This is my physical space in the world. In the rural countryside of Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, I live on a 12 acre shared property with 2 other families, our 4 dogs, 3 cows (one of which provides us with our daily delicious milk), a dozen chickens (whose eggs we consume with gratitude) and their rooster man, 50 alpacas (or so) including 9 new babies, and a miniature horse who runs the whole show. My partner, I and our 7 year old son live in a small board and batten home built by our neighbour, right smack in the middle of the farm. We get to enjoy all the benefits of farm life without working it. Thank goodness! The hard work is carried out by the owners, who kindly have us living here as their tenants and close knit community. It’s very important to me to have natural surroundings where I live. The moments that I have lived in suburbia, I have never quite settled as happily as I do when I have large open spaces around me. I can breathe more comfortably out here, without the traffic and hum of town or city life. We like to call this is our ‘little spot of paradise’.
My even littler spot of paradise is my stand alone studio that is a skip, hop and a jump away from the house. As I walk past my handmade toadstools, may child self knows its time to come out to play. It is here that I escape from my household chores and have a space completely devoted to me and my creativity. I am surrounded by many books and little knick knacks that inspire me in some way. The cows and horse are chewing grass out the window, the alpaca babies are chasing each other merrily. This place is my sanctuary. My awaiting water colour pencils are my trusted tools for making marks, as is my journal and ink nibbed pen for writing my innermost thoughts. I write as a way to download thoughts, ideas, fears, frustrations, and epiphanies so that my mind can maintain some from of sanity. When I don’t write, I go mad. There is only so much information that I can retain in that wee cavity that is my mind. It is the nature of me to have my head in the clouds and too far removed from physical reality, and it’s important for me to practice ways of keeping me grounded – another reason to be close to nature and the animals. It is said that a few moments in a paddock with the alpacas, will give you the good vibes that of which you would get from swimming with a pod of dolphins. No wonder I love it here!