It's January! If you'd have shown me the News headlines from this New Year last New Year, I would have been blown away. We are living in some strange times. Back in July when I came up with the idea of this project, I thought we'd be back to normal by now and I'd be getting ready for my first solo exhibition. It is/was due to open on 25th January (St Dynwen's day) in the lovely Oriel Bevan Jones Gallery. I'm hoping it will still be the case, but given the current COVID situation noone can guarantee it. As and when the gallery can re-open, it will go ahead. I hope to know more on Friday after the lockdown restrictions are looked at. It'll get shown as soon as possible, promise! A preview show in the Autism Directory Hub in Caerphilly had to be postponed due to our tier 4 lockdown. It will now go aheadl after the OBJ exhibition, when it is safe to do so. I'm hopeful of being able to do some workshops at the Autism Hub in the future too.
I have had beautiful pictures of the final 10 pieces taken by Aga Hosking (not pictured - you have to wait for those!), so on 25th January the online gallery will launch. A short film (a virtual gallery visit) planned to accompany the online gallery is also likely to be delayed due to covid restrictions, but again, will be added as soon as viable.
I'll make a short video entry next week, once I know what will be happening with the physical gallery showing. I'm having a stand at the Autism Directory Live Show in September (providing Robot Overlords haven't destroyed Earth, at this stage, nothing is a given), where I will have some of the pieces and images on show.
I cannot stress how incredibly lucky I feel for having the opportunity to undertake this project. The luxury of time to explore new materials and ways of working has been completely liberating. It has also been frustrating, fun and surprising, sometimes simultaeneously. Ultimately it has been very successful in it's purpose. The grant from the Arts Council of Wales and National Lottery has enabled me to explore what I was making, to consciously 'allow' my neurodivergence to take stage in what I was working. Fundementally it brought me back to a place where creating is a total joy. It has also helped me refocus on what I love about making jewellery, and given me a new direction to go in with my work, for which I'm really grateful. Having this to go to at a time when every other aspect of my life was giving me The Fear was incredibly important.
Like most people, I feel like I've been through the absolute wringer this year. Keeping my business running needed some very fancy footwork (and I largely owe the grant for this project for keeping it alive). For the first time in my life I've had to seek support for my mental health (which I found very difficult). One of my kids is in GCSE year, one home schooled who we were trying to get back into education, my husband's work entirely stopped and he's having to retrain in a completely different area. My comfort zone is in routine and knowing what's going to happen, obviously that's completely gone. Having the certainty that I had this project to work towards, to provide a creative outlet, has been a lifeline to me. I'm hoping that the pieces, and their stories, will interest you. I'm looking forward to continuing to experiment this year, and very much looking forward to showing the collection.
Happy New Year folks, I wish you health, peace and all good things. Please get in touch if there's anything you'd like to see alongside the online gallery, I'd love to hear from you. Honestly (I've spoken to about 7 people in the last 9 months).
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