I was ashamed…

I was ashamed…

Hi there!
Nice to see you – to see you nice!
This is the day we talk about not so much how we craft, 
but why we craft – about deep-seated matters in our lives.
Have been waiting to chat to you today about something 
which I experienced on Monday.
Dave and I went out for the day, to Herstmonceux Castle. 
Lovely place!

It was a Medieval Festival, 
and what fun to see the kids all dressed up.

And the grown-ups.

Much hilarity and mud. 
Reminded me of Glastonbury!!

There was a lovely French lady called Jodie,
 who was teaching Calligraphy;
a skill which I have always wanted to master, 
but which has always eluded me.

So I sat myself down to give it a go, as they say!

It isn’t as easy as it looks!
My guess is hours of practice, like parchment art.

BARBARA no problem – all the same letters!
The name Dave was a stickler, because there was no V !

Jodie asked me if I was an artist, 
because I had a very confident hand.
Confident maybe, 
but very detached from the part of my brain which drives the Calligraphy train!

She was distracted by a paying customer, 
so I carried on alone, copying the UNCIAL letters.
And here’s the moment I want to talk to you about today.
It’s pathetic, but it speaks volumes. 
My M went really wrong, so I tried to correct it, 
and promptly made an even bigger mess.
Definitely not an M. 
She had praised me and patted me on the back,
and said “Perfect” several times; and here I was, 
left to my own devices for a split second –
and what a hash up!!
I could see Jodie coming towards me to check on me, 
and I was filled with what can only be described as panic.
I quickly covered the dodgy M up with my hand, 
so she wouldn’t see it.
And then it hit me.
I was ashamed.
 W H A T ????
It was the knee-jerk reaction, 
the wanting to hide my less than perfect letter from the teacher, 
the judge.
And I laughed out loud.
57 years old, sitting in a tent in a field in 2016,
surrounded by people dressed up as medieval jesters,
and I am taking myself that seriously !!!!
But the emotion that I felt
 – the wave of shame, of embarrassment –
it really hit me,
 and instantly made me think of the Crowborough workshops.
There were several occasions during the weeks we spent there,
where people hid their work from me,
wouldn’t show it to others,
threw it away and asked to start again.
I would like to think that I handled those moments well,
allayed their feelings of insecurity and failure,
and helped them back onto the arty fun train with the others.
But today I just had to share with you 
my personal calligraphy moment 
in the craft tent.
In a split second, I went from shame to empathy. 
From cringing at my less than perfect M, to recalling those good people in Crowborough who sat in the very same seat. 
Pathetic, right? Nope. Very real.
And I would wager that most people reading this blog 
will know exactly what I am talking about.
In fact, fear of getting something wrong prevents the vast majority of people from even trying anything new in the first place.
There’s a little monkey on my shoulder, 
always telling me I’m rubbish.
So when I get something wrong, he loves it!
Does a little dance on my head and sings “Told Ya so!!!!”
right in my ear.
But this is no good!
I am not about to abandon the Art of Calligraphy 
just because I did a shitty M !!!
I may be tomorrow’s new M for Master of Calligraphy –
and I will never know, because I faltered at the M.
You’ll be pleased to hear I bought the Starter Kit!!
I don’t have to ask whether you understand me.
I KNOW you do.
Love & peace of Mind,

112 thoughts on “I was ashamed…

  1. Hi Barbara

    I enjoyed reading this blog and can relate to it also! I was taught O Level calligraphy (as a mature student) and the course was for one year. I know you will master this beautiful form of script

    June x

  2. What a wonderful place that looked! So Glad you took the day off! Good for the soul!
    I know precisely what you mean about that monkey sitting on your shoulder! I have one too! Mine stems from school where I was told I was rubbish at art so didn't take it up! It took a long time before I did anything. Then I went to a craft show in Bolton and saw you. And the rest is history! I still doubt most of my art work but I obviously do something right!
    Everyone needs encouragement to get better and it is just about practice. The more you do the better you get!
    Love and hugs xxxxx

    1. Me as well. I was told I was rubbish so would not try anything until I discovered Clarity. I admit not much good at drawing but happy to try other techniques and loving it. X x

