Where do I begin? Week 9, yeah? Or week 99? Continue Reading…
Funny that I’m typing this years anniversary letter to you using the notes app in my phone. I’ll explain why. Continue Reading…
The medics on the front line are the heroes and I made a doctor figure demo on my youtube to demonstrate the appreciation I feel for them. As well as the government, farmers, postal workers and many more keyworkers keeping this country afloat. But I saw a tweet yesterday and it got me thinking…
The tweet highlighted that the subjects we have seen brushed aside in formal education are gaining acknowledgement and helping in this crisis of coronavirus.
I am a professional artist and I started my business elevenyears ago. The day my firstborn turned 9 months I thought it a clever move to become self employed. I had completed a Masters and Degree in fine art and felt if I didn’t push myself in 2009, would I ever?
From the age of sixteen I worked alongside people of all ages and abilities running art workshops. I realised very quickly that to make money at what I do, a community artist was the way forward. Paintings don’t seem to fly out of the studio like we imagine. A harsh reality!
Anyway, my life with the boys (I had my second son in 2011) looked no different from someone who works full time and then squeezes their own practice in during rest periods or holidays. Community arts was full on and for the most part poorly paid. Add to that my family life – I wasn’t getting anywhere fast.
So I started my own photography business.
Along with my blogging from the box room in our house , I had the bare bones of a creative business.
Photography helped me plan, execute and grow. It also brought a salary and recognition for hard work. Pricing photography, I felt, was determined by the market, it didn’t always matter if a photography degree was under your belt.
Whereas with painting the first class honours in my degree or distinction in my Masters meant very little when it came to rising as an established artist. It was tough to tackle.
Creative careers teach you resilience and it’s a long and hard road.
So today I want to celebrate every single creative I follow, know and appreciate who has worked equally hard to get their career off the ground !
The arts is an essential piece of the puzzle of life. My three sons think they are not creative but since lockdown we dance more than ever in the living room and we bake in the kitchen all hands breaking butter into scones together.
Art slides beautifully into the snippet of life that nurtures our brain away from numbers or molecules.
On a daily basis during lockdown creativity is housing calm for people, offering escapism. When people buy coastal prints they add notes which move me to tears- “if I can’t get to the coast I’ll bring the coast to me”.
So thank you musicians, singers, authors, poets, podcasters, bakers, chefs, illustrators, designers, painters, drinks companies … you (we) are bringing art to the conversation.
I would even include small business owners in my shout out who have had to be creative in making their colourful vegetables reach an audience outside of their store front. Or sewing clothes for PPE wear (did many of us even know that word before now!?) that they would have otherwise sold to make their living .
YOU are shedding light in a frightening and dark scenario. You are valued like never before and I am so happy to see this.
Thank you science for all you are doing to bring testing and a vaccination to stop the evil that is coronavirus. And maths for helping people de code, set up ventilators and cut protective masks accordingly.
But for this moment, creatives everywhere, take a moment to smile at the chance we have to touch a life with song or colour. Thank you and keep making.
Tag creatives doing great things for us during lockdown. I am highlighting people every day on my instagram (@aly.harte) over a coffee break at 11am and can add them to my list!
Rather than ramble on as to the reasons why we may need these 7 tips right now, I’ll just let you scroll and apply as needed. Stay safe and stay home.
This morning on my coffee break I went to see my 71year old Mum at her work. Like most of us in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England we are anxiously waiting for the inevitable closure of our schools. So, I thought I would take her for a takeaway coffee before she is potentially quarantined and while my children remain in the classroom.
To be honest taking the time to visit her was a relief from news articles about coronavirus on what’s app groups and the general noise of panic. Continue Reading…
It’s difficult for me not to think of my own Mother as Mother’s day draws near but then again it’s difficult for me to admit that, despite my writing to my deceased Father, to my deceased Grandmother and my dear cousin who passed away two years ago…I have somehow never written to or about my Mother – the only one still present. A constant in my life since Dad died in 1991. School, University, married life, my own journey as a Mother- she’s walked the walk with me.
As with many of the personal pieces I write, my eyes begin to water with each click of the keyboard. But here goes…
My widowed Mother exclaims every time I write a blogpost about grief or sadness “ why do you torture yourself Alyson?”. She knows that I weep as I write.
Some say it is cathartic to help me come to terms with my own grief from a young age, others say it is self serving. Yet, six years into my writing it feels bigger than that. Continue Reading…
You had a turbulent day in work, a fraught journey home and now you’re sat on the sofa in your jeans and sweater after devouring some pasta with your hubby. You pop each wary foot into your slippers with the wool as light as marshmallows around your heels. Continue Reading…
Our family aired the tent out for the the first time this year. Last weekend we ventured to Portballintrae- the same area where I holidayed as a child with my Mum and my brother. Continue Reading…
I read in last months Women’s Health Magazine, in noted that we should be more open and honest in life. Apparently, this helps us to move forward with our lives and to prevent getting “stuck” in toxic friendships and relationships.
When I read it I was drawn to the bullet points they had at the end of the article. One read “Tackle grief …”. It progressed to say how we are held back by unprocessed emotions, grief being one of them.
As someone who “lost” (he didn’t fall of a pier but “lost” seems to be the terminology used often to describe death) my father a week before my eighth birthday, I can put my hand on my similarly defected heart (Dad died due to heart problems) and agree that the notion of dealing with grief stood out to me because it rang so true to me. Continue Reading…