So as you may well know, we’re leaving the UK on June 25th with a one way ticket to Canada, where we will be giving a new life a go on the IEC visa for the next 2 years. Months have melted into weeks and then soared into days, with that odd combination of time feeling simultaneously fast and slow.
It’s weird how May seemed so chilled. The end of June still seemed far enough away that we felt like we had forever to get everything sorted. I will admit though, towards the end of May I started having printmaking anxiety dreams. Dreams in which I arrived at the studio and all of the screens were strapped up ready to ship off, completely un-usable. And another one in which my rooster litho stone had, for some reason, been carved into as if it were a lino block – only leaving the lines raised, with the rest of the dream involving me struggling to make an edition. Niche anxiety dreams right? What happened to the teeth falling out or just endlessly falling?
Over the last week or so, that anxiety has gradually shifted into an interesting mix of acceptance and focus. I have managed to get my head around the fact that there just isn’t time to complete the multitude of projects that I have lined up in my head. This has allowed me to concentrate on a select few things – making a frame for the print I’m giving my cousin as a wedding gift; printing and framing a gift for my grandma; finally editioning the roster litho; and trying to use up any excess book cover screen prints and recycled paper folios that are still in my 2 plan chest drawers.
The result of this has been a very satisfying and productive last few days in the studio – having made over 40 sketchbooks, editioned the rooster, and made 4 frames for various people including my cousin and grandma.
Despite the stress of leaving such an amazing space and opportunity behind (albeit to pursue a lifelong dream) – I feel that being forced to let go a little bit over the last week or so has been a really valuable experience. Yes I will always strive to do more, and to do better – but sometimes you just have to go with what life gives you and mould yourself to it. Things don’t always have to come to fruition right now, because you can always find a way in the future if that’s what you need and want to do.
We went to House of Small Wonder for breakfast during our trip to Berlin back in early April. The setting was something else, as you enter the place you’re met with a spiral staircase surrounded by plants and trinkets. There are menu highlights on chalkboards framed by old windows, and the wallpaper is green and covered in little birds.
Good music, good coffee, good food – but service needed a bit of work. Always frustrating when one person gets their food way earlier that the other – and on this occasion there was at least a ten minute wait, which ended up with Aidan having to ask where the missing meal was…
Solid 7/10 for me, despite the wait. Portions were pretty good. My french toast was a bit on the small side, but did come with a good sized portion of fruit salad (cantaloupe melon, apple, kiwi, strawberry) – Aidan’s croque madame was a decent size and the accompanying eggs were super tasty and nicely seasoned. We both liked the fact it was served in a croissant, which is slightly unusual but definitely worked! (Sorry for the lack of pictures, after the wait hunger took over and eating was a bigger priority than taking photos!)
So this was my last Easter in the UK for the conceivable future. Aidan did his thing with friends and family in Wales, and I spent the day with my family at my nan’s house in Coggeshall (a small town in Essex.) Now easter in our family has always involved an egg hunt in Mémé’s garden – and although most of us grandkids are pushing thirty, we stubbornly keep the tradition alive. Usually my dad’s older brother does the hiding, but this year my cousin Aleric did the honours with help from her boyfriend.
Expert egg hiding….
Of course Mémé had cooked up a storm. It’s inevitable that a visit to my nan’s ends in a very full stomach full of very tasty food!
On the way back we spent a good hour driving through the back streets of London, around Bermondsey, Southwark and Waterloo – which weirdly is one of my favourite things to do in this city. There’s something really magical about London at night, it transforms into something wonderful, and sitting in the back of my mum’s car on Sunday night I realised that it is something I will really miss about this city of mine.
So for this month’s things to see I made myself a little booklet featuring a selection of exhibitions that are currently on in Berlin. I was there from the 8th-12th April, and so decided to check out what was on at a few of the many galleries dotted around the city. One sheet of suggestions just wasn’t enough in this case, so I thought I’d put my bookmaking skills to good use and make my own exhibition guide!
Found all the info I needed on ArtRabbit – which is a great resource if you’re looking for exhibitions in London, Berlin, New York or Paris.
For details of the exhibitions included keep on reading below!
So today started stressfully, although I decided to poeticise my commute to try and make at least that part of it less frustrating: I missed my bus by the turn of a corner, and my train by a flight of stairs.
Commute aside, my mind was fully occupied this morning. I had a letter to print out, a letter which I had written yesterday – addressed to our headteacher, explaining a big decision that I was making. A decision that is allowing me to fulfill a life-long dream and embark on a huge adventure.
I emailed him, asking for a quick chat after support staff briefing – he replied saying yes, as long as it’s quick. I printed out my letter, signed it, folded it carefully into 3 and placed it inside a light brown envelope. I scrawled his name on the front, went to the loo to stare at myself in the mirror and make big, confident poses (I wish I was lying….) and went down to the office.
At 10:10am, once his office was cleared, I handed in my notice. As of May 26th I will no longer be working as an Art and Music Technician at this inner city comprehensive school. Then on the 25th of June, I will be boarding a plane with a one-way ticket, and going to a country that filled Aidan and I with a ridiculous amount of joy and wonder when we visited last year.
More to follow, there are still some very important people I need to tell about this. The next trip to the print studio is going to be a nervy one….