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It’s been a very exciting year… And it’s not over yet!

When I fill in the evaluation form for the Arts Council, does anyone know if there’s a section for Gobsmackery?

I’ve done things this year I never thought I’d do. I’ve been places I never dreamed I’d go. I’ve met people that have rocked my world.

The year has opened doors, introduced new possibilities… I just have to get in the car and drive there…

This weekend sees the launch of my new website. Over the years since I first had a website, the more work I’ve done, the less I have on the site. Each update has meant simplification, deletion, rationalisation, clarity. Each time I have a go at it I get rid of stuff. This latest go is even more brutal. A complete rebuild on a different platform. Leaner meaner fighting machiner!
(For which I must thank Briony Lewis, Life Model and Tech Geek extraordinaire… A talented woman with an unerring skill for spotting the right time to put the kettle on!)

Each update has signified a shift in thinking, a statement that I am more sure of myself. Compared to earlier versions, this one is practically naked. I’ve stripped out most of the text, halved the menu, halved the images. The photos are mostly done now by professionals, not me with my phone. Songs have become more prominent and are embedded. Video is way up there.

Education has disappeared. That’s not to say I don’t teach any more, or I don’t think it’s important: just that this isn’t the place for it. The people who are likely to hire me for educational work already know who I am and where I am. Also, I don’t want to work with children in schools any more. It’s there in my cv/bio. It is important to me that I did it. I am passionate that children get first class art, design and craft education. But I truly believe I’m not the right person to deliver it at the sharp end any more… I’m sure as anything that if, at some point, I get grandchildren, visits to Grandma will be messy. I anticipate baking and paint. Possibly on the same table. Probably at the same time. Stains on floor and walls will be seen as trophies and memories… But 30 children at a time can be someone else’s job.

The quilts have gone too. There were far too many of these, and they skewed emphasis. I have a house full of quilts. That’s what they’re for… Snuggling up under at home. I don’t need them on my website. I’m not making them for anyone else, and to be honest I’m not making them for me any more either. Gone!

In addition to my own launch, my friend Bruford Low and I wrote a song together that is now available on iTunes and Spotify… Go on…. Download it…. I know you want to…
It’s called Jealousy
This is very exciting… Hand trembly – brain fizzy – excuse me while I pop to the loo – exciting!

Next week, three more friends and I have booked time together in my studio to write. As part of the Songwriting Circle agenda, we collaborated and wrote a song. We have decided to do it again. It took a couple of pushes by our esteemed leader, Dan. I think this was almost by way of giving permission… allowing ourselves to do it, valuing the art as it were, giving time to something that could be brilliant!

So, on the outside it might look like I’ve just updated my website. It has greater significance. I am not that woman any more…

There’s a story told in the Songwriting Circle… And I think it originally came from Bruce Springsteen (not that he’s in the circle, it’s just his story)… That all the different versions of him are all in the same car… But the person he is now is doing the driving. That’s how it should be. The eighteen year old me that I recently posted a photo of on Facebook, she had no idea! So she should definitely not be driving!

(oh how I loved that stripy blazer!)


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