    2. Hi Jane, I sure understand where you are comming from. there have been times when I have produced a piece of artwork for a card and there was a speck at the end of text which I did not like so tore it up and started again until it was how I wanted with no mistakes.
      The person who would have received it would never have noticed.
      Lynn xx

  3. Oh yes, I can definitely fit into the ranks of starting assimilated of just going with the flow. I recently had my own moment of clarity when I finally went for a watercolour painting class (with the talented Matthew Palmer). I was a quivering wreck,terrified that I would fail and be laughed out of the room. From the moment I met Matthew and he sorted out all the things I needed, and I realised the ladies sitting around me were friendly generous crafters who made me very welcome, I had a ball. I ended up signing in for the next two classes. Doing a class at the local craft shop last week, I was so ashamed of my moon (having forgotten my moon masks) I hid what I had done and started again. Listening to you at the Retreat did make me think again about going with the flow but I still need to work on that way of thinking. I am not sure I have the patience to master that beautiful calligraphy. That is for another day. xxx Maggie

  4. Been there, got that t-shirt. Still do sometimes, but I say to myself, have another go, did you have fun trying and if the answer is yes I will keep going. I did study art and design but always felt inadequate as my whole family were artists in some form or another, it wasn't until I had my children that I got pleasure out of teaching them and just simply having fun with it all. Yes I do still make mistakes, want to throw it in the bin, but instead of doing that I will put it aside for a bit and go back to see if I can rescue or even scavenge a part of it and use it for something else……might still want to hide my parchment work from Linda, Josie, Tina etc…..58 and still nervous!!
    Very comforting to know you have such empathy for us. Hugs to you and Dave and glad you had a good day out. Xxx

    1. We were talking about this the other day at parchment class and I got thoroughly told off by Pat White for binning work. We now have to keep all "mistakes" in a file to take to her to learn how to use them in a different way. Should be interesting. xxx Maggie

  5. The beautiful art of calligraphy, I have always admired it after being taught at school many years ago, in fact I still appreciate a page of beautiful handwriting and I worry that it is not important in today's students. Carry on practising Barb, it's another relaxing art form xxx

  6. What an interesting blog Barb. I can definitely understand as in my younger days, I signed up for an adult education course in Calligraphy and my artist Mum said I would never master it – she said I would find it too stressful. Well, even though the classroom was freezing cold (we worked with our coats on!), I was determined to prove her wrong! I finished the course able to produce some reasonable work and can still do it a little! Note to self: get the pens out and have another go as I have a charity cheque to write (one of those huge presentation ones) for a club I belong to!

  7. Aww! You were at Hersty and I wasn't! The rest of my reenactment group were though…. That would have been fun, to see you at one of my events rather than the other way round….!!!

    Funny what you've said about covering up your mistake – we all do it, don't we? Bless you…. Looking forwards to what creations you turn out as I bet you'll do something interesting with it!

  8. I am glad you are carrying on! I am not confident at all but don't mind showing my mistakes being crafting or whatever. It's how we learn. When I was younger, I would have been more self conscious of mistakes – but now I really don't care who sees them! I don't strive to be perfect, just to have fun and do the best I can. Have a fab day! xxx

  9. I think we can all empathise with that feeling, of being inadequate, no good. But who is born being able to do everything perfectly? No one!! We all have to learn and practice, we all have those " first times", when we give something a go, and it's pretty rubbish, haha. Instead of feeling ashamed, we should laugh, and have another go. Is the world going to stop turning cos you can't get something right the very first time you try?
    I love your blog Barbara x

  10. Calligraphy is so lovely and I bet you will become expert at it. You are determined. I can understand you hiding work, I have been the same but it is only a piece of paper or card and practice makes perfect. I have just framed my canvas from last year's retreat and this one.I am quite proud of what I achieved with a lot of guidance from you. Not once did you tell me I was rubbish (like my art teacher) . Thank-you. X x

  11. Hi Barbara – yes I am another one who can relate to this feeling. In the past it has stopped me from trying some new things. I am very lucky to have Neill tell me how talented I am – before meeting him I never had that. He always encourages me to try new things and will scold me if I stop trying. I also want to try calligraphy one day! Thanks for sharing your feelings with us Barbara – that will help so many of us, hugs Gilly x

