arrives and its happened. And you are in the exact same situation with all those giddy plans but them still being so far out of reach. Hands flailing to catch at them, if you could just run that bit faster. But you can never run fast enough. You can always run a bit more tomorrow, until tomorrow and the day after and the day after that and so on have passed. Groundhog day. Energy rationed out like medicine. One bit today and the rest for another day.
Trapped by those seconds, minutes, hours, days months and years. All of that waiting and that never being. Its all so bittersweet. Trying your very damn hardest to enjoy it whilst it is here, this present. Thinking this could be the moment, this could be it. Although it never feels like it.
Trapped by that waking thought that life is exactly the same as when you last left it. Only the hands on the clock have been around way faster and many many times, there are new faces that look back at your older face. You awake and realise that you are 10 years older and wonder how you have slept walked through it all. Wading through thick syrupy time, eyes open but not really there. How did it happen? So you cling and grab onto little strings that hold you up, grasping at them. Clutching at any flicker of hope of excitement, that there is always some sort of plan waiting in the wings. Living on other peoples time and lives, watching through tired eyes. Happy to be there along for the ride but sad that its never really you. Happy that the ones you love so dearly are doing this thing called living so well. Happy that they spend their time so wisely.
And you wonder when will it be my second, minute, hour, day, month and year? Maybe tomorrow…
This is a little piece I wrote in 5 minutes hunched over my phone, it is what I felt in that moment (and do still feel). I am OK, despite it seeming quite dramatic. I am ok.
Why hello there FRI-YAY! I wanted to do another little weekly round up of good things to remind me of THE GOOD THINGS in life. I bloody need the remind to be honest. I thought I would try to illustrate them. I had a major melt down paddy at drawing my beloved PJ Harvey. I officially can’t draw PJ. She is too good to put into drawing form (I just ain’t got the skillz). I will be drawing more of my girl-heroes! I have a plenty. Lets not hope I get the strops like this time though…
Oh Polly Jean you sure do own a piece of my black little heart. I have seen her twice in my life, both times amaazing (she was wearing a spice girl dress for one performance!). BUT this album reaches somewhere deep in my marrow and stays there. I love it. It has to be one of the best from the past 5 years if not more. Its so hauntingly beautiful and the lyrics (as always is the case with PJ) are amazing. One of my favourite albums ever and ever so fitting for my weird longing for my isle. Watch all the video’s in this playlist and listen to the full album. It will take you on a journey of an archaic English adventure.
I have always and forever been obsessed with the 1960’s. I kind of wish I was around to document this time and see and feel it with my own eyes. It seems like such an important changeable time. I also just love any of the imagery and iconography that comes with it.
So this is a dedication to my tools and my deepest love for what they allow me to do and for all things stationary (it says pencils above not penises…)
Again, this is just a taster of a blog post that is to follow. I want to do one about my favourite tools and pens and pencils that I use as an artist/illustrator/maker/experimenter person. Above is my favourite pen that is from Muji. Its an indian ink filled brush pen thing. So handy and such a time saver. Its my go to pen at the moment and has heavily influenced my work as of late. The other thing pictured is my muji mechanical clicky pencil thing. Its my dream pencil and everything looks better sketched out in it. Also pictured is my beloved ink well. I love love love ink. Its dark splodgy messy marks makes everything look how I imagine it in my head. Had a terrible paddy fit of a day yesterday (as mentioned above…) when nothing comes out of my hands like it is pictured in my head and this makes me SAD and RAGEY. I hate that feeling of uselessness. It has passed though (sort of).
I have also been loving and I mean LOVING with all my heart this series on bbc 4. Its about artists. I have reawakened my belief in what is my calling in life and what I should be doing and I don’t think I can let anything get in that way any longer. So inspired and so refreshing, here are two of my very very favourites:
Tracey was (and is still) my hero when I was 15/16/17. Her work seemed to really speak to me visually and meaningfully. I love her so so much. She is such a special weirdo and tells her unique sad and powerful story in such a way. Flaws and all. (thats what makes her so strong).
This makes for a slightly awkward viewing but I love love these two. Brilliance. Watch on the BBC if you are in the UK.
This obvs falls under the musica section however also here because it is so much more:
Lastly, here are my current favourite beauty products, will do another PROPER post soon on these but for now here is the illustrated version.
Happy weekend to y’all.
So last weeks post got a lot of feedback, both good and bad in some ways. Interpretation is a good thing though. I think it came across as being a negative whine however what I intended to do was fondly remember the days of innocence and non internet marketing. About blogging and being present on social media because you really want to not because its some ploy to get rich quick etc. Zoe writes about it brilliantly here and is so EN POINT!
