Lois is our winner this month! She could choose between some greetings cards, the mini book “Red, Yellow and Blue” or one of my new giclée series of my calligraphic painting which is printed on Chinese Rice Paper: ‘Dance’ and this is her choice.
Here is something Lois has written for us about herself at my request:
Two of us discovered Lin the book art teacher in the autumn of 2002. Su Bonfanti and I had each sneaked a leaflet off the notice board at Richmond College the year before, but couldn’t track the elusive class – and then we did!
Meeting her has led to a most creative adventure and a special friendship.
The college group morphed into a class at Lin’s home in Twickenham, where others joined Su and I. We became Open Books Inc., and have had three exhibitions of our work. Lin’s move to Oxfordshire in 2008 means that she is now an occasional member rather than teacher – but, twelve years on we still meet and support each other in our individual projects and we laugh a lot.
From being almost paralysed with lack of confidence while wholeheartedly loving the work with Lin, I now, with ease and joy make an assortment of books and mega-cards using so much technique and precision and colour I’ve learned from her – while creating my own slightly more homespun style.
Lin’s great gift in recent years is how she’s brought her art and friendship to support me in some recent health adventures. From 3 surgeries for breast cancer in 2010/2011 I then was critically ill with aggressive non-Hodgkins lymphoma and the accompanying chemo therapy in 2013 and now have a return adventure with the lymphoma which I am healing via non-chemo routes. The lymphoma brought not not night sweats but night drenches, requiring a change of nightwear several times each night. Lin had the idea to paint up a bunch of big white T-shirts with drawings from Rope of Words, the special book she illustrated for her daughter Megan. So with each night drench, I could put on another T-shirt.
As I was recovering from the chemo and still without hair, Lin asked if I would sit with her for her to practice her portrait skills. Sitting quietly for 2 days with Lin was such a treat….I realised that both meditation and times under the scanners had helped me to be comfortably still!
With this new recovery plan, there are lots and lots of juices involved as well as special meals. Lin has been sending me different graces, blessings to say before each meal or, as with the green trees, before the green juice. She also has sent me drawings that represent what else I am doing with my body. That’s why I have chosen the dancer for my prize. I call this programme I am on A Juicy Jive Festival. Lin’s art and friendship enliven it.
I am from Jacksonville, Florida and have lived in England for almost 48 years. My work here has been with teenagers in trouble and with charities working with outsiders – refugees, mental health, prisons and writers at risk – as well as Tibetan Buddhist networks and crisis support for CEOs through ACEVO, the Association of Chief Executives in Voluntary Organisations. My latest book, in search of a publisher, is with Steven Appleby, the absurdist artist – Blessed Mess: Tales of Living, Loving and Dying with Stuff.
And an afterword from me: I have had an incredible friendship with Lois. She is a motivator and has so much creative enthusiasm and makes space for people, listens to what they say – really listens! Anyone who has been on my workshops will recognise that we always end with ‘reflections’ and while this can sometimes seem a nuisance, good things always come out of this short time of thinking after a workshop. Lois always insisted on reflections and taught me to value them. She takes her creativity into all of life’s situations to make dealing with difficulties more palatable – e.g. those earrings in the portrait are made from pill packaging…I was sorry that I didn’t get a better likeness. Lois thank you for opening your home to Open Books and making sure it happened. To teach a small group of people for 10 years is a wonderful experience and we have travelled through Life’s bumps together. Please will you all pause and pray or just say /think some encouraging words for Lois now – she is persevering in her recovery plan -campaigning against illness again especially after losing her husband in June last year.
b.t.w. You may well think we rigged this giveaway. We didn’t. Dave always closes his eyes, (not sure why – he could just look away) and puts his hand into a container full of names and pulls one out. There is a greater hand at work here!
Here is a photo of the portrait taken from the side:
Talk about reflection!
I thought since it did not look enough like her, I should title it “Protective Shawl”