  12. Hi to all of my lovely blog friends – sorry that I didn't visit the blog last night. I just felt totally shattered and was tucked up in bed before Barbara posted. I have just read the comments and thank you so much for thinking of me! I am doing this on my phone at the hospital in case I can't do it later.
    So sorry they want more of your blood Sheila, take care and keep resting. Much love and hugs to you all, Gilly xxx

    1. Afternoon gilly hope Neil is doing ok after his radiotherapy and you rest up when you can you will need your strength to see all these weeks through thinking of you both hugs xxx

    2. Hi Gilly,
      Hope it's gone well for Neil today and that your knitting is coming along. Hope as well that you're not too tired. Love and hugs to you both, Alison xx

  13. Happy you and Dave had a day away from Clarity Towers. I go into instant panic if things go wrong, weirdly more so when crafting! Hot surges appear from nowhere. Then I have to walk away, think it's only a piece of card, canvas cover it in "cheesecake" and a saying that you say which is apt for gelli printing, brushos and alcohol inks, "go with the flow " and "own your artwork" then all is calm ……….til the next time! Xx

  14. We used to do calligraphy at school in the fifties I loved it have done a bit in my wedding album but that was 50 years ago would love to have another go I bet if you practice Barbara you would get the hang of it but I know how you feel when you get things wrong I would be just the same

  15. We used to do calligraphy at school in the fifties I loved it have done a bit in my wedding album but that was 50 years ago would love to have another go I bet if you practice Barbara you would get the hang of it but I know how you feel when you get things wrong I would be just the same

  16. That's my life totally Barbara, need I say any more! But for me not little monkeys sitting on my shoulder, real people! Thank you for being so honest. Did you show her your 'rubbish' m, and if so what did she say, how did she respond? Looks like an M to me, by the way!

    I too have ink and calligraphy pen with nibs to try to learn, learn it my way, what's pleasing to me anyway. Maybe I need to look it out and have a go. I have a mapping pen and ink for drawing too, which I've never tried either. Always just stuck with pencil and fine liners when I was brave enough to have a go. The thing that was putting me off, other than struggling to craft, and not succeeding, was spilling ink everywhere. But Emma's idea of a wee palette and only drops of ink in it for parchment craft is brilliant. I bought an extra wee set of half pan watercolours, took the paints out as spares (if I ever use the originals) so now I have a lidded wee palette for tiny drops of ink that I can use on my lap tray. So no excuse now, well maybe…

    Hope you have a good day, love Brenda xx

    1. Know what you mean Brenda, I have some cross stitch sewing kits to start……… I keep getting them out having a look, thinking right must get them started, then I get waylaid with other things. So I have decided they will be my back to work project that I can do in the evenings. My friend who gave them to me will be pleased to know I have a plan to get them done! 😀😀. Xx

    2. Hello Brenda sounds like you have a plan to get those calligraphy pens out again. Talking of mapping pens I've got my dads pen somewhere, I must look it out and give it a go. I've put it somewhere safe! Sending hugs to you and Daisy xxx

  17. Oh so true. My handwriting is awful and I would love to try calligraphy to see if it slows me down so that I don't rush and scrawl as I'm apt to do. I have the book I have the pen but I've lacked the courage to give it a go. Maybe I'll try now 👌

  18. Know that feeling well sometimes second attempt is best we are erea worst enermy when comes to judge our work well know I am not that often feel happy about it xxx

  19. I think we all want to do things to the best of our ability and when those things don't match up or don't work out as well as we think they should we hear that voice of negativity, which is a shame because it can take the fun and enjoyment out of being creative. I try to tell myself never mind it will be better next time. Glad you had a lovely time and are going to give calligraphy another go Barbara. When we see you do freehand stuff with a pen you are great so this is sonething you will definitely master. x

  20. I have one of those monkey on the shoulder things, and another inside my head too I think. One day maybe he'll bugger off but until then, I find calling him lots of rude names helps…. sometimes. Other times – he wins. Sigh………