Moving on though, I wanted to celebrate the internet and the glorious wonderful weird thing that it is. I thought I would fish out a few of my faves and share and enjoy the good, inspiring, awe wondrous things that are out there. As a few of you mentioned sometimes you just need to scratch a little deeper below the surface to find things.
Oh there have been a few favourite accounts that I have been collecting lately. I mainly use Instagram (and pinterest) to stalk other illustrators and the like. As well as a daily diary of some sort (currently doing the 365 project- more of that in another post).
PS LOVIN’ the new instagram web feed. Mucho mejor folks!
Have a bit of a thing for dolls and 3d illustrations at the moment and I am so glad I found this artist. Her dolls have so much character and are so sweet and the stitching. Love them. Noo and Nel.
A recent discovery of this printing wizard. I enjoy the textures and colours so much (all hand printery and good- rough textures and block colours <3). I also enjoy the subjects they choose to draw. Shops and houses and animals. Lovely! The printed peanut
Elly Pear, someone who hails from my hometown and is now a Bristolian owning the mega super Pear Cafe (must visit when I am next in Brizzle! Frittata and sandwiches yum!). She does the 5:2 diet and is constantly posting the most incredible shots of food and goodness. Love her account so much! Elly Pear
And last but by no means least I present to you the visual wonder that is Seedling Paperie.
Where to begin? The designs and hand drawn typography are dreamy but not to sickly whimsical. The botanical theme through out all of the well painted pieces. The styling oh the beautiful styling. Every single picture is flawless. Way to brand your paper shop! Seedling Paperie
I have really gotten into video in a HUGE way. I guess my attention span has gotten shorter and shorter as we enter in the age of a social digital adhd. Not being able to sit still and focus on one piece of media at the moment due to severe cabin fever. These little snippets, these quick fix inspirational pieces are my cure. They satisfy my need for visual and informational inspiration.
I originally saw this on the wonderful Sanda’s blog (more below!).
Oh Mr Casey Neistat, you truly brilliant inspirational man. Everything you do is natural and just unique and you with or without realising drop grand gems of inspiration and encouragement. This man has stopped me from going under and being full blown crazy. I love his DIY aesthetic and his dream studio (the labeled boxes of greatly organised tools etc). Casey always makes me feel better!
I also recently found this cuties youtube channel. I love her style, her pup and her cute southern accent. Her carefree, relaxed demeanour really appeals to me and her taste is awesome!
I find this blog insanely informative and helpful. Its always super inspiring and gives great tips and insights into blogging and branding etc. I am especially loving the “How I quit my job” series. Especially this edition with Viktorija from AndSmile. So so inspiring… Also the blog it self, brilliantly clean layout and super easy to read. Great consistent content too. Bravo! http://www.theprivatelifeofagirl.com/
Oh dear Sarah! Your blog is such an ace read and is totally what I was going on about in my last post. The kind of blog I miss. Blogging for blogging sake, because you have something good and interesting to say and add and not to sell etc. Great content Sahara and some brilliant points brought forward. http://sarahfordham.com
Dear Sandra, I have been following your blog since you were on the magical livejournal. I have followed your beautiful life for over 7 years. I read your blog in sketchy weird translated english (cheers google translate). You make me wish I was Swedish and living the dream life you have in Stockholm. Anyway you are articulate and intelligent and I can’t wait to pick up a copy of your book. You are also a dreamer and I enjoy your boy candy posts. (pictured above!) http://sandrabeijer.se
Another Swede called Sandra. Totally different from the other Sandra. Her style and apartment in Berlin are amazing. I love her photo diaries from life on the streets around Berlin. Oh and the food. I also want her life! One day I will get to Berlin…. http://sandrajuto.blogspot.com.es
Penguin the Magpie has been one of my favourite things for quite a while now. These hauntingly beautiful photos of family life with an adopted magpie are my very favourite. The special bond and trust that just seems so unlikely makes my heart swell and break at the same time. Honestly something about this makes me want to cry and cry but in an awesomely beautiful special way. I have also had a bit (a lot) of an obsession with magpies for years and years and consider myself to be a bit of a girl magpie. Penguin the Magpie
This article written for the NewYorker is brilliant. Its so apt. I am so done but addicted at the same time with pinterest. Have a good little chuckle at all of the cliches. I was kind of referring to this weird selective and filtered unrealistic life in my last post. Day in the life
A total why didn’t I think of this moment? Except I kinda sorta did at uni, I sewed tiny objects and keepsakes and dolls furniture into pockets and creases of clothes and into these little jewellery boxes. I love this though so much, these scenes. Tiny intricate worlds that make you feel quite nostalgic. There is also something so valuable and precious about the fact they exist in jewellery boxes. By the artist http://talwst.com
PHEW, that took me a while to write. Glad I did though. Yay internet you are not so shit and shallow. I do like you a lot, I practically grew up livin on the internet so. Now to GET OUTSIDE.
