A bit at a time

papier-mache bowls

My goal for August was to focus more on creativity and, despite many challenges, I spent enough time on my sketchbook and papier-mâché to feel that I succeeded in getting my creative juices flowing again. They certainly aren’t flowing smoothly or sustainably yet, but a start has been made.

I’m avoiding any specific goals as I find I enjoy myself more without the constraints of a plan. What works best for me is having my materials spread out on the kitchen table so that I can do a bit now and then as I go about my normal daily chores. Collage lends itself to this ad hoc way of working very well. I do a lot of moving stuff around and pondering while waiting for food to cook or the kettle to boil.

My papier-mâché materials take up very little space on the kitchen worktop, so I can paste on a few layers with minimal effort. It’s quite a meditative activity that I enjoy doing standing up after a meal while my food settles in my stomach. I haven’t yet got the knack of making a bowl that doesn’t warp as it dries, but the third is better than the first.

Now that I’ve built up a tiny momentum, I’ll carry on with my sketchbook and bowl-making in September. Not with any specific goals except perhaps to create a collage that can be used as an image for this year’s Christmas cards. I haven’t made my own Christmas cards for a long time and it would be nice to do so again.

Until today my plan for this month had been to get going with my memoir-writing again, but I realised this morning that my goal is actually going to be to spend as much time as possible out of doors. And not just in my garden – I’ve been very housebound lately thanks to the very hot weather and consequent poor health, so I want to make the most of the autumn.

I don’t suppose I shall go very far, but it will be good to see some different sights before it gets too cold to linger outside and each small outing will help build up my stamina. I do have more energy than a year ago, but my muscles and confidence are still very weak.

The process of creating strong papier-mâché bowls from pieces of floppy paper and glue is helping me to accept that rebuilding my strength has to be done the same way – a bit at a time. Now I need to find a way of making it easy to do a bit of exercise when I have the energy for it. I’ve got far too used to a minimal-exertion way of life!

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