I made this hat at the beginning of the pandemic when all the distraction stuff about toilet rolls and panic buying took over social media. The right opportunity never arose to post it and to be honest I thought it was rather silly.
Also, it never had a title until just recently. But today, it said ‘nows the time’, so here we go. Lost at Sea sums up the gullibility of the human mind, of how easy it is to be led astray and how easy it is to . forget.
Out of all 50 hats this is the only one I was asked to make and was given a title for. This led to a longer incubation period. It seemed fitting that this one should mark a completion of my journey through the pandemic.
It was a tricky one to engineer, I knew what I wanted but putting it together proved to be a marathon of a job. I also wanted it to be living so I had to wait for the mustard seed to grow.
It is a hat full of symbols.
The first part of the hat that came into being and is the basis of the whole idea was the hands of Buzz Lightyear (of ‘to infinity and beyond’)…breaking the chains that bind humanity.
Throughout the whole of hat making the roses are the only thing I have purchased new, I wanted something living and symbolically alive.
The whole idea is about cosmic consciousness and reaching out to the spiritual world, about us transforming.
We are being watched over by higher light beings represented by the nine angels attached to the brim of the hat. Love will pave the way for our freedom to shine forth.
Captain Nut’s (hat 38) mum was worried about the hat maker.
“Hmmmm” she said, gently stroking her pet Nutkins. ‘She is having trouble with hat 50, is she? Difficult hat that. I believe it’s called Freedom for humanity, isn’t it? How can you make that into a hat?
“Poor woman she has been on the go for days now . How many days is it? What did you say? Nearly 60 with the face masks. Goodness. No wonder she is having a hard time with this one. When she will stop, poor love?
“I think she needs a sweet little pet like Nutkins, that would sort her out.”
Single use plastic disturbs me. Throwing it away doesn’t feel right, even though its supposedly recycled.
I have periods where I obsessively keep my plastic food containers, saving them for a time when I can use them creatively, and thus ease my guilt. I wish we didn’t have to use it and had other options.
Consequently, I have a large amount of single-use plastic that once held the food I purchased. Plastic needs to be phased out and replaced with something kinder. I wonder if I will see the end of plastic in my lifetime?
But back on a lighter note, Hat 48 was a fun hat to make. I have always made play costumes for my kids and grandkids and I got quite into this space-character. A mixing of chocolate box jedhi warriour and Mork and Mindy.
Because Mr. Mischief dropped in (two hats back) and provoked me, I started to see that rascal Dread hanging around on street corners.
Dr. Dread has quite openly, in full sight, been up to his tricks wheeling and dealing but it was easier to turn a blind eye to his nefarious ways.
Captain Nut, from the World Nut Rescue, (Hat 38) reminded me of the quantum factor that surrounds our every thought and how the universe is evolving and we are too.
Pineal Activation (hat 30) convinced me that we can create our own reality and that the possibility of change was in our hands.
Enlightened (hat 36) said it was all Maya anyway and that nothing really existed. Hope for the future (hat 4) was excited about there being more than three dimensions to reality and told me that worrying was a waste of time.
Out of all the hats I have made I think this one is really brilliant. I love everything about it. It was made it over three weeks ago and has been waiting for the right time to be displayed.
Some hats fall into place just like that. This was one of them. In the midst of world-lack, the 20-year-old rubber gloves were being thrown out and it felt like sacrilege. I grabbed them out the bin and at the same time remembered the old Chinese coolie hat hanging in the winter garden. In an instant I saw the hat’s design and accompanying costume and the name fell into my head.
A Soft Touch. It was like a light bulb lit up. All the different nuances that went with the name, everything fitted perfectly, right down to the little coronavirus at the very top which you can’t see.
This hat draws your attention to the amount of birds killed on the main route from Dover to distribution centers all over the UK.
On this road there is a huge amount of heavy-duty traffic delivering and collecting consumer goods. These lorries kill a lot of birds. They create havoc with their tall sides and high speed.
