Finding Myself Part One

Amongst other things, I am a collector, a hoarder, a messy person.  A very, very, very messy person.  I know this because my husband tells me regularly, whilst he’s following me around, picking up shoes, underwear, banana skins, orange peel, dirty cups, scraps of paper, lids off pens……I know this but I never really think about it.

I’m an artist and a photographer, so I notice things all the time: the way the light falls, the colour of a shirt or a fence panel, a handsome profile, the shadow made by a chair leg. Details, so many details.  When I’m out, cameras banging against my body, finger poised over the shutter, my eyes are constantly flickering from side to side, finding the unusual, the odd angle, the strange activity.  Indoors, I notice the way the shadows fall, how the sunset reflects on my wooden desk, my grandson’s mouth as he tells me a story, the line of my granddaughters back as she arches into a tantrum.

What I don’t notice is the clutter.

Having recently read an article in defence and praise of clutter, I had the sudden urge to do a tour of my house and not just look, but actually see what was clogging up every shelf, every corner, every cupboard.  I would photograph them all. The only rules would be that I wouldn’t move or rearrange anything to make a better shot; and I wouldn’t edit the images.  Every item would be recorded exactly as and where it was.

I noticed things I’d walked past twenty times a day without a glance, I thought about the objects I was seeing.  They had stories attached. Some took me back years, some weeks or days, but as I excitedly continued to snap each and every one, I realised I wasn’t just finding clutter, I was finding myself.  These obscure items are part of my history, and part of what makes me ME.

Writing this post, and uploading the images, I realise this isn’t a blog that can be done in one sitting.  There are too many items, too many memories, so much more of me to find.

To be continued…..

Three strange, and somewhat rude, teapots found in a junk shop years ago, and in the background, nursery and school photos of my eldest grandson.
My husband, aged about three, on a perspex stand.
In the days when we all sent off films to be processed, this print arrived with a pile of others. Looking at it sideways, my only thought was, “but we haven’t got a denim sofa…” (turn it, you’ll see). My husband turned it this way and admitted he’d taken a photo of my behind without me realising.
We moved house in 1986, partly because I had a growing cake making business and needed a room to store equipment. This was a wall in the room, which became a doodle area for the kids. When we decorated, we left the patterns on the wall.
Part of the wall in the cake room that we didn’t paint over. The kids’ heights were recorded over the years, along with doodles and comments.
The second hand chair bought in Lancaster thirty years ago and forever known as ‘Little Chair’ due to it’s short legs.
Little Chair was soon joined by two more little chairs. This one was donated by our lovely antique dealer friend, Martin. The books, behind, have been picked up in junk and charity shops along the way.
Dusty bluebirds that have spent twenty years flying nowhere in our downstairs loo.
A post card sent to me by my best friend for the last 52 years. It’s now stuck on a cupboard door in the cake room.
Food colourings from the cake making days.
Monkey candle holder, bought on a weekend away. It caused a big row, as my husband thought it was a waste of money. I love it.
Some of the hundreds of tapes we’ve made and collected over the years, now obsolete as we’ve no tape player.
A sign of the times. The two singers were bought years ago, and the money box was handed down by a great aunt. I have never really thought about them very much, but now I realise they’re quite offensive.
A few of the many photo albums before it all went digital.
The legs that live in the garden. About twenty years ago we were out for a walk with friends when we passed a clothes shop that was closing down. A sign in the window said, ‘everything must go!’ As we walked on I told my husband I’d love the plastic legs that had been used to display stockings. He ran back and bought one for £1. Seeing my shock and disappointment that he’d only bought one, my friend ran back and bought the other one. They lived on the garden wall for years until the wall fell down. Now they blow around the garden and get stuck in bushes.
One of the many stained glass windows/mirrors, made by me after attending a Leaded Light evening class thirty years ago. Had such fun and still see some friends I made there. Polar bear from Ikea, I loved its shape and the way the light shines through it.
Roy Rogers, a home made hardboard wedding present from forty years ago. I wrote to thank the couple I thought had sent it.  Turned out it wasn't them, and I never did find out who gave it.
Roy Rogers, a home made hardboard wedding present from forty years ago. I wrote to thank the couple I thought had sent it. Turned out it wasn’t them, and I never did find out who gave it.
Finding Myself Part One