I am going to talk about Hats. Which may seem strange as I neither make hats or wear them. So what I am really talking about is my imaginary hats.
I have been the Queen of juggling hats, my Mother hat, traveller, textile designer, teacher, wife,friend, artist, writer, illustrator and many more. So many hats I don’t even realise I’m wearing them. Those good hats and bad hats the caring ones and the funny ones… Ive lost count and they don’t matter anymore.
These days I mostly keep the same hat on. Its a wonderful whimsical hat that I’m finally accepting fits me. My hat isn’t perfect. Its a little wonky and rough around the edges. Its a travellers hat that holds many tales. Its a hat I’ve had to grow into. One that I’ve resisted wearing. Believing it to be a little too frivolous. Feeling like an imposter, waiting for the tap on the shoulder, that says get a real job. You are having far too much fun. How dare you be the ring master in your own life!!!! My partner Glenn says I have recreated myself since I have moved to Rotorua but I’d go a step further and say that I have actually come back to me, reconnected, found myself, what ever cliche mid life title you want to call it ( apart from a crisis!!! As its anything but!!!)
Today I decided to put this hat on and be brave. Write to you unedited and raw. So somethings may not make sense and my grammar may be erratic. Much as I love my words being tidied up by my editor, I feel this blog needs to be a place where I can share my mind wanderings. I often read from my journals to Glenn and he listens quietly. Telling me ‘to write, just share your words with the world and don’t worry about it …..’’
My favourite character that I have created is the Hat man. He is mysterious and wears an extraordinary large hat. I believe he keeps our dreams in that old battered hat. He’s always been the voice of reason. When other characters lose their way, he gently guides them back. He’s funny, states the obvious and uses much less words than me.
Six years ago I did an illustration course with Sandra Morris and Nina Rycroft. As part of the character development they taught us how to make 3d models out of poly clay. Mine went a step further and became more puppet/doll like. I cant describe the thrill I got as my Hat man came to life in my hands. I can now draw him from every angle. Funny enough his hat has broken many times. I like it even more with the cracks and as Leonard Cohen said in his song “Anthem”
“Forget your perfect offering. There’s a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”
I am drawn to the odd bods, misfits, rebels and people on the edge. Light the fire and tell me your stories. So they become mine and mine become yours. These creative threads that join us, that allow collaboration and growth which delights me.
Working on the website with Glenn and Holly made my dream into a reality. Then Glenn went one step further and took my drawings into animation.With out realising I drew a hat girl , something between Alice in wonderland, the Hat man and me. Aiko my daughter added the sound track “Down the Rabbit hole” and the collaboration was completed.
Last night I gave a talk on my art practice and my intentions for my six week Open studio residency at Rotorua’s Art Village. There are six artists from all over NZ and overseas. Its a diverse group of females and I am excited about where this project will go. Watch this space!!! As I dip my toe into the community again.
‘Atticus Finch’ restaurant on Eat street was the best place Glenn could have picked….He’s good like that, “ Never a dull moment, and expect the unexpected” is often what I say as he surprises me yet again.I studied “To kill a Mocking bird” at school and the story flooded back. On the wall was painted this quote,
“Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit’ em, but remember its a sin to kill a mocking bird”
Harper Lee goes on to say
“Mocking birds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy”
To me this means to honour that true thing that is you. Your inner voice, your gift, your integrity because just like the Mocking bird it only wants to sing. Doing the “right thing’’ might not always be the popular choice.Atticus Finch knew he had to stand up for what he believed in against all the odds. To dull down our light is to live a half life.
So when the Mocking bird calls me now, I know which hat I want to wear. I don’t always like to stand out and draw attention to myself, especially when trying something new that I may well fail at. Then I think so what. I’d rather live with a few ‘oops” than what ifs.
I often feel like Bridget Jones stumbling blindly through the world with my “Big Girl Undies” on… (That’s another story coming soon .. I promise!)
I am still juggling hats and probably always will do but mostly I am more confident in my Wonky hat just being me.
I will leave you with a quote from my favourite writer. Which is a good reminder as we end the year.
‘I hope that this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes then you are making new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing the world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.
So that’s my wish for you,and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect. Whatever it is: art, or love, or work, or family, or life. Whatever it is you are doing, do it. Make mistakes, next year and forever” – Neil Gaiman