I just couldn’t wait any longer……

20130710-131921.jpgI have waited for three years to have this stone wall built around an ugly part of the amazing rockface that takes up quite a bit of my backyard. There’s always a excuse, oops I mean reason, why there was never a good time to build it. True, my Darling does work very hard and the thought of lugging around stones on a day off is not very appealing; especially when he has just finished building his labour of love for me – a brand new shed in which to create all manner of ceramics. So last weekend I thought “This sista is doing it for herself!”.

On Saturday I started lugging up stones from the bottom of the garden and laying them on the ground to get some idea of the ones which would both fit and look good together. I got off to quite a late start, so with the dimming winter light I decided to carry on the following day. Sunday dawned sunny and crisp – perfect conditions for landscaping. After a quick trip to the hardware store to get bags of mortar I got down to business. Five hours later and with very wobbly legs and back from digging a trench, mixing mortar, breaking sandstone and placing it in a fairly aesthetically pleasing manner I had finished. What did I learn? Glad you asked gentle reader.

Firstly, I learnt not to put off something that seems big and overwhelming. Take the time to think through the whole process rather than rushing into it and then frantically trying to fix mistakes that could have been avoided with a little thought. Take one step at a time and don’t rush. This little lesson is particularly useful as I endeavour to finish a big ceramic commission which is scaring the ‘beeejusus’ out of me.

Secondly, I learnt how much you can learn from just watching people. My Dad was a man who was very clever with his hands and could make all manner of things. As a little girl I was his constant companion. Always watching but mostly talking too much when the man just wanted some peace and quiet. Many times when I’m fixing something around the house I’ll think to myself “Where did this knowledge come from? Where did I learn this skill?” and then my Father’s face will slide into my mind and I’ll say “Thanks Bruno”.

and Thirdly, cause all good things come in threes. I learnt to just ‘have a go’. It may not be perfect. You may find yourself swearing and sweating as you try to get it to work. Hell you may even give up half way through only to start again after giving yourself a stern talking to in the mirror. What I can promise is that if you don’t give up, when you look back at what you have achieved you will have a fantastic feeling of pride and next time ‘having a go’ will be that little easier.

PS: After surveying my handiwork my Darling exclaimed “I didn’t think it would turn out that well. What a great job.” Which made me indignant and pleased simultaneously.



About Elisa Bartels

A ceramic artist/designer and sporadic botanical dyer chatting and photographing the trials, tribulations and celebrations of being an artist who doesn't want to starve.
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