  21. I know that feeling, as I'm sure everyone does. I often hide things I've made or start them again. Very rarely I make something I'm completely happy with, I always show mum my crafty makes and if she asks "Are you happy with it?" My normal reply is well this went wrong, that didn't go right etc. When I say yes her normal reply is "Blimey!". Xx

  22. Afternoon bloggy friends, hopefully my posts will post! Using bleach this afternoon YAY!……..to clean the bathroom BOO!😖 hoping to get in the craft room later if the boiler man comes for its annual service – morning appointment and I'm still here waiting! Xx

    1. Afternoon Donna hope you get to craft our boiler is ready for its service my gas fitter message to say he will pop when he can so know it will get done hope your boiler man comes soon hugs for you and pheobe xxx

    2. Hi Donna,
      Hope by now boiler man has been. It really annoys me when they don't turn up on time, or even worse, when they don't give a time and you wait in all day! Love and hugs Alison xx

    3. Boiler man came at 5pm! funny morning appointment. Got the bathroom clean while waiting. The toilet thing didn't work this time, usually does or putting the kettle on is also a good one. XX

    4. Chris you made me laugh. I had the keys at work today, the keys for the high value stuff in the warehouse. I work for Sainsburys's, so when a customer wants say a phone or a computer game I'll get a phone call to go and get it. I needed to go to the loo today and I just had that feeling the phone was going to ring when my knickers were around my ankles! Thankfully, it didn't.

    5. Oh that's given me a laugh, yes it's typical isn't it, you can guarantee the moment you pop to the loo the phone all or person you've been waiting for comes! Donna what a shame you only managed bleach on the loo, try again tomorrow but with craft this time. How's Phoebe doing? Is she behaving. Sending hugs xxx

  23. Having a mum who was very arty (always bemoaning how her parents wouldn't let her go to art college as she had to earn her keep) and who was always trying different crafts but never included us kids. To school where my left-handed slightly dyslexic brain struggled to cope processing right-handed instructions. My still life never 'sat' on a table and shadows always looked wrong etc and I was made to feel stupid I dropped art in my options year and got on with life. Academically I 'found' myself in 2001 aged 37 and in the space of 7 years did a media degree an access course and a midwifery degree qualifying as a midwife in 2009. Due to health problems I was home last year and not sleeping well and flicking through shopping channels when I came across Barbara demoing the Groovi system and on another channel someone using a die cutting machine. It was a life changing moment and the next morning I asked my wife if I could have both for Xmas that year. Some of my first attempts were pitiful but I didn't care for the first time in my life I really didn't care. It has given me an outlet to a creative side that I think was always there and also an activity I can share with my 11 year old step daughter. The dies rarely get used and within a month or so of Xmas I had discovered Clarity stamps which mean it doesn't matter that I don't draw! I joined the diamond club and whenever I get chance I have my craft goodies out and when my mind is full of rubbish things ( ill health ongoing one surgery over and one more to go, my poor dog dying of cancer in May, money etc etc ) I go and create something,anything. Sometime a 10 min stamp with watercolour pens to create a card topper or a quick Groovi half hour is all I need to put the world to rights. So yes I understand about those feelings of shame but now I understand just doing it and be damned is far more liberating. Sorry about the long ramble Barbara but you blog today really hit a chord, I'm positive you'll have that M cracked before long, you don't strike me as a quitter!! And you'll probably have it sorted long before I get my head round hi-lighting and shadows!!! Thank you Barbara for opening my world. Pamela X

    1. Well done Pamela, crafting is a lovely way to relax and clear the mind. I think we are all learning all the time, even the experienced crafters say that. Happy crafting x

  24. Definitely understand! Done that so many times and still do. I have a theory as to why, but that would take too long for here. I will just have to learn the art of getting over myself!
    I did a couple of terms in calligraphy at Adult Ed to learn some basics so that I could make 'beautiful writing' on my projects. It is a very disciplined art, and so much more complicated than it looks. Pen angles, nib styles, ink types, spacing of letters, different alphabets…..the list goes on. I did enjoy it and still have the equipment and all my notes, but as you say hours of practice required. I think your first attempt looks great – you should've seen mine!
    Tonbridge Sue

