Tuesday, 19 February 2013

North Somerset Arts Week, and baring my soul

Well this is proving to be an interesting week so far. A few months ago a friend asked me if I would like to exhibit some of my pictures at her beautiful and huge parents' house, along with another friend (three of us with three different things to offer: felting, patchwork and jewellery), during North Somerset Arts Week (in May 2013). It involved paying for copy and photos in the brochure but we all felt this would be worthwhile as it seems to be a bigger thing every year and the brochures (beautiful in themselves) are to be found in lots of outlets. It all went quiet for a while and then last week we had an email to say our local coordinator was now unable to volunteer, and to ask if anyone else had time to devote to it. Without thinking about it, I found myself replying to say I could; and as a result I am getting messages from artists to ask when they can come and check their proof in the brochure! I haven't managed to meet Georgina (the Framing Fairy) yet who will talk me through it all, but it should be an interesting journey...

I was fiddling about with this blog a couple of days ago and my little girl looked at it and started laughing. "Mummy's naked!" she giggled. And yet I had all my clothes on while I was typing! She knew about something that you don't (yet). I have been deliberating a lot over whether to display my last picture to the world (including friends, family and acquaintances who might really not want to see any more of me than they already do). You can see the head on my profile photo at the right but not the rest. Maybe if I write about it to you for a while it might clear my head about it all...

After I wrote to Fizz Gallery in Clevedon and had the distinct and unpleasant impression of having taken all my clothes off and then asking for an opinion, it got me thinking. One Saturday morning I woke up and started thinking about whether a felted nude would be possible. The felting process is an unpredictable journey. In case you don't know about it, it involves getting fluffy dyed wool and placing it into the desired design, then getting soap and warm water and very basically rubbing it like hell. There is a lot of shrinkage as it stops being fluff and joins together to become one piece of fabric. This can make shapes distort, areas get larger or smaller and nothing ever ends up exactly as you were expecting. This could be risky when a naked body is involved! But I had a vision of a slightly portly, amusing Beryl Cook style of lady, in which case distortion and unexpected bulbousnesses would add value rather than look scary. I thought I would give it a go.

And the really weird thing is that this time nothing really distorted; everything stayed where it was meant to be and the lady's proportions remained, well, ladylike. The only thing that changed was that the nipples had shifted a tiny bit upwards, but in reality isn't that something that those of us over a certain age would quite like?! So I started stitching over the top, telling myself that if I got the lines a bit wrong it would add the comedy aspect that I had envisaged. But it didn't happen. And the weirdest bit of all was that one or two of the lines I stitched seemed extremely and uncomfortably familiar to me. Then the children came home from school and asked "Mummy why have you done a naked picture of yourself?". My other half saw it and said "It is you, isn't it?". When I have shown it to a few select friends I have had to cover my face as I have unveiled it. So am I going to show it here?

Maybe I will... sorry if I put you off your lunch. This really isn't something I normally do!


  1. Wow Jo, Fabulous image your brother is blushing!!! well done with your blog both funny and interesting xxxx

  2. Sorry my comment went as anonymous but have no idea what profile to use as no passwords, url's (whatever they are!!) etc. Linda

    1. For a second I wondered if that was Teresa! Thanks for your comments x