Thursday, 12 June 2014

Relaunch of my website!

So I'm getting back into my artsy passions and relaunched my website and I'm quite proud of it. Yes, it needs a little proofreading and the gallery needs some extra attention but after a whole afternoon suffering with a cold it's looking  pretty damn good if I do say so myself. 

Friday, 6 June 2014

Time to start making again.

So with all my discoveries, adventures, and general 'finding my feet' journey through the adjustment to country living something  terrible has happened...I kinda stopped making art. 

It wasn't intentional, and it's nobody's fault but my own. I got caught up (and to some degree still am) trying to pay the bills, advance my career, and care for the family. 

I like my job, but it's not exactly what I had in mind as my main purpose in life. Being an artist is part of core. Sometimes I wish it wasn't it would make my life so much easier, or at least less dissapointing - but it's part of who I am and when I am making it gives me so much joy and fulfilment it's difficult to find anything else that makes me feel content.

So, I've decided to take a few baby steps to get my making back into gear. 

1. Carry a sketchbook with me
My commute to work is a long one so it would make better use of my time to make a pit stop and do a bit of sketching. And with the Ring of Kerry as my daily drive, what better a place to be  inspired. Plus the coach busses are only going to be slowing me down anyway this summer.

2. Get some quilting tools.
I've got a whole weardrobe of old clothing that I can't seem to give up and if really like to find a decent method of recycling it. I'm scouting through my local craft supply shops to find the best rotary cutting tools. Suggestions (particularly finger safety information) are welcome.  

3. Go to class.
Maybe I'm still in post-college institutionalised mode and find it difficult to make without a tutor giving me that dissapointing look for being late or playing hookie the week before. Now that I already have the little price of paper, I don't do couses for qualification - but now I can do them for just finding an outlet to carve out time in my busy schedule to make again. 

4. Find my peer group.
Ever since I left Cork, it's ever more difficult to stay in contact with my art school peers. I'm aware of the amazingly talented creative people living in my own town, I'm not making the time to really get to know them, and maybe that's part of the problem - I'm not surrounding myself with other creative souls and therefore uninspired myself. 

I think 4 steps is enough to start with for now. Hopefully, I will start making art and textiles again. 

Monday, 2 June 2014

Possible blog re-birth?

Like a phenoix raising from the ashes, I might be reviving the blog. I also need to focus this summer and building my new website that will require some tender loving care. I hope it will be a 'grass roots bottom up' kinda development as I haven't a notion of where to begin or how to get started. Watch this space.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Blog put on hold

Hello dear you might have guessed, I'm not quite up to speed on blogging. I hope to rest, review, and return to this blog in the near future.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, 5 November 2012

A Birthday Dedication

Happy Birthday Dad!

My Daddy celebrates 55 years on this earth. This day also happens to be the Autumn Equinox for the Druids.

Shadow wore his party hat for such an occasion.

Friday, 2 November 2012

I'm alive!

Even my bedside lacks a bedside manner.
Yes indeed, I have left my blog by the wayside, but you'll be happy to know I've got many blogpost drafts rolling.

But first my apologies for keeping my readers waiting. I life is so completely awesome and in all of its great awesomeness I've been quite busy juggling as much awesome as I can possibly manage. It's tough being this awesome.

Though the photo was only a test shot before running off to Longford to trace the Farrell ancestry, its only fitting as it really sums up the whirlwind that has been October. Look closely, and you'll notice elements that relate.

I'm settling into the new job and trying to pay my bills, keeping up with a Web Design course, cleaning out my house, a debunked attempt at taking my driving test, and my mom came over to visit. Somehow, I still managed to get to all my Unislim classes, and  after a weekend of sleeping and lounging, I'm getting into the Halloween spirt just in time before the trick-or-treaters arrive. 

R.I.P. Great x 3 Auntie Liz.
Though my blog is more about living in Kenmare, I wanted to share a bit if my recent midlands trip as Halloween is only a fitting time to start walking around in graveyards. St. Brigid's Church in Ardagh, Co. Longford is where I am convinced that I have found where my great great great auntie Elisabeth was buried. My great great great grandfather, Garrett Farrell, emigrated to Boston in 1833. My mom brought over records of multiple Farrell generations, and some records of the Burns family as well, but we will have to do more digging and prepare for Burns adventure next time mom visits. This trip was all about finding Farrells. It's difficult to make out the markings on the grave stones, but I ran my finger along the stone to spell out the date of birth of Elisabeth, and therefore I think this very well could be her gravestone. The amount of deterioration also indicates the grave is about 200 years old more or less. Maybe it is, maybe its not, but my romantic self I would like to think it really is her 6 feet under.

Ardagh Village, Co. Longford

When you get to Longford, one will notice that it's actually quite a boring place. While major kudos to owed to the Ardagh Heritage Centre and the village itself is charmingly well-kept, I can see why many of my ancestors left, along with the politics and turmoil of the early 1800's and what-not. But boring is not bad - I actually like that its not your typical tourist trade, and I enjoy the personal history behind it.

So that's it for now, hopefully November will be a quieter month for me to catch up on blog entries and get re-inspired by the changes in daylight and nature.

