Stretching exercises…

Stretching exercises…

Hi there

Thanks for popping in. Been doing a little bit of stretching here. Stretching my brain. Using my loaf more. Why? Well, waves of some kind of bleakness keep rolling in, and I thought it best to address it, change the flow.

It’s not boredom. I don’t do bored. It runs deeper than that. It’s a kind of ennui. (Dictionary definition of ennui: a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.)

Sitting in our warm, period cottage home, with an art studio AND a pottery studio in the garden, with a loving husband, both healthy and well, enough food in the cupboard to feed a small army, both parents safe and well, and a banging little craft business that is pretty stable, one could definitely say that I should be very very grateful! Absolutely. And I really am!! But you can’t help the thoughts that come into your head, can you. So before this ennui takes hold, I want to change it.

Perhaps it’s also a case of having plenty of energy to DO things, but losing the reason WHY I am doing them. Perhaps it’s the repetitive routine, without the usual diversion, change of scenery or stimulus, which turns an otherwise productive day into more of a daily grind. Like the old song says, What’s it all about Alfie…

So I escaped to my little pottery cave yesterday afternoon, to clear the head and STRETCH. Decided to go large, and doubled the amount of clay I usually throw with! I’m getting quite good at throwing little pots and bowls, but when my mad head asked me, “how many little pots and bowls does the world need”, I decided to throw a BIG one at it.

Do you get me? I KNOW I’m not alone. The longer the Covid Restrictions are in place, the more challenging I am finding it. You too?

So I decided to throw a vase, a tall slim vase. Try as I might, I couldn’t get the height. Battled with this lump of clay for ages, I did, but couldn’t get it to do my bidding. So finally accepted that it wanted to be a flower pot…albeit a quite big flower pot.

Today, when I’ve finished all my work, I shall have another run at a vase. And I shall keep trying until I succeed – every day. I need some new flower pots – the frost and ice cracked a few which I’d forgotten to empty of rainwater or take indoors!

Only 3 things – time, patience and practice – stand between myself and a beautiful, tall, slim vase. And hopefully, this quest, this challenge I have set myself, to pull a vase a foot tall, will cure my ennui. It certainly worked yesterday. I didn’t achieve what I set out to, but I learned a lot. And I caught my mind wandering in the evening too, mulling over possible solutions and ways forward.

I think that’s the solution for me, to realign my healthy thinking: stretch myself. Set myself a tall challenge.

Watch this space…

Stay safe.

Love and hugs

Barb xxx

28 thoughts on “Stretching exercises…

  1. Knowing you, you will get it xxx. I am trying not to get frustrated with myself at the moment. Had jab last night though! Had more needle stabs in two days than I care to count, but last night my hopes sored. We are going to get through it chick xx

  2. Hello Barbara
    I know just where you are coming from! Like you, all my family are ok. The only one whose business is at a standstill is my older daughter, Sian. As a mobile hairdresser her work has come to a halt for now, but she gets her SEIS grant and the other three members of her household are working so no financial worries.
    I keep busy, crafting, but I have down days too and have to give myself a talking to. I have adjusted to the new ‘normal’ but I want the old ‘normal’ back. Or, at least something bearing some resemblance to it.
    Keep your chin up and keep plodding on. One day we will all be able to get together again.

  3. Well done and well said Barb. I love seeing your pottery progress. I have been doing pottery for over 30 years and your throwing is so much better than mine will ever be. I am deffo a hand-builder. Lol. I look forward to seeing your vase(s). They will all be great.

  4. I get it Barb, that feeling seeps into your very being when you least expect it. The secret is recognising it when it does as you have and not allowing it the time of day. Keep pedalling; you are doing a marvellous job xxxx

  5. I think we are all feeling this lockdown more than the others. I think your challenge that you have set yourself is a good idea – a step out of your comfort zone by using twice as much clay. Love the flower pot & it will look great out in the garden in the summer with flowers tumbling out of it along with a few mates.
    We would have used the time to decorate had we not spent 8 weeks doing just that last year, finishing just as the 1st lockdown started.
    I did mention last week that the sink was looking a bit tired & worn in the kitchen & before I could blink he was off to collect his order from the DIY store.
    Roll on the warmer weather & he can get out into the garden meanwhile I will continue to work on my various crafting projects – loving getting inky & improving my stamping but also trying those more intricate parchment tools.
    The Clarity team plus others on FB have given us plenty to get our teeth into if we want to take up the challenge !! Thank you
    We just need to remember the end is getting nearer – we have got this far we just need to hang in there for the final push & we are in this all together not on our own.
    Have a great afternoon with the clay – you will get there as I know you won’t give up until you do but enjoy the journey !!