Wasn’t it King Lear who once said ,
‘Gold is worse poison to a man’s soul, doing more murders in this loathsome world, than any mortal drug’.
All the feathers and skins you see here I have collected from the birds killed on this motorway. Often at great risk.
I honor the birds by giving them new life, their lives are respected, and their beauty is restored. It is a true art of transformation.
During this period Bird Woman came into being and rose to new heights, she is still part of me. ‘Honoring the birds’ became an end of year art school presentation, where amongst other things I used the feathers to make smudge fans.
When the TV guys came to interview me they asked if I could make a hat. I quickly grabbed some stuff together and began to create one, not really knowing what I was doing.
My theme was pine cones as I had a lot of them. It was after they left that the real work began. The idea began to flow and it all fell into place.
As I use the natural materials I remember where I found them and this gives me a lot of sweet memories. The cones here are from France and Norway and the funny little nuts around the brim are from Hungary.
Years of saving the little sauce fishes one used to get with sushi has finally paid off, their day has come.
If I was not so busy with the garden, I would have laboriously filled all the fishes with different colors, but necklace and earrings were enough. I mean I don’t want too get too obsessed with this hat malarkey. It could be dangerous.
These days when our personal freedom is being discussed there is much talk concerning surveillance. What does it mean ‘surveillance’?
My limited understanding of its use is through the crime series I watch and how the cctv cameras are always helpful in catching criminals. Looking into it I discovered this story which made me rather uneasy about how it can be used.
The incident takes place in china where surveillance is in total use. Every time we go through passport control, we undergo facial recognition, something incidentally that was not in place before 9/11. Some tech boys were working there.
One lad does not wait at the crossing, but jay walks across the road. Immediately he receives a telephone message that he has broken the law and receives a fine which is then automatically taken from his bank account.
Just like that.
It’s something very simple but personally I find very scary. Who knows where it can lead?
‘I’ve got a present for you’, he said excitedly, handing me a large wodge of grubby pink plastic used for wrapping hay bales in. ‘I found it by the side of the road, I am sure you can make something with it.’
We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey, teachers, leave them kids alone
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall
Undercover agent Dizzy Lizzy in disguise. Gardener’s Nightmare is a code name for an international operation. Don’t be deceived by those innocent looking flower pots…or those flowers..nothing is as it appears.
Finally, Esa Evans, that slug Hal gave me for Christmas some years ago has found a use!
After 24 days of the Hat Attack and all the associated symptoms..an over-inflated ego, exhibitionist syndrome, exposing myself to others, the worry of how long the attack would last, I got me a bit of needle therapy.
By the time I was 14 I had read every Agatha Christie book available. There was something about being a detective that grabbed me, following threads, always looking at double bluffs and observing the least suspected. I used to love trail finding in the brownies and girl guides, along with anything that had clues and signs. Probably having to be on guard constantly at home with a psychopathic stepmother set me off at an early age looking for signs and checking out the radar.
Recently a post came up showing a photo of the royals, William and Kate showing their first baby just after the birth, Kate, poor thing had been dressed by her wardrobe manager in an exact replica of the dress worn by Mia Farrow in the film Rosemary’s Baby. It got me thinking about Ira Levin author of the book. I was a keen fan of Levin and read all his books in my late teens which included The Boys from Brazil, The Stepford wives and best of all This Perfect Day. They were all thrilling reads, but it was This perfect Day that really stayed in my mind.
This Perfect Day is a science fiction novel, about a technocratic dystopia. It’s full of twists and turns, plots and counterplots, and funnily enough is quite current with our present story today, relating to all the different stories we are hearing about what is going on in the world of corona.
Detective Daniels googled Levin just to see what his background was, and saw that he served in the Army signal corps from 1953 to 1955. So I checked out the Army signal corps and discovered ….
The United States Army Signal Corps (USASC) is a division of the Department of the Army that creates and manages communications and information systems for the command and control of combined arms forces. Over its history, it had the initial responsibility for portfolios and new technologies that were eventually transferred to other U.S. government entities. Such responsibilities included military intelligence, weather forecasting, and aviation.
