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Anything Is Possible

Black and white photograph of Sam (on the right) and Roberto (on the left) looking at each other.  Between them is one of the pots.

We had our first show. It went incredibly well. Everything sold. Even some things that weren’t for sale sold. I felt inspired to make a few extra new drawings so at least there would be something there if people had set their hearts on buying. They went too. It was like the Marie Celeste on the Sunday in the Little Shop.

So many came to the Opening Reception. Dogs as well as people. It was amazing. We had a tombola and drinks served over at The Crescent pub opposite. We had half-hourly tickets so everyone would get a viewing. It sounds a bit strange doesn’t it, but it all went so smoothly. Team Mustard had it worked out to a tee. Everybody was so kind, patient, understanding, generous.

I always forget that there is so much more to putting on an exhibition than making the work. Maybe I worked too hard as I was tired for weeks afterwards. And every morning when I woke up, I remembered how well it had gone and I felt stunned all over again. From my bed, flushed and giddy from my success, I made an ambitious programme of events to take us through the year as truly I believed that now ANYTHING was possible. And then the Virus hit. 

I know everyone’s experience is different. And perhaps as I’ve got older I’ve gotten luckier. For some, a surprise diagnosis of cancer feels (and is) genuinely devastating. But for many of us it can feel like a gift and a new beginning. Similarly I know so many people have had a really tough time during lockdown. I am in the fortunate position of living and working on my own, having no children to worry about, living in a safe and beautiful part of the world, being in good health. I love what I do and for me little has changed. Went a bit wonky in the head for a while, but otherwise tickety boo. My ambitious programme of events went to the dogs though. Ah well. And I thought it was going to be such a good year…

Never Waste a Crisis, an excellent therapist once said to me, and it has become my mantra. There is always something good to challenge me when disaster strikes I find. And sure enough, in the space left by cancelled shows and broken dreams, there was rest and gardening, house sorting, even spring cleaning. Mostly time for thinking, and wondering how my life could change in the following months. I got a bag of clay from Roberto’s studio, sadly ‘closed because of the Covid’, and started playing. Like during my chemotherapy, when everything was upside down, getting my hands on some clay somehow made things better. Pottery Gagliano has always been a safe haven, even in spirit. Roberto says, leave your problems at the door and anything is possible.

And here we are months later with a fabulous new collection. Well, I think it’s fabulous. But then I know how much work and love and care has gone into each piece. In collaboration with Roberto. Working with friends. Innis has taken some wonderful photographs, Mr Cain has organized the website and all those vital technical bits. We have all done our very best. Who knows what will happen next?

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Love the Little Things

Love the Little Things

When I thought I’d lost my little shop it felt like a death. An inevitable expected death like that of an old dog, but still a cruel shock. One of those deaths where people say, Ah well, she had a good innings, and all you can think is, No no NO, I’m not ready, I want MORE innings. And when people looked at me and tilted their heads in sympathy it was because somehow they knew that this was the way it must be. And all I could do was wish I felt stronger so I could scream and rant and stamp my feet at the very least.

I was not ready to lose my little shop.

So instead I decided to put it on ice. Freeze it over the Winter and look again in the Spring.

As it turns out I will be having a Little Art Show at the shop a year to the day from having a lovely operation to remove some lymph nodes and a lump in my breast. I say lovely because I’ve never been to hospital before and I got to stay overnight with very kind people and someone brought me breakfast in bed. There was no pain and I felt so relieved. The cancer was gone. Chemo- and Radiotherapy to come. But what a difference a year makes. In February I danced for the first time in 12 months at my nephew’s wedding. I’m a clumsy, enthusiastic dancer and I love the way it makes me feel. But for a year I have not had the luxury of energy to ‘waste’.

So: I am changed. I have a different take on the useful time I have left on the planet. It’s a real opportunity to consciously build the life I would like. I have a whole lot less energy to go round now and for 2020 I’m focussing on making a success of my little shop. Not by opening every day, but by opening once every 60 days, and by showing things you cannot see anywhere else.

Love the little things. That’s what Mr Mustard says. It’s good advice but it’s not exactly ground breaking. And with a little shop and an imaginary friend we’re not going to change the world. But hopefully we are going to introduce a bit more joy into the proceedings. I have a feeling that this year could be a wonderful one.