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I am a cut paper artist and I live in Arlesey, Bedfordshire. I'm originally from a small village outside Salisbury - Winterslow - in Wiltshire. I use a scalpel (and scissors too) to cut into single sheets of paper that I then layer from behind to create bold and striking images of buildings and places, expressing my love of the English landscape and the natural world about me.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Feeling philosophical.....and wondering what its all about.


In the last few weeks I have been feeling very philosophical. I have been down to Salisbury and seen my father. He has Parkinsons and though its always fantastic to see him - I love him very much - its always terrible to see him having to cope with the disease. In a lot of situations in life you can be positive and look to the future to bring hope, but with Parkinsons you cant deal with it like that, you have to celebrate the moment and the day. There is always a kind of post shock wave in me after seeing him, a wave of sadness that I am losing him and in him losing myself and my mother that died when I was five. Its very difficult deep down stuff and there have been times recently when I have cried and cried. Life is so incredibly bittersweet at times.

It made me think back to the piece I cut a while ago called The Robin.(see below) Its all about the shortness and the beauty of our individual lives.




Running alongside this had been some work I have been doing at Highfield School in Letchworth. I have had a long connection with the school and like it very much. The staff are great and so are the kids, but there are some very challenging ones! Its not a posh high achieving school that has many resources and lots of middle class parents at the gates and that makes me want to reach out to it even more.

I have been there this week doing a project called Lent Hunger Cloths with the Art and RE department. I have been showing the pupils the papr cuts that I make that relate into the themes of Lent and the children design a banner based on looking at my work and the ideas I have shown them. I dont go in as a drum banging Christian. I am certainly not that. I am interested in many religions and I think its all a journey of understanding the mystery of life and we all do that in different cultural ways.

I do however explain my work in a very personal way - the times when I have felt very lonely or guilty of something I have done or not done, or the times when I have longed for my mother to be alive to show her who I am. Its a talk that packs a punch and the children always respond so well! I dont think they are used to an adult talking so openly about loss and sadness and love.


Here are a few of the gems that have come out of the classes so far.....







This is "Shadows on the Broadway" my favourite walk in Letchworth - a beautiful double avenue of trees. I image my mother at the end and other people in my life that I loved to be there at the end waiting for me to be able to hold them and talk to them again.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post and you are spot on about life being bittersweet- and the things that hold little hope but you have to come to terms with- like our parents- and put into some perspective so you can honor them, but move forward.

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  2. Thank you Juia.. its good to know that there are people out there who know what I mean. Its a tough thing this growing up!

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  3. You are amazing Vanessa. Lucky kids. I think my motto has always been "Carpe diem"

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  4. That a good one to have James! I have written one for me - "Always live to feel alive" - which I suppose is that too!..I just need to find someone to translate to Latin!

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