Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!


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April has been busy

I love Spring. All the shades of green start appearing, flowers start blooming, babies start arriving out on the moors… and the gardening at home gets underway.

This year I helped with a massive back garden overhaul and reconstruction which has been extremely satisfying. It is your typical terraced house walled and fenced back garden… approximately 20 x 22 feet so not all that huge, but we’ve got a lot of things in and are really thrilled with what we’ve accomplished.

We took 4 or 5 loads of stuff to the tip, put a lot in the regular household waste, and got rid of other things. Some things are being repurposed. We also scrounged up some paving bricks and stepping stones for free. And spent quite a lot too, on paving slabs, lumber, plants, seeds, etc. with some more spending coming in the next month when I have to pot up the summer plants.

Neither of us thought to take before photos, which is annoying as we were planning this serious project involving removing soil and sod, pavers, laying new pavers and moving others, adding concrete and generally building new things and doing repairs. But there you go. I am the worst about remembering to take photos of things.

I pulled out a large dead cedar shrub, yanked out other large shrubs and plants, and pruned a couple of boxwoods within a inch of their lives and a lot of other plants were seriously hacked back as well. We hauled out old plastic mini-shed, old planters, wood edging from around all the beds, metal, broken swing, etc. Anne tore up the old sod and dug out where it had been in order to lay new pavers – we filled up dozens of rubble bags with that. She also repaired the shelter roof which had been torn off in the winds storms back in Feb/March.

I had to dig out two manhole covers – storm drains apparently. I cleared away the dirt and other debris that had built up on top of them as access is supposed to be available. Well… Anne stepped on the top of one and the lid flipped up and down she went! One leg, down the hole. She was spectacularly bruised, but no other injury, thank goodness. They are now each covered with a large, heavy, paving slabs with a water fountain sitting on the back one. We filled the area with gravel to level up the slabs. Hopefully Anne won’t end up in the drain again.

We bought lumber to create new edging for the flower beds – I directed and Anne cut and screwed it all together. I moved pavers that I uncovered buried in various parts of the garden, cleaned them up and paved other areas with them.

I bought a large raised planter, more pots and lots of seeds and plants. We’ve spent close to four weeks all told and I’m calling Phase One complete now. The rest of what is planned is summer planting – so we have to wait for the warmer weather at the end of May.

The photos start looking out of the kitchen door, then work around to the dining room door, then towards the back fence.

My herbs and vegetables will all be in planters, including the large wooden trough against the wall – that’s my salad garden. The fish pond has been cleaned out, new filters in, new pond weed and the fish seem happy.

Anne bought a heated propagator . the heat was NOT required, but we didn’t realize that until the giant cucumbers and squash started pushing the lids off 4 days later! We’ve named them Audrey Three through Fourteen. We now have them in larger pots and recycled coffee cups… we won’t have room for everything that needs potting up! We can’t put the rest out until the end of May at least.

I’ve been productive out at the glass studio too this month, making more sunflower items – bowls, clocks, etc. We’ve been very pleased with the response to our Ukraine Appeal fundraiser – 50% of the sale price of all sunflower themed items is donated to the DEC Appeal/Red Cross.

Large Bowl (sold)
Small bowls in progress – second batch
Small bowls – two still available
Clock faces – hands and mechanisms will be added this week
Tealights, hangers and parts of a mobile
Mobile, laid out… awaiting the chain to link it all together

Spring has also been productive out on Dartmoor! All the babies bounding about, blocking the roads -but really, who minds waiting when you can watch a lamb or foal nursing?

The bluebells are out now too… but I haven’t managed any flower photos… yet.

Hope you’re having a good Spring.


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Sunflowers and more

Our two auctions of fused glass mosaic sunflower pictures are complete – one went for £60 and the other for £55, we’ve also donated another £18 from our sunflower sales. So far our total is £133 to the DEC Ukraine Appeal via the Red Cross in the UK. We have more sold which is still to be processed, and more items were put out yesterday. And I’ve more in the kiln!

50% of the sale price of all sunflower themed items is being donated to the Ukraine Appeal on an ongoing basis.

I’ve been making small sunflower pieces as fridge magnets which we are selling for £5. My first batch of seven sold to a customer before they were even finished! He saw them on the work surface where they were waiting for the magnets to be affixed and bought the lot of them! I’ve another 30 in the kiln so they will be out in the shop on the weekend.

Fridge Magnets – fused glass sunflowers, size varies but approximately 2″ (6 cm) and “squarish”

I’ve created five more pictures that are now for sale, these are smaller than the ones we auctioned off. There are three in the plain wood frames, and two in the white frames.

Next work session I am planning to make windchimes using the same colours – it is a bit of an experiment. I know the glass has a nice ping, but playing around with the length of the rods to make it melodious will be interesting. After that I am moving on to create some bowls and tealights.

It is always exciting to open the kiln in the morning as glass can have a mind of its own, so it is a relief when everything looks like I intended it to!

Most of my time is spent preparing the glass I need to make all of these items. I spent days snipping yellow glass for petals, breaking up the blue for backgrounds, and cutting stems and leaves. But the hardest is making dots. For the larger items I am planning to make I need small round dots of glass to create the centres of the flowers so I have to make them. It means I need very small pieces of glass, which I put in the kiln neatly so they won’t touch and fuse together, then I have to pick them out one by one…

This lot is around 1200 dots, near as I can figure… so that means I performed a repetitive motion 4800 times in around a 24 hour period. My right wrist and shoulder are still sore.

Yesterday we created a new window display out at Serendipity Glass Design which is in the Ox Yard at Buckland Abbey (National Trust property – Sir Francis Drake used to live there!) with the sunflowers and tied in the colours of the other items in the shop.

If you are interested in any of the items I’ve posted you can message Serendipity Glass Design via Facebook or email at sales@serendipityglassdesign.co.uk


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Our second fundraiser for Ukraine

This week we are auctioning off a second fused glass mosaic picture I created to raise funds for the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal. 100% of the winning bid amount will be donated.

The frame is 33 x 28 cms and can be wall-mounted or free standing.

Auction runs until Friday, March 18th at 4 p.m. GMT. Further details and bidding is on Serendipity Glass Design’s Facebook page – Click HERE to reach the auction.

Our piece from last week went for the winning bid of £60 and it was quite a bit smaller that this work. This one took a full day to assemble, not counting all the pre-cutting of the petals and the rest! But I really enjoy the process even with the cuