OK, I think I’ve finished taking a photographic trip down memory lane and paying homage to my ‘new’ hometown. I haven’t had much time recently to work on any of my personal creative projects and selecting a few old photos is about as ‘creative’ as I’ve managed to be – I’ve been mired beneath a suffocatingly squelchy bog (thicker than snert !) of ‘admin tasks’ for what is starting to feel like an eternity. Important stuff like getting to grips with the rules & regulations of registering as (and being) a self-employed person in the Netherlands (with lots of ‘jargon’ in a language I’m still very much a beginner in – the Nederlands/Engels dictionary and I have spent a lot of time in each other’s company recently); trying to concurrently complete UK and Dutch self-employed tax returns (always ‘ugh’, but especially so now) with overlapping ‘country of residence’ issues, without incurring the wrath of some or other bean-counter somewhere; dealing endlessly with inefficient bureaucracy (the biggest time-waster of all!); preparing to start a course of language lessons at the UvA; and house-hunting (not the best time for it if the world’s collapsing markets are anything to go by, but you gotta live somewhere)… amongst a host of other small, but necessary, tasks.

I guess if you like to make things you’ll be familiar with the slightly panicky feeling that lodges itself behind the sternum and grows progressively more intense when your making time is curtailed. At some point or other ‘cranky’ joins ‘panicky’… and they’re both currently partying like it’s 1999 in that small space behind my sternum. It’s an unpleasant sensation (and, I fear, quite counter-productive!). 

And so, moving on to the bit about that little bird up at the top of this post (who may very well have bitten off more than he can chew)…

We attended our first Dutch wedding recently and the dress-code requested that all ladies should wear a hat. I have nothing against hats per se, just hats on my head. So after agonising for weeks about possibly letting the bride and groom down, and trying on feathery fake-flowered monstrosities (I did try on one awesome hat… but quickly removed it when the milliner informed me of its €695 price tag!), I gave up and decided instead that a handmade card would have to (hopefully!) make-up for my complete and utter lack of proper wedding etiquette.

So this wedding card is the only piece of arty-craftiness I’ve managed to complete in the past several weeks. In fact it was touch and go that I’d get it done at all – I was blowing on the paint in a desperate attempt to dry it as we were putting on our coats to head out to the wedding.

watercolour, ink & gouache on Fabriano paper

The card’s design is very similar to a wedding card I made for some friends a few years ago (those pesky time-constraints again!) and I initially felt guilty about this… and then I came to my senses and decided I could rehash, repeat and remix any of my own ‘designs’ to my heart’s content. Not everything has to be absolutely brand new… and, let’s face it, nothing ever really is. New ideas are not ‘new’, they are simply a new combination of old elements or a transformation of existing ideas.

(In fact, most of the birds on this card were ‘inspired’ by a 1913 fabric pattern entitled ‘Primeval Forest’ by Austrian designer Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel!)