inspire – respire

A few years ago my husband and I found ourselves with a day to ourselves and nothing to do, so we went about creating an inspiration wall in our study. It’s essentially a large handmade picture frame which hangs above the desk space with a criss-cross of metal wire where I hung various images, notes and keepsakes which inspired me for different reasons. I would look up occasionally whilst working, or writing on the computer and it would always give me pause, making me stop and smile. Reminding me to breathe, and what was important. After a while, I realised I wasn’t looking at it anymore, or at least I would look at it and see the same old thing. It had become wallpaper, essentially: the same old pictures, day after day. A bit of a jumble. Today, I pulled everything off it and packed all the pictures and postcards and scraps of paper away neatly in a drawer. Then, I hauled out a stack of images which I had been storing in a cupboard. They are all taken with my rollei which I barely use these days; it’s on its last legs, I think. Every time I take a roll of film I send it off to be processed and I get the images printed and scanned. Sometimes I post them on here and sometimes I use them for other artworks, layering them and manipulating them. But the photographs – the printed images – remained, stuck in a cupboard, languishing. They are pictures of my travels, my family, moments of beauty and grace; they are memories. Each one tells a story.

The physical image is still important, isn’t it? I’m glad I took them out; now I can stop and smile, and breathe again when I look up at that wall. And here I am, posting again, so that’s got to be good! I guess sometimes we all need to press the re-set button, mix things up a little, and change the background scenery.

 

Emilyx

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© words and images by Emily Hughes, 2017

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breathe

When I push the shutter release, I close my eyes.

(Annelies Strba, from Shades of Time)

 pink2

breathe, 2014

I have done a lot of reflecting during this holiday period. I’ve read a lot of blog posts and facebook updates about fresh starts and being thankful and realising what’s important, and all that. I’m not knocking any of it. It’s all good and true, of course. It’s been refreshing, and liberating, to have some time to just be without the pressures of work and the day-to-day (of course I know this is only a temporary state, so I’m bracing myself for the full onslaught which comes with immersing myself back into the deep end of life). One thing which has struck me head on, though, throughout all the great stuff (and there is lots of great stuff!) is just how busy 2014 has been. And not entirely in a good way. I always like being busy. I need busy. But I have learned it is definitely not good to busy yourself to the point that you find yourself collapsing in a crumpled heap over the finish line on your hands and knees with a white flag between your teeth. It ends, usually, in tears, frustration and wounds, the kind of which you can’t slap a plaster on; the kind which take much time and effort to heal. It benefits no-one in the end, least of all you.

So at the start of this year. This shiny, brand spanking new clean sheet of a year, I am going to gift myself some much needed advice.

Just give yourself a moment.

Just breathe.
Breathe in
and out.

Look.
Close your eyes
and
see.

 

Happy New Year to all, and I wish you a peaceful, fulfilling and inspiring year ahead.

 

© images and words Emily Hughes, 2015

In defense of daydreaming

We are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is nothing but an expression of poetry that was lost.

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

 

in defense of daydreaming1

 shelter me from the storm

In defense of daydreaming2

lose me in the mists of time

Who gives a truer account of history? The poet, or the historian?

Thank you to Chris Bronsk and his excellent post repercussions for reminding me about and bringing me back to Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, which I have always read and savoured as an unreserved celebration of the pure joy of intimate poetic expression. The power of the poetic image is something which transcends history, time and even language. It is able to speak directly to our consciousness without the need for translation or interpretation. Through poetry, we can connect with our past, and with our imagination. Bachelard believed that “for a simple poetic image there is no project; a flicker of the soul is all that is needed.”

I have always been a fierce defender of daydreaming, and make time for it every day. I believe it is more than ‘escapism’; daydreaming makes us more open to the possibility of poetry – both receiving it and expressing it. It gives us the opportunity to indulge our dreams, create and practice the possibility of alternative realities; to reflect, be brave and honest with ourselves, and speak directly to our weary souls which are generally neglected, bruised and battered by the necessary drudgery of the day-to-day. Indeed, Bachelard has also been linked with the surrealist project which advocated the practice of (day)dreaming, or dislocation from reality, as a deliberate political act. Ultimately though, daydreaming (the ‘irrational’ primitive realm of dreams, poetry and imagination) provides us with a counterpoint to rational thought, and can actually help us to live happier, more fulfilled lives.

Let us then safeguard reverie, as our rich inner lives provide a vital antidote to reality, and I hope that today you are able to carve out a little chink in your busy schedule for daydreaming.

 

 

© images and content Emily Hughes, 2014

Give me light

Give me light before gold2

 

I made this picture a few weeks ago. It was a perfect sunny afternoon – one of those first precious ones of early Spring which you just want to soak up slowly, deliciously. I was sitting at my desk working and listening to Tell Me by Troubadour Rose (if you don’t know the band you should check them out – Bryony’s lyrics are just gorgeous). Sometimes a line in a song just gets you, and sparks something. Anyway, I put this together and posted it on twitter and the band tweeted me back just an hour or so later to say they loved it! You hear many negative things about the internet these days, but really it’s a wonder – such a powerful tool for communication.

 

 

 

 

© images and content Emily Hughes, 2014

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