  25. Wow Barbara you will learn your caligraphy as your a perfectionist in your art work .
    Since finding clarity you have given me so many things I would never thought I would ever have tried and entering clarity challenges especially the calendar challenges this year you have changed my life in my crafting so thank you As it doesn't matter how poorly I feel I can turn to my craft it might be only a little but it's keeps me going each day xxx

    1. Afternoon dear family of blog friends thinking of you all sending heartfelt hugs to everyone who needs them .im resting today as Drs rang this morning so got an extra blood test booked in for tomorrow now .thank you for all your thoughtful messages they keep me going crafting hugs xxx

    2. Sheila, I just read your comment from yesterday…it would be funny of you were to fall asleep whilst getting your liver scan. When Sarah was wee she had kidney problems and had to go for regular scans. The first time she had a DMSA scan as a tiny baby she was wedged into a foam cradle so she wouldn't move but she slept through it anyway. Jen's first day a work was good, Sunday was very quiet, she only served one table but still got paid £20. She must have done ok as she is working Fri and Sun this week.

    3. Hello Sheila, I expect you are in the land of nod by now. I hope you feel better tomorrow, what a shame you've got to go for more blood tests, drink lots and hopefully it will flow. Sending you hugs xxx

  26. Wow, your blog post brought back memories of five or six years ago when our family visited the same castle. My twin sister was participating in the re enactment as a water carrier and later (after the battle) as a musician. I don't know if she was taking part this time. We visited Catton Hall on Monday for a much later historical re enactment of a typical civil war battle by the Sealed Knot. It was amazing! I have also wanted to try calligraphy and given up when I made too many mistakes. I am trying harder these days not to be so much of a perfectionist, but it isn't easy. Chin up; if I know you, you will not give up!

    1. You have just brought a memory back for me the sealed knot was in Scarborough in 1975 they came to the hotel where my two friends and I was working wow they could party xxx

    2. My husbands mum and stepdad did sealed knot many years ago and yes they partied! My cousin did civil war reinactment, he got hit in the face with a pike the week before I got married and he looked lovely with his black eyes as an usher! Xx

  27. How very true. We have to dare. Life's too short for I wonder if I could. I was so scared of ink and stamping but your stamps inspired me. I would visit the website and Oooooooo at all the lovely stamps. Then I saw your calendar and bought it and had a go and another and another. And now it's fun,even the mistakes xx

  28. Hello Barbara

    Oh yes! I know just what you mean. I think I am a confident person, making myself cope with the rigours of life, but when it comes to crafting I look around at other people's offerings and find myself thinking I am not good enough. I have to give myself a mental shake and remind myself why I craft. So what if someone is better at it than me, I enjoy what I do and that is what it is all about. We all travel the craft journey at different speeds, for different reasons and we get off at various points.


  29. Your blog is in someways true. However, when I was on your retreat, neither you nor Paul made any unkind or destructive comments. I find both of you supportive, constructive and as you say "give it a go" (who knows what you were really thinking – just joking)
    I remember you saying to me some years ago. "You have improved so much and have more confidence" It doesn't always work but having had those words spoken, has urged me on. You are certainly the best teacher I have ever known.
    Big thank you.
    Love Anne (Reading)

  30. Thank you for sharing, I relate to this in my disappointment at giving a card or gift I have made for someone and them not exclaiming over it or even realizing the amount of love, care and attention that went into it…..I am trying to school myself instead to enjoy the process and fun of naking something for someone I care about but it is difficult when we are so programmed to needing positive feedback and recognition. Thought provoking as always, Barbara 🙂 x

  31. Thank you for sharing, I relate to this in my disappointment at giving a card or gift I have made for someone and them not exclaiming over it or even realizing the amount of love, care and attention that went into it…..I am trying to school myself instead to enjoy the process and fun of naking something for someone I care about but it is difficult when we are so programmed to needing positive feedback and recognition. Thought provoking as always, Barbara 🙂 x

  32. I was so surprised to see the Castle in your blog today. My daughter was a "Castle Kid". We live in Canada and she was accepted into the international study program at the castle for her first year of university. It was such a wonderful experience for her and also gave us the excuse to visit England for the first and unfortunately only time. Brought back some wonderful memories for me. Know exactly how you felt wanting to hide your work. I often feel the same way but then I try to think that the reason I have taken a class is because I want to learn something new or just get better at what I am doing. Thanks so much for sharing today. I think it is an eye opener for all of us that even someone as talented as yourself still has these feelings. Have tried calligraphy in the past but to no avail. Will have to get the pens out again and give it a try as it is a skill that I would love to have.

