A very Happy New Year to you all! As January 2018 beckons perhaps we're feeling a bit "what was that all about?" with the frenzy of Christmas over for another year. I don't know about you, but as the New Year stretches out ahead of me I feel I should be full of beans, raring to go and on top of a world of possibilities. To say I have over-fed myself in the past few festive weeks is an understatement, but in other more creative ways I find myself very hungry, not for food, but for inspiration, reflection, and for space and time out to regroup my thoughts and form new ideas. I confess I don't find New year's resolutions very helpful; they have always felt like an added pressure to perform to unrealistic ideals in completely unreasonable time scales, neither of which are conducive to my own creative process.
It was during a recent impromptu visit to Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery that I stumbled across an intriguing temporary exhibition entitled "Shifting Landscapes". A thoughtful gathering of objects (including some newly acquired works by Conrad Atkinson). The exhibition calls us to re-see our shifting and changing environment, to notice the passing of time and the changing life passing through it.
This plate forms one of the exhibits, no maker, no name, solely that it is "porcelain" with a speculated date of "between 1800 and 1900". It caught my eye.
There is a freshness and immediacy in the radiant and delicately painted design, as if the butterflies and insects have just landed a second ago and may fly off again at any moment. The winged shadows suggest movement and transience, glance away, look back and they will all have moved! (I wonder if this is a manufacturer's sample plate?) It reminds me of a sketchbook study, perhaps for a new range of porcelain yet to be developed. Exquisitely rendered, with recognisable species including the Garden Tiger Moth, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Painted lady and Ruby-Tailed Wasp, it catches my imagination following my time of Christmas overeating (much in the manner of a hungry caterpillar!) and my subsequent inactivity and "cocooning". Reminding me there are times and seasons for everything, a time to be busy, a time to be still, a time to be patient and a time to act, a time to just "be" and a time to do, a time to design and a time to create.
We are all evolving creatively, perhaps it is about understanding our own "seasons", waiting out our metamorphosis to re-emerge afresh into the waiting new year? Perhaps your personal landscape is shifting too and what will be in 2018 will be completely unlike what was before? I have decided to approach my own new year with a patient hope of newly emerging creativity, my chrysalis is readying itself!