So this is the last in the series of photos that I took whilst visting my little isle a few months back. I will stop banging on about being homesick for a bit- however that is near impossible as its something I feel on a daily basis.
I wanted to write a little about how I feel about my home country and its goings on. I am just going to sit here and type and let it be cathartic. Whether you agree of disagree with me, these are my thoughts and feelings and how I view the world and country where I am from at this precise moment in time. Its more a subconscious stream of tangled thoughts and emotions.
I am always one to defend and care about the UK, I constantly compare everything here (here being Barcelona incase you didn’t get that I have called this hot, dusty vibrant city my ‘home’ for 9 years- nine bloody long years). I like being from a country where education, arts and liberal (ish) thinking are welcomed and celebrated. I feel proud about an open discussion and that we can talk about things that have happened in the past (they are not swept under a horrible veil with wounds cut so deep and never to be spoken of- like here). I like that when I am any where in the UK there is diversity and not just a sea of blank white faces staring back at me apathetically. We are independent, original and diverse. We celebrate the good things and have a sense of nostalgia- this coming out in our music and our food etc. We don’t just bulldoze over old archaic treasures. We preserve and celebrate them. We believe that everyone has the right to health care and education and that it should be top notch and FREE! Our social system is in place to support and help others not as lucky and born into riches. We don’t depend on our families as much as here in the south where there is NO social or housing support. Our grandparents are still not working and picking food out of the rubbish bins in order to survive. We don’t see these daily struggles as much on the streets as I do so starkly here.
However now I will take of my rose tinted glasses and notice the contempt that has been breeding in the UK. Perfectly green mown lawns, houses upon houses that are all the same waving their little blue flags proudly- or worse those awful yellow and purple things.
Little boxes with a little space for a new car or two, perfectly lined up in a row. Essex being a fine example of this. Contempt breeding through twitching curtains. Prejudice forming. People who don’t go out and speak with each other. People who will demand to know why, in their opinion, why a seeming fit person has the right to a blue disabled badge and they will snidely make passive aggressive comments or just be rude in general. They feel put out and like some sort of unfairness and injustice has been made just because they can’t see what is there (visible or invisible illness and disabilities). Something which is a deeply private and personal issue and has been hard enough to get some sort of recognition because this new system, this voted system decided by people who do not know us, have made us feel stigmatised and embarrassed and has pointed fingers. Lazy and liars is what we are- without knowing our stories and what has happened in our lives-quick to judge and even quicker to believe what has been peddled in this media war. Where has this hatred and sense of having to right the world when its has nothing to do with them.
Where has this ugly contempt of others come from, where we can no longer offer a helping hand and look others who for whatever reason are less fortunate than ourselves? Where is the society in that? DO we not have a social responsibility as fellow citizens to make sure our elderly, sick, needy and anyone else who happens not to be born into money and riches as a birth right our help and support and compassion, understanding and all the rest?
When did we decide to all be judges and point fingers and generally fuck over other people for a sense of self entitlement a pat on the back because you are fit and able to work etc? When has it been ok to damn people and shame them because they have not been as fortunate to be dealt with the same hand or luck. Or simply being human and making a few bad choices down the line. When has it been ok just to sit and watch this all and advert our gaze onto some sort of fake keep calm and bloody carry on mentality? Later to point fingers when people fall down and sit high above them judging and deciding what happens. And mocking, oh the mockery. Lets talk about understanding and maybe education instead of despising and labelling people? Lets talk about programs across the country such as in the arts and education and youth work that help support this idea instead of just throwing people onto a heap and hoping they will disappear and when they don’t pointing our fingers and acting holier than thou as you read your dailymail over your lovely oak kitchen table, in your well designed kitchen, in your box with your two cars and television and feel smug because you are so much better than the rest. Because you have made it and been fortunate to rise above whatever struggle and strife. Then on top of that feel like it is ok to drag people less fortunate than yourself down.
I am angry and sad and upset and I HATE seeing the worse in humans. I hate this level of us and them and immigrants and foreigners and not being good enough for what you consider right.
Its cool though, will look forward to your blank, white flat pancake faces as you get pissed and fall out of wherever you came from barely able to control your faculties, because you insist on acting like a complete dick and can’t take your drink and then get patched up by an excellent hospital system here because you can because we are lucky enough to live in a union with our neighbours that allows you to travel, live and work and allows you to enrich your life and further yourself with new experiences and culture. Instead you don’t, you shout and speak in english and think that anyone who has an accent is beneath you and you smile patronisingly at them because you can’t even make an effort to understand what they are saying in your language in THEIR country. You nod blindly and pretend that you are open as you drink your “continental” Ri-oh-HAA and eat your CH-OR-RIE-ZOOH and pretend that you are so worldy. When you are not.