Tarmonbarry, Co. Roscommon along the River Shannon

Sunday, 23 September 2012

A Summer of Gardening

Summer has officially passed…or did it ever arrive? Now that September is nearly over, Ireland finally gets a bit of sunshine just before the long, cold, dark nights. Alas, I survive yet another boring, rainy summer with little artwork to show for it. My gardening skills, ironically, improved despite the awful weather.

 But first, a bit of nostalgia…

It might be a surprising to some that I actually come a family of gardeners: my dad, with the help of my brothers, turned their little 'hobby plot', into a hearty 3 plot system neighboring with the swimming pool. Before I moved from my Atlanta home, My family grew tomatoes, squash, watermelon, and okra. Dad also has a soft spot for growing pineapples. Mom is very house-proud with her hydrangea bushes and dancing frog figures much to my amusement. My grandmother is a hardcore gardener with a very big plot system, that includes beans, raspberries, herbs, a little greenhouse, and lots more. I have a fond childhood memories of picking raspberries and beans in her garden;  and back at home, my siblings and I used to spit watermelon seeds into what can only be described as a brick troth (originally designed for decorative flowers to grow in) covered with plain Georgia clay soil - much to our excitement, watermelons started to grow - even over-grow out of the brick troth. That was before demolition of the front door, and extension at the front of my parents' house which now holds a classic southern style front porch. I have to admit, I was never a fan of outdoor chores, especially in hot, muggy, Georgia weather. One of my clever catchphrases used to be 'I don't sweat' accompanied by a typical teenage look of disgust. As I resided to keeping my work in air-conditioned indoor spaces for most of my life, this of course meant chances of learning any gardening skills went a-rye. Now that I am older and wiser, I developed a particular interest in eco-friendliness and self-sustainability; it's time to get back outside and re-engage with the natural world - be it sweating or drenched in rain. 

Which brings us back to the present...

This summer, as many summers before, Kenmare Adult Education Centre quiets down in the summer months in preparation for the next academic year. With all the students out of school, Summer is a time when volunteers to come out to the garden and get their hands dirty. The volunteers include a few regular faces annually, and I was a complete newbie. I was welcomed by the volunteers who were happy to show me how to sow seeds and trim tomato plants. I did a lot of weeding and harvesting of broad-beans, mangetout, carrots, potatoes, and onions. Herbs such as fennel, basil, thyme, and rosemary grew extensively. I even got to pot up trimmings of strawberry plants which will take root in hopes to happily fruit away. Every Thursday, there was something new to do, a conversation to have, and the odd nibble of something new. I discovered lemon balm tea, and the advantage of having a polly-tunnel - the main benefit being you can keep working away even in lashing rain!

One of the bigger highlights the summer was the Kenmare Food Carnival, where myself and the other volunteers attended a presentation of celebrity chef, Darina Allen, who spoke about the importance of Slow Food education targeted at a younger age groups. In the developed world, there are about 3 to 4 generations who lost traditional methods in cooking and farming depending on where you live. I know that many people in the US, as well as in Ireland, do not grow their own food. Most of us get our food from the supermarket. Some people might go to the extreme of not cooking at all. I'm actually one of the lucky American kids who at least got to experience gardening, and a bit of cooking. I don't think I can cook very well, but my dad tells me I know more than I think, and I used to cook at a young age. I guess I have to take his word on it. I don't think enough children, Americans in particular, know where food really comes from or what its suppose to look like. This really bothers me, but it also makes me question how much do I really know about food and it's sources? I don't know how to eat in season, and I'm still learning a lot about our food system.

Coincidentally, many of the volunteers came from Bonane, the town-land where I now work, and its nice to know that I have already invested time in getting to know a small piece of that community, even before I got the job. Thomas, who is the main garden groundskeeper, has been very patient and helpful. KAEC's garden is a little bit like Kenmare's best kept secret when it comes to buying organic. As a volunteer taking interest in adjusting to a healthier lifestyle, being in the garden every Thursday gave me the opportunity to learn more about fresh veggies. There are other organic farmers around the place, but I found the garden at KAEC very convenient and re-assuring that what money I paid for produce contributed the up-keep of this centre that has been there for me in the last year. I tip my hat to you, KAEC. You have a lovely garden and other great facilities. I finally stating to feel like I'm falling into the groove if this community and I have you to thank for it.

Just to add another little snippet of history, before KAEC came about, it was the old vocational school that my husband attended during his adolescent/teen years. Even before that, my husband's grandfather, the late Tom Bambury, was the principal for many years at the school and was also a forward-thinking conservationist and avid gardener. It was also nice to see the late Tom's good friend, Nora, pop into the garden every once in a while to say hello and make small chat which all made for a great atmosphere.

If any of my followers would like to check out KAEC's garden, volunteers are usually out on Thursdays, from 11am-1pm. Thomas is around during the working week. The volunteers will be planning to quiet down for the winter before October, so check it out before we all go our separate ways. You might notice the 'Organic Vegetables For Sale' sign off the side of the road.

This little squash decided to try something new…growing outside the polly-tunnel.

New courses and registration are also under way at KAEC, and not just for gardening. So if anyone is interested in learning new skills, earning a qualification, and/or have some extra time on your hands for the academic year, check out KAEC's website. Many of the FETAC Courses start at the end of September, so if anyone is really interested. Give them a shout asap.

Roll on Autumn.