I’m trying to think of the last time that I had anything like a holiday. Not having any spare money, I can’t afford to travel by bus let alone jet off on an airplane somewhere warm and glamorous. Don’t laugh, but the nearest I have had to a holiday was when I had swine flu about five years ago (I even kept my packet of tamiflu as a souvenir). It was marvellous, I just lay on the sofa for a whole week, just staring at the television whilst under the duvet, totally guilt free. I had no compulsion to make or do anything. I just lay there…
Apart from that, the nearest I get is to change the pattern of what I do. In the last instance from designing Christmas cards through a surprisingly warm autumn to making teddy bears. It’s such a lovely thing to do, well for a little while anyway. They seem to bring people such joy, even if it’s just to look at on social media. The people who buy them seem to get so much pleasure from them, either when they give them as gifts or keep them for themselves. It’s good to practice all the skills and remind my fingers how to do it all and give them a bit of excercise. If not to disappoint my occasional haters, it’s all a swift slap down to the pretend makers of st Leonards to remind them that, however much they wish to blow their own trumpets, they aren’t very good at what they say they do. But, that bit of petty spite aside, I really love doing it. I bloody love fabric and to have the privilege to work with such expensive and high quality materials is a sheer joy.
In some ways it would be lovely to make teddy bears all the time but the art ideas keep backing up in my brain and besides, there just isn’t the kind of money washing about the economy to sell that many one off teddy bears. It’s nice though, particularly in the winter, just sitting on the sofa, in a cone of heat from the halogen heater, as the wind howls outside and the rain blatters on the windows, all warm and cosy with the telly on. I mean seriously, I get paid for that, how cool is that? Granted, not huge amounts, but it is rather lovely all the same. I guess that’s where the holiday part comes in, work that is fun isn’t work. Plus you make people smile, what more do you want from life? I’ve done jobs before in the past that were utterly pointless, they made no difference to the world at all, they may even have made it slightly worse in some cases. It is good to put something out there that is lovely. Plus there is that creating an heirlooms malarkey, knowing you’ve made something else enough that it will last and age well.
I did get a bit of a bee in my bonnet about people balking at the prices though. So much so that I decided to do a little film about the making process. I really can bear either looking at myself or hearing the sound of my own voice. So much so that I found the editing process rather painful and a found it hard not to just stare at my balding head and bulging belly all the time and listening to my Kenneth williams like voice was only surpassed in awfulness by all my snuffling and the laboured breathing of someone with heart problems. I am deeply human and I haven’t got any other choice but to deal with it sadly. Gripes aside, it is a fascinating business, condensing the making of an object into a relatively short space of time. I suspect I will also do a condensed and sped up version too. After that I shall get back to my usual line of work as I can already feel the ideas clawing at the inside of my head. Apperently a change is as good as a rest… That’s how the cliche goes, I must admit though, truth be told I’d rather have spent the last six weeks in the sunshine on a beach reading a book. But as second choices go, making a big stack of teddy bears is a pretty good one.