  6. Yes I too understand how you are feeling, I think it hit me last week. Lockdown is definitely not so much fun in winter. My Clarity parcel turned it around for me. I gave up sitting on my hands & purchased the background stamps which I wasn’t sure I would use much. How wrong was I- I love them! Mojo well & truly back , thank you. Your pottery is fabulous, you can never really have too many pots. Regarding your film reviews we found The Dig quite by chance & really enjoyed it so we will give your other two recommendations a try this weekend. Stay safe & positive, see you in Egypt tomorrow morning xx

  7. Hi Barbara I love your flower pot. It will look fab in the garden. I hope you enjoy the process of getting to your tall vase. You will do it. Just think how many masterpieces will you make along the way. Thank you for sharing your pottery with us. Enjoy the rest of the day. Take care. Hugs xxx

  8. People are feeling that they don’t have anything to look forward to right now. In the past it was the next holiday, the trip, the project, visits or other social gatherings. It’s hard work to reframe what we mean by “look forward to”. Be good to yourself and play – your pottery seems therapeutic. Enjoy it.

  9. I love that pot Barbara – well done. I’m struggling just to get up at the moment. I’ve missed all of Egypt 🙁 Hope to be on my feet properly soon. You take care and God bless for all you do xx

  10. I too, totally understand that feeling. When it happens in the early evening, I just take myself to bed even if it is just 7.30. It’s certainly not very often, but it is a feeling of malaise. I know what it is, but it is hard to fight. No reason for it either, except it is usually when I’ve just finished a project, and then I think, what am I doing this for? I have so many things which I’ve made, and are just in boxes going nowhere. I tried the craft fairs a few times, but people do not want to spend out for what it costs you, let alone make anything. I’m not very good at the sales pitch unlike the others I see, who seem to grab hold of someone and talk them into it. Hey ho, but the Shac is an excellent way of inspiring you, thank goodness for you Barb, and now we have Paul too, yippee. X

    1. Know what you mean, people expect to only pay £1 for something that took 4 hours to make. Would they work for less than 25p an hour never mind the cost of materials? When we can get out again keep at it. You don’t need the gift of the gab to sell your product, it should sell itself, but you do need to be a regular on your chosen spot and then people will get used to seeing you and trade will pick up.
      Lecture over – haha – stay safe 🍒

      1. Hi Barbara
        Know how your feeling usually I’m an upbeat type of person but got bad news about my brother the other day and have struggled to get positive again. My answer is always to go for a walk which seems to help.
        Pottery is looking good Jackie has a bad firing the other day lots of cracks and the bottom blew completely on one of the bird baths she is making. Hope your enjoying the throw down , keep on pottering 🏺
        Ruth & Jackie x

  11. Love the pottery and know you will manage to solve the tall vase problem eventually.
    Regarding “ennui” I know what you mean.
    Motivation is definitely a problem sometimes. I wake up and think “why bother” then I hear hubby moving around and know I have to get up if only to see what mayem he may be creating.
    Yes we both have lots of things to occupy us, and lockdown hasn’t affected us too much, but it is the knowledge that we can’t go exploring this beautiful country when we feel like it. Some days I want to dress up and cheer up but what is the point when there is nowhere to go?
    There is a lighter side to all this – we have the blogs, YouTube, the Shac and Groovi Shacks, good friends on the other end of the phone to have a giggle with, and best of all each other.
    My main gripe? I NEED A HAIR CUT!!!!!!!!! I HAVE NEVER HAD HAIR THIS LONG AND IT IS DRIVING ME MAD!!!!!!! I suppose if this pandemic goes on for much longer I will eventually learn to handle it.
    The sun has been out since early morning and the snow is starting to melt but it is b****y cold.
    Stay warm and safe.

