Paper dolls and miscarriage

I had 5 pregnancies and 2 live births 30 years ago. At the time I didn't really mourn my loss and I wonder if my anxiety and chronic migraines stem from the upheaval of hormones I experienced over 4 years.

Mostly I feel like have worked through my grief . However, I was knocked for six this week after reading an article in 'Therapy Today'

( Who Knew ? j.Gosney June 2017 vol 28 issue5) The article describes Gosney's work with grieving pregnancy loss. (I could have done with meeting her in the late 1980's). She talks about why there is 'such a silencing shame around miscarriage' I suspect it is because we don't want to upset or worry other newly pregnant parents.

I remember 'retreating from a world that had become a hostile environment peopled by babies, pregnant women and proud fathers' I moved my living room to the back of the house away from the twice a day school run of chatting happy Mums and buggies

I am not sure I experienced post traumatic stress but I definitely 'became vulnerable to anxieties….. and questioned my bodies ability to carry full term…. I realised I couldn't trust my body anymore.'

With my dyslexia and continuing migraines I still feel this phrase resonates strongly.

Most of my art doesn't look into this as a source of inspiration. however after the embodied reactions I keep getting to @gracemorgan's art on Instagram – I felt inspired to look at how I could explore this, using my paper doll technique.

My first go at womb mandala

Wombs with 8 week embryos( which is when the doctors thought things when things went wrong) I quite like the difference in the colours of the womb – photocopy , against the rawness of the real painted colour of the embryos

These feel a bit sanitised, I am shying away from blood. Which is ridiculous really. Though I am being a bit hypocritical because I dislike sanitary towel adverts on the TV

And another pretty one

http://www.bacp.co.uk/docs/pdf/16027_all%20editorial%20tt_jun17.pdf

Migraine mandalas

I get hemiplegic migraines ( which I am sure I must have mentioned in an earlier post) they are exacerbated by flashing lights and hormones. Most of the time they are under control with a very small dose of antidepressants. However, menopause and my irritable bowel has been fun!!! Sometimes, the migraines are brought on by flashing lights – sometimes food (if I am being sensitive). This latest episode was self inflicted really – reading a book and drawing mandalas in 4 hrs of flickering light on a car journey -was asking for trouble. 

I decided to have a go at working through my frustration and anger at my self , after several  reared their ugly heads , consecutive evenings. 

I am staying at my Dad’s house in the south of France with only my travel kit. I painted  loose ovals on lots of sheets of heavy duty cartridge paper with  very diluted acrylic. Then added swirls of neocolours, oil pastels and more paint- it’s warm and arrid here so everything dries very quickly. 


I wanted to continue working with my paper dolls. I tried a design where a female shape is curled up in painholding her head but it ended up looking like white splodges in some sort of fiery constellation. 

A head screaming (below) just looked weird( lol) and didn’t convey what I wanted to express- I like the colours , textures and patterns , so they became backgrounds. 


I needed some figures that worked in circles so I searched on line and came up with an ancient artifact from Mexico 


Practicing blind contour faces in pain ( really getting into the details 😂😂😂😂) 


The above design uses an African figurine as motif but even though it made a lovely mandala in the centre with its arms and legs I didn’t like the proportions of the head and neck. 


Nice uncomfortable screaming baby type figures are amusing me now my head is better and I like the nightmarish qualities – there is an other worldly feeling and out of body experience that I seem to have captured too , which sums up my aura stage quite nicely. Though if I think about it -I don’t experience all that colour 

Palhais Portugal

We have been visiting Portugal this week at the Omissam Guest house. Jon booked us in for a yoga retreat. I was quite anxious because I haven’t done any yoga for years. However, Lia and her team are very adaptable and doing yoga once a day was an acceptable practice. 

The retreat is situated in the small village of Palhais. There is a lot of new buildings but the centre still has a lot of  charm. There are lots of blue and white painted houses and a few examples of patterned ceramic tiles.

The pavements and roads are made of cobbles that are cut into little cubes of various sizes


More examples of tiles – the chicken design was inside a cafe. The majority of designs that I saw are blue and white. 


The tiles are either set in panelled designs making a feature on a wall or a patterned area typically around the main door. 