Lets not get started on the amount of poorly written, lies and garbage that the UK media has presented through out this election and after. Its scary that people can not formulate opinions and votes have been cast out of this fear of others, our neighbours and fellow humans. Us and them rather than everyone together.
I still however feel amazed and impassioned and have so much gratitude being where I am from, and knowing the special amazing people that I do know that are smart and willing to change for the better. I am excited and ignited with hope when I see people wanting to fight the good fight. Let it be one hell of a fight to change this level of contempt, ignorance and just plain complacency. Not everyone is out to steal or put you out, some people are just not quite as lucky.
So England (UK) You are an amazing place and I long for you, I long to be there and part of you and enjoy your amazingness. I need change though. I need to see you care and your people are good people wanting to be part of an a society that cares and nurtures everyone who needs it, especially those that need it the most.
I miss your beauty and potential and the fact that its OK to miss and be disgruntled with these things, I miss your places and architecture, food and its people- some of them anyway. I am homesick but for the good and the bad and it being simply where I am from. As I said I am in it for the good fight to make it better and more fair. To overcome the bitter disappointment at the outcome of the recent election, not just politically but the bile that has been bought to the surface by those unexpected and expected ones who lack compassion and understanding. The media who have whipped up a storm and waged a war, that is peddled with lies and untruths (from every side I may add). Something has been ruined and tainted and its time to rebuild it. You can actually do one if you are prepared to think that Broken Britain is because of those less fortunate than you are. Broken Britain is because the rise in this xenofobic, Peniaphobic, lack of compassion and understanding and wiliness to believe everything you read.
This post was supposed to be written about its need little nostalgic cottages and niceness. However that has all be a bit tainted. I need to speak about this. This affects me both directly and in directly and having a partner who is not British, living in the EU, being supported by a wonderful health system and seeing things from the other side makes me sit up and take notice and want to do the right thing and fight for what is just and fair and right. I feel proud for having my life enriched thus far and hope that the system in the UK is as opened armed and helpful and tolerant of non UK people and even those who have gone away and come back again. I hope that there can be a good debate built upon this disappointment and things can be improved.
Remember not to judge what you don’t understand, know or are fearful of. You don’t know the story behind the face or the person. In fact please, as my sister stated, do not hide behind your thinly veiled racism to make you feel justified. Its disgusting and wrong and remember directly affects everyone around you.
I want to invite you all to step into my wonder dream world. Also previously referenced to on the blog as my “non boring world here and here. In my non boring world/wonderland/dream world exists only beautiful good things. A nice comfy quiet cosy life. Good surroundings and people. Good light. That feeling when you are home and happy.
Which brings me onto this post and what it is all about. On a busy Saturday afternoon a month or so back, I boarded a flight to go for a much needed visit home. I was crammed on a ryanair flight sat next to two french girls. Who-did-not-stop-talking. Excited to have a play with my new camera and read my kindle the flight went smoothly and quickly. I can’t describe that feeling, I do not have the vocabulary to put it into words, how it feels to start descending and seeing all the patchwork fields and muted greys and greens below. It feels so nostalgic and comforting and that feeling that I know I am home. Upon landing I popped into a newsagents and stocked up on Ribena, Gingerbeer and crisps (British delicacies) and went to catch my bus to London. The bus took us on the motorway that cut through beautiful fields and scenery. Arriving into London has to be one of my favourite things ever ever. We drove through Bow and Walthamstow and getting deeper and deeper into London arriving to London Liverpool St. I have said it before and I will say it again. London is truly the most beautiful city in the world. Old and new and historical and archaic in all the shades of grey. Holding on for dear life to its character that makes London, London. So ugly and beautiful at the same time.
After stepping off the bus at Liverpool St I tried to navigate the tube alone with a suitcase and bag. In what scared me at first ended up feeling really good to go it alone andwas like an adventure. I met my sister at my destination and it was so good to see her. We drove in the car to THE FLAT. I write that with capital letters as that is what this whole rambling blog post is dedicated too. THE FLAT of dreams.
I dream often about having a place of my own, back home. I dream how it would be and what the light would be like and how the décor would be. I dream about how it feels to be in a space that feels like mine and how a home should be. As we stepped in the front door and climbed the stairs to the flat it just felt so right and at home. I took a deep breath and took in my surroundings. It was perfect. A kitchen that can fit more than two people, a bedroom in the eaves, a fire place and a comfy velvet sofa, a full sized bath, pink kitchen cabinets, a terrace, stairs inside, wooden floors, vases of flowers, freshly baked bread, large windows, the view, the brick, Kensington, dove grey paint, pots and pans hanging, open kitchen shelves, small little trinkets, miss matched furniture (see table and chairs and arm chairs), good rugs….
The list goes on and on. I felt like home and dream even more to have a place to call my own. One day.