  33. Those who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed!
    As an infant teacher I always used to tell the little ones that if they got everything right they were not learning something new and if they found something hard to get right that was good because it was a new thing for them to learn and I was there to help.
    That is what you have done for me and so many others – given us the courage to have a go and the support and inspiration to achieve more xx

    1. Hello everyone. I have been hedge cutting this morning but it has turned quite windy so I guess I'll just have to do some crafting while watching Saturday's shows on catch up!!

    2. Hi Chris,
      It's windy here too now. Hope you've got some crafting in. Just come back from Crafters Companion and they said that the demo day with Barbara will be free and with bookable time slots. Not on website yet – bit.ly/Aycliffe- classes. Love and hugs Alison xx

  34. Oh yes indeed, been there and got the tshirt, might I add a ton of them. I just laugh at myself and call them happy accidents. Try not to let anything stop me from crafting and trying out new techniques. That is all the fun 🙂 Thanks for sharing and good luck with the calligraphy.
    Linda xxx

  35. I found your blog today thought provoking. We all look to experts in a lot a of fields, then hold ourselves up to them, and declare ourselves as rubbish. An expert is someone who has constantly repeated an action, getting different results from it, and learning how it is right for them. All of us have different gifts, and are individuals. The wide spectrum of gifted artists copy a subject, but they don't look the same, but they are each artistic geniuses. Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime. He wasn't appreciated. We are very hard on ourselves excuse we are constantly striving to be better, but we also have to take pleasure in the journey and recognise when the improvements appear.i also believe that women are more in tune to the self doubt. Barbara, I thought your m was fine, but you saw it up against a professional….you didn't stand a chance in your own mind.
    Not long ago, my husband introduced me to someone as an artist. I admit, I swelled with pride. I'm not an artist, I aspire to be one. I am a professional woman, who has many qualifications, and non of them in art.,but I couldn't have been happier.
    It shows other people can appreciate what we can only see the fault in, but that is because they haven't invested the time and the mistakes in the bin, that we have.
    Gosh I've rattled on a bit, but I loved today's blog. Xx

  36. Hi Barb,
    Herstmonceaux is lovely isn't it – I went when we were on holiday about 10 years ago. Your blog today certainly resonates with me too. I am always very wary about showing things I'm doing, or worried in case people think I'm stupid when I ask a question etc. Years ago when I was still teaching PE, I used to write out the athletic's certificates for the kids using a calligraphy pen. I had a book to copy the letters from and the kids were always chuffed to bits with the. It's a beautiful skill and one I would love to learn. I went to see the Lindisfarne Gospels at Durham Cathedral a couple of years ago and the Illuminated Script on then was absolutely beautiful. Once you've mastered it, are we going to get calligraphy Groovi plates? That would be interesting!! Like ve and hugs Alison xxx

    1. Hi bloggy friends,
      Hope today has been good to you all. We've had a very lazy day today – I felt a bit guilty yesterday for making Dave move all the rocks! Been a strange day weather wise, very overcast, then sunny, windy – it can't make its mind up! Had a run through to the Crafters Companion shop and got a few goodies to play with ( not clarity though, only get that from Barbara). Love and hugs to you all Alison xxx

    2. Hi Alison sounds like like you had a fun shopping trip, would be lovely if they opened a shop down south. Your comment about the calligraphy certificates made me smile, Emma's were written in calligraphy too and are proudly kept. Xx