It seems that Ira Levin had the same sort of job as Chelsea Manning and I found that interesting.
I’m documenting my response to Covid-19 in a series of hats for a pandemic. From my safe and comfortable perspective in a remote house in Norway, I see fear and turbulence being expressed by all kinds of people on the internets. I’m channelling what I see now and what I’ve struggled to make sense of in the past, with moments of crazy, joy, sunlight and spring time. Our heads are all over the place, so I made hats for that.
Self care in a lockdown
If you are in a physical position to watch the sunrise, I urge you to try and make the effort to do it. Being there as the sun first shows its glorious rays is quite magic.
It is food for the soul. Having a cup of hot water, strange as that might sound is also very comforting. It’s a small free action to start our day, one that we can do for ourselves.
I sent it to my grandson who is 14 (it was his train from long ago) and he said ‘I dont remember the train but it’s a scary video’.
I replied ‘ We are living in scary times’.
The idea of making it came in a flash, I had all the bits required, but getting that track to remain flat was quite an ordeal and no matter how hard I tried I could not take the video myself. Brain, train, drain, sane, were words that came up during its creation.
The hat incidentally was bought from China over 20 years ago.
Earlier today I posted a nice little hat called The Garden Party. I was avoiding my feelings. I actually have a deep sense of Numbness in me today. So here we have hat 10b, which spontaneously presented itself.
As I paint, I ponder. My mind runs over all the books I have read, the films I have seen, the podcasts I have listened to the groups I have been involved with, the things I have been told the information I have been fed. I look at our current situation with non-attachment and see countless possibilities of what this is all about. Countless unknowns, so many books so many films, it’s quite phenomenal how the story rolls out. There are so many stories to tell, so many possible outcomes. Nothing is fixed.
To be sitting here in 2020 in self isolation in the midst of this so called highly contagious pandemic is something I have only ever engaged in fantasy with. Now its in real time. Its almost unbelievable. Not only did it happen just like that, but it happened everywhere. Who would have thought? Its always been a possibility but who would have thought our nice safe little worlds would be rocked so much.
I have been going on for years and years about our need to wake up, and have had many a conversation with ‘thinking out of the box’ friends about how waking up might occur globally. We often came to the conclusion that the only way for mass awakening would be for some such event like this to take place. But I didn’t honestly expect it would happen in my lifetime, although there was always the possibility that something would.
I see from social media that there is a huge amount of different information being posted by different groups and individuals. Blame is being put on different people and places and what might seem to many as crazy ideas, are being spread forth at a rate of knots, all having a dot that joins them up somewhere if one takes the time and effort to look.
Personally, I think blaming at this time, (and in these later days snitching on your neighbor) is counterproductive to the situation we are facing and only increases division concerning our own beliefs.We are all being pushed into fear zones to lesser or greater degrees, that might be hardly noticeable or totally overwhelming. This is happening on a daily basis for all of us. Our comfort zones are disintegrating rapidly.
Things I know about comfort zones
Some years ago, I remember coming into the front room where a friend and my partner were talking and laughing together, and I was literally knocked back by the force I felt. I knew that something just wasn’t right. I knew it right deep within, and although I was convinced by them otherwise, this later proved to be correct. My gut feeling was right.
Today (during the first week of March) as I came into the kitchen having come from my studio where I had been happily painting, far away from current affairs and worries, I was met by the newsreader on the radio whose wavelengths hit me with an unseen force.
I went from blissfully happy to full of fear in seconds. The newscaster’s fear-filled voice had an immediate effect which was followed by his doom-filled words. I must say I was shocked at my response in that instant.
What is all this news doing to me I wondered afterward? Have I become addicted in a way? Is it affecting my way of thinking? That was three weeks ago. Today I cannot listen to the continuous blah blah of information. I have to turn it off. It’s really getting to me.
If we are in this situation for another four weeks, I dread to think what the outcome might be. I see it is this continual bombardment of ‘news’ that is damaging my health, not the bloody virus.