Every roof is tiled in brown ceramic tiles – there don’t seem to be any guttering and several roofs have pretty ridge tiles and a ‘Moorish’ feel to them 


Because it is early July there are lots of flowers. Agapanthus seems to be used everywhere on rounderbouts, decorating roadside pots and gardens. 

 


Thistles , succulents and morning glory are in abundance too 

Crochet succulents – Tess design 

Because of my dyslexia I can’t read patterns so I have to make crochet stuff  up as I go a long –  my hubbies office at work doesn’t have enough natural light to keep real plants so I decided to have a go at making some succulents. 

A friend asked how I made them so I broke down the stages in pictures and text. I do it  intuitively , so  I can’t tell you exactly how I make them because my learning disabilities make it difficult to translate into individual stitches and numbers 


Below are the instructions for the red and green one 

100 chain 

Then treble in each chain  2 in every other stitch 

To make the leaves 

Third row 

I have made little bumps of 6 chain and 3 double crotchet in between make 6 leaves 

Next set of leaves  make  the gaps 4 double crochet – and the leaves are half treble , treble , halftreble make about 4 


Then make 4 leaves a bit bigger half treble , treble , 6 chain, treble in the same stitch, half treble 


– it’s important to roll the strip up every so often to check and see how the design is working 

about a third the way along the third row – stop making leaves 


Double crotchet , Half treble , treble to the end of the row 

Cut wool and darn in the end

Return to the start of the line of trebles and start making larger leaves 


– I have added an extra stitch to a treble – not sure what it is called but it’s just another wrap of wool around the hook at the beginning – I am going to call them a Quad from here on 


Make 4 medium leaves – double crochet, half treble , treble , quad , 2 chain , quad in the same stitch , treble , half treble,  double crotchet – 4 more double crotchet make new leaf 

Make a large leaf  -double crochet, half treble , treble , quad , quad, 6 chain , quad in the same stitch , quad , treble , half treble double crotchet – 5 more double crochet make new leaf 

Continue making large leaves until the end – gradually build up to 7 double crochets in between each leaf 

If you want to make an all green plant make half treble into the last stitch – half treble in each stitch of all the large leaves – add 6 chain at each leaf tip

I changed to red at the above stage to add contrast to my design 


When you get to the medium leaves change to double crochet instead of half treble 


When you get to the tiny first leaves finish off the red wool and darn in the end

I added a red stitch with a needle to the top of each small leaf 

Roll the strip of crochet and start stitching the bottom of the roll with green wool to hold it into place – you may have to stretch or gather the leaves a bit to get them fitting in the spaces made by the double crochet 

Carry on rolling and stitching to firmly hold into place – stitch the end of the roll to the body of the plant – I tend to do it by sight so that the plant looks a good shape 

Finished design 

Doodling flowers 

I am regularly asked how I start my doodles so I decided to break down the process into small stages here 

I start with some sort of a circle 


Then I build up the design – breaking the circumference into small repetitive shapes. I use the same ones in lots of different combinations to make different designs 



Flowers petals are usually odd numbers but I don’t let that bother me at this stage 


I go round the circles making the designs more complicated – building up the layers of pattern 


I felt the the two on the left needed more in the middle so I went back to the centres 


Here are two flowers with external petals added 

I never do exactly the same design -but keep added more layers until I fill the page with my design. Here are two flowers similar to the pink and white designs above with extra layers added 

Messing about, mixed media and digital manipulation 

One of the things I like doing  best as a time waster and ‘a lets not do the housework/ cook dinner exercise ‘ is producing mixed media images and then manipulating them in my iPhone Apps 

My favourite go to doodling is pen and ink flowers 


I am working in a letter journal at the moment and the theme is flowers so I reproduced this image and added colour 


I used Gelatoes , babywipes and teal acrylic through a stencil – the pen ran a bit with the baby wipe 


So I needed to work ontop of it a bit more – I wasn’t really satisfied with this either 


So I edited the warmth and saturation in the iPhone photo app


I reflected the image , tried layering and fiddling with the filters in snapseed – but it wasn’t doing what I wanted 


Until I only layered part of the image and made a stronger tonal panel down the middle 


I rotated and reflected it and then zoomed in on a smaller section to get something I liked a lot more – I like the patterns the lighter sections make in contrast – it’s just a shame the resolution isn’t very good. When you manipulate to this level