    3. Herstmonceux, I was born and bred there! During the mid-fifties to early 60's I worked in an office in the Castle when it was the home of the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Fond memories of that time. So pleased that you had a great day there Barb, do carry on with your calligraphy, it's hard to master but fulfilling when you get something right that has eluded you. I wish I had continued longer with classes. having now forgotten most of what I learned.
      I'm one of those that tries to hide my mistakes from the teacher (Maria Simms) but that lovely lady is always so helpful and shows me how to make something from my less than perfect work. xx

  37. Hi Barbara I can relate to this I do like to make my mistakes in private. I do make them and I learn from them. Starting again is always a good option. When you go back to something sometimes it doesn't look so bad. Thank you for being so honest and sharing with us. That is why I like to read your blog. Enjoy the rest of the evening. Take care. Hugs Jackie

  38. Barbara, you should get a left-handed pen – it will make it much easier! I took up calligraphy in my late teens, when I saw a left-handed calligraphy pen set (a fountain pen with six interchangeable nibs of different sizes), because I was ashamed of my handwriting and thought this would be a way to improve it. It worked for a while, because I think using a fountain pen and concentrating on the shape of the individual letters forces you to slow down a little. But then I took up shorthand, where the emphasis is on speed, so nowadays my every-day handwriting is a terrible scrawl again! And I've probably probably forgotten the "correct" form for the various calligraphy alphabets, but I just make it up as I go along! My biggest challenge is keeping to a straight line – even using guidelines, my writing tends to drift off at an angle! Never mind, I tell myself that this is what makes it "hand-made" rather than shop bought!

  39. Dear Barbara, first thank you for my lovely card and voucher which arrived today. Just beautiful the card.

    Now to the blog, I am with you all the way with what you are saying. I was told as a child and into my adult life that I was useless and would fail. Would fail at school, would fail at life….and what hurt the most is that "my sister" was better than me. And just look at how she is action now with Mum and me….says it all.

    But today, I have learnt, through my crafting that even a mistake is happy accident. I think we all want to be perfect ???

    However I know that we will all learn along the way and be as one in our thoughts.


  40. What a thought provoking blog today, seems like you've struck a cord with a lot of us. One of my teachers at school wrote in one of my reports "Susan still needs to appreciate that she can learn from making a mistake" – I was about 6 at the time, and it's still a lesson I find hard to learn!!! I think your use of scraps has really helped me to keep things that didn't turn out quite the way I had planned, and then to think about a different way to use them up – thanks for sharing your shame and empathy with us all x

  41. Hi all, I can definitely relate to today's blog. When at school my art teacher said to me " we all can't be as talented as your twin sister". That stuck with me for many years stopping me from doing anything arty/crafty. Then one day my daughter bought me a card making kit and I have never looked back. If a project doesn't come out how I pictured it, then now at my advanced age of 56 ( hopefully I am abit more forgiving of myself than I was at 13) I just say to myself "maybe after all, this is how it should look"( saying this to myself does work sometimes but like others, negative thoughts about what I do still creep in) I have to say though, your m looked blinking good to me. Lol Lynne m

  42. As a child my parents always told me I wasn't good enough. Whilst that still hangs over me now preventing my from trying new things I am capable of JFDI and I can laugh at myself. When I craft I don't see imperfection I see something I hadn't planned for today which could be used for another project another day.

  43. Sometimes when I don't like what I am making I do something really stupid, almost destructive to it so that I can say "there I have spoolt it to the point of no return" and so I can give myself permission to Bin it – then I get rid of the burden of trying to make it nice! I never produce my best stuff in a workshop simply because I feel like a fraud and that most of the time if I produce something nice it's because I wasn't trying to – if I try to – I mess up!!! Yep you are right Barbara we all feel it I guess. Xxx Sam

  44. Hi. At area
    Yes I'm another one who can relate to your blog today. Had to laugh with you though when you hid your mistake from the teacher, yep that's me too. Whilst reading the blog I was watching Bake Off, some of them covered their mistakes with icing sugar, hides a multitude but doesn't hide the burnt taste! The castle looks interesting, it was lovely you and Dave could have a day out together in the sunshine. Now I think you should carry the baby groovi plate with you when you go to these events and trade crafts with the arty people you find. I'm sure the calligraphy lady and the willow lady might enjoy learning a new craft as much as you did!
    Love Diane xxx