    1. Ooo me too! I can put the clippers over my husband’s hair – keep threatening to do mine on number 4 but it’s too cold at the moment!

  12. Being so long from seeing my family does crop up on my bad days so much more often than I would like but I take myself off to do some crafting and my goodness thank you Barbara because my scene making, colouring, stamping and stencilling have all greatly improved. Just need to get the basics of the Groovi down next and I will be happy. You’re not alone lovely lady x

  13. Today I have had a touch of ennui too and I expect most of us have in the last few days and weeks even when you count your blessings there is still that little bit of frustration…I call it cabin fever. Your pottery is something to get your teeth into Barbara and I know it won’t be long before that tall vase is in the bag. x

  14. You may (or not) be interested to hear this, but I have a black unglazed pot by Keith Murray (not perfect though) which looks rather similar to some of your lovely pots – so I think you must be a success!
    Maggie (Bendy Yorkite)

  15. Understand where you are coming from Barbara. Have been out 4 times since last March, twice to Optician, once for flu jab and once for the vaccine! Taking it one day at a time and look forward to the Shac and now Groovi Tuesdays!
    Radio 4 9am today, In Our Time, Melvyn Bragg, The Rosetta Stone!!
    What are the chances!! Jean

  16. Might be going mad….😄. .yesterday, my cat received a Valentine’s card from another CAT!
    (it was posted…but not opened it yet, not valentine’s yet…but swalk on the back etc. So yesterday felt the need to make a Valentine’s Day card…to that cat!!
    Spent ages purrfecting!! It, making sure letters etc were as straight…as for anyone else! So that got posted today… love is in the air, everywhere you go! 😺😹

  17. I know what you mean about ennui. I have so many things I could be doing but can’t seem to get on with anything. I seem to feel constantly anxious but have nothing much to worry about apart from my arthritic cat who keeps pooping around the house and they can’t seem to find out exactly what is wrong with him !!
    Love and hugs

  18. Your blog really resonated with me today. You describe perfectly how I’ve been feeling this week. Ennui is a good word. I can’t even seem to get my crafting mojo going. I’m relying on the sale goodies I’ve ordered to do the trick. And please don’t think that’s a hint that I’m complaining. I can’t believe people have been harassing your lovely staff. Perfectly happy to wait. You’re all doing an amazing job. Love your pots by the way!

  19. Ennui thats a new word I’ve learnt today, I have been tidying my stamps and cataloging them so I can just look through and pick what I want to use it’s taking an age , I have lots of stamps but it is keeping me focused too, helps keep the Ennui at bay. Take care hugs julie xxx
    Good luck with the vase too.

  20. Hello Barb, I am totally with you in what you say. The more we get into this year with no end to lockdown in sight, the more it is getting to me, being unable to see friends and family other than at a distance, being unable to go to our favourite restaurant for romantic date night etc. So yes I also need to do something to take my mind in a different direction. I am very grateful for for what we have, so many others have fared much worse. Onwards and upwards, your determination with your pottery is very inspiring, so I am trying some upcycling to make something out of nothing. Take care, stay safe and hang in there everyone. Bx

  21. I’ve just started a mindfulness for living course which I’m really enjoying. Practising moving my attention from all the thoughts in my head down into my body, setting an intention and being kind to myself. Sounds like mindful pottering to me. I look forward to seeing the vase! X

  22. We all seem to be walking down the same path and are so lucky to be able to correct it together. You have helped in so many ways, given us structure in our lives and don’t know where we would all be without you and Claritystamp. Hope we don’t put too much pressure on you driving our bus! Roll on the sunny days……. love your flower pot look forward to seeing it filled with bright flowers and the vase. Xxx

  23. Hi Barbara.
    I like! I could never get the hang of throwing clay myself, though slab work was no problem at all.
    I think my dream would be to have a place to do as you do, with a kiln of course and I’d fill my garden with wonderful, (wonky), art creations.
    I hope you are managing to clear your head in this horrible covid world.
    My love to you and your “pottering!” 😁

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