From the moment I was out on my sun rise balcony at 6.45 it felt different. Instead of just bird song there was noise from the town waking up and lots of traffic, lots of activity.
Everyone and his dog was heading to the local dump…and all the roads were full of cars. Supermarket car parks looked like they did before the crisis. It all looked very normal. What had changed?
Our restrictions on social distancing have been different from other places, what with the population being smaller and easier to control. We have to stay two meters apart. Norwegians like a bit of space in general.
I guess everyone is desperate to get rid of stuff they have been clearing out these past weeks. We went in to lockdown very early. It looked today as if everyone had the same thought. The amount of cars on the road was as in a normal day. Very strange.
I am using creativity and humour to process my inner life. I purchased this very good mask, early in Februrary amidst the laughter of my friends and family.
I saw what was coming.
Thankfully I have not yet used it as I haven’t been ouf the house for over three weeks. I borrowed the hat from Skelly, our live-in skeleton that resides in the front room, (the man I live with studied medicine) so in a sense both the mask and the hat have a connection.
At school, we spent quite some time studying George Orwell’s 1984. He was a popular talking point in that era of the early 60’s. We had many debates and discussion about him and his work. I didn’t really fully understand it then, but of course such ideas became clearer over time.
These days it’s quite difficult to engage anyone in a decent conversation about what he wrote, and if one does bring it up one gets called all sorts of names.
My Mother and Child piece continues to be a work in progress. Even though I painted it a year ago I’m finding it to be a very therapeutic to work on. It’s relevant to my life now and how I’m working through feelings and experiences.
The child is wearing a cloak of feathers. Her mother is entwined in a cloak of tree branches – though sometimes I wonder if she isn’t a tree herself. Whatever… she is rooted. Grounded. Certain. There is no messing with this strong female presence.
I began this mother and child painting during an online course called Mother Earth and I can’t let it go.
It’s poignant that I have been reflecting on my experience of being an abandoned child, how we (I!) crave safety and the intense love a mother has for her child. The therapeutic meanings behind the image are relevant and personal to me.
Synchronicity plays games with me, I’ve also been briefly dipped into the rich, lush colours and secret gardens of Marrakech, with my family. It’s drawn me into adding and building on this image with golds, reds and turquoise.
I’ll post an update on this image as the work progresses.
2019 was a year that shook me…. I’m looking forward to 2020 and allowing the disparate parts of me to continue falling into place.Homage to Bird Woman is self portrait. It’s a reflection of who I am and what has led me to this place, feeding the birds and working through the layers of feeling and experience within.
Like me, Bird Woman is a work of many layers and many different faces. She has a past too; I work with old canvases, so just like me, she did not spring into life on a blank sheet of paper.
An interesting aspect of working with recycled materials is that I’m compelled to accept the idiosyncrasies, faults and flaws of the base canvas. This frees me to bring an abandoned approach to working on the first layer. Accepting what has gone before and stepping forward with new layers is an exciting part of the process.
Through every step of this work, I’ve used flow art techniques to achieve results that surprise me. I’ve scrubbed out, painted over and removed layers in order to make space of spontaneous interventions to revitalise and renew the work.
The nature of flow moves me into a trance-like state where I allow thoughts to permeate and percolate on whether there are lessons in this process of acceptance and moving on for the way we live our lives. Life is certainly complicate and multi-layered as far as I’m concerned.
There are cutting-out techniques in Homage to Bird Woman, too. Cutting and snipping is a therapeutic aspect of my art. The gay abandonment of getting stuck into cutting and sticking can feel like a serious work out for my soul. Sticking and placing pieces generates a very good feeling for me. This is a flow art movement that creates a strong head/heart connection.
Another aspect of flow art and using a number of different materials is that I’ve allowing synchronicity to shape the direction of my Bird Woman. Not working to a fixed plan reflects the symbolic message that she carries.
Life, and this Homage, is all about layers, making mistakes and ultimately building towards a satisfying ending. I am always working with the flow process… my paintings are internal processes in themselves.