    1. Hello lovely blog friends, I'm late tonight, got distracted by bake off. Finished my good luck/ new home card today, it was a bit curly, I know I've got to stop and let it rest but I forget that when in the swing of things. I got my letterbox stamp set out and stamped the correct wording inside so it was a good save – I think!
      Sending hugs all round xxxx

  45. Good blog for me this week – I've done quite a few attempts at one card – got it just about right in the end but wasted some parchment although I've decided to keep the wrong bits as I may use some of them for part of another card. I never think what I do is good enough ! I nearly didn't put my calendar challenge in but thought sod it – it's going and it's ok now I've looked at it again – if you squint and cock your head to one side ! LOL!! I'm glad you had a good day though x x

  46. Looks like a great day out! Calligraphy is a beautiful art form -tried it many years ago and, with lots of practise did some very 'acceptable' pieces, then went into a job that necessitated I print clearly and had to as clear to read on the third carbon copy as was on the top sheet! Needless to say after 7 years in this job (which I did enjoy) I print everything quickly and neatly but long to try my hand at beautiful calligraphy again…I feel the need to buy a kit and start practising. As for 'the monkey' doubtless he'll be there but I'll just try to ignore him!!!!

  47. Amen. Key line in your blog: "the fear of getting something wrong prevents the vast majority of people from even trying anything new in the first place." So true. The 'blank canvas' effect. Excellent insights, Barbara. Thank you.

  48. Ah ! Perfectionism…the curse of the creatives…. I have the self same problem with my music….
    Great day out though, especially the 'calligraphy moment' because it brought to light this fear based problem…and we can see it for what it really is….I think we'll be going back next year ! x

  49. How true, Barbara. An old friend of mine has a saying he often repeats: "The only person who never made a mistake is the one who never does anything". The fear of failing has certainly held me back, and the beautiful piece of artwork that I see in my head rarely arrives on the paper, but now I tell myself that the people who look at the finished work don't know that! I belong to a calligraphy guild, and have taught calligraphy, I can see you have potential if you have faith in yourself. I would say that a tutor is essential for learning this skill – I never got anywhere trying to learn it from a book but made great improvement once I joined a course 20 years ago. Still learning 🙂 Calligraphy: a fascinating, mindful discipline. Anyone in Hertfordshire who is interested in joining our not-for-profit group is welcome to get in touch. Sorry for the ramble, calligraphy is my passion, Clarity comes a very close second 🙂

  50. Hello Barb, wow a very insightful blog post, which I wholeheartedly can identify with. I had 2 huge inspirational A3 posters in my study, both of which I have taken down and intend printing in a smaller format to frame and put back up. The first says "No one can make your dreams come true but you" and the other "Make it a point to always believe in YOURSELF" I would also like to master Calligraphy, but at the moment, it is my craft that I am getting better with, and learning to not think of things as mistakes, but to learn to change them to make them better. Take care. Bx

  51. I seem to have that feeling in the pit of my stomach all the time at the moment. Do we ever grow out of it? You are such an inspiration Barb x

  52. I'm never confident about anything I do. I was brought up very very strictly by a very Victorian father where nothing other than perfect was acceptable or a bloody good hiding would come my way. Needless to say I have very little confidence in my abilities especially when my sister came along and excelled at everything – 10 years younger : father not as strict – I have a very good eye for detail so I see all
    Imperfections in all that I do and often create artwork up to 5 or 6 times and they never see the light of day. I'm now 59 and still lack confidence. I am always amazed that when I do finish something and share it people say how talented I am. I now work in the educational sector and see first hand how our wonderful tutors encourage our students. I also have apprentices work with me and praise and constructive criticism is the best way forward.

  53. Oh Barb
    Thank you for sharing, I find I often admire from afar and readily talk myself out of trying but in a rare occasion if i have mastered something it is rewarding. Thank you so much for the encouragement to try and keep trying X X X

  54. Hi Barb.
    There are so many things I would like to try, and know that I will fail, so don't. You had a go, and I'm sure you will master it.
    My daughter was part of the living history, made all the costumes and props herself. She has a go at anything and will not give up until she can do it.
    She had a great weekend and the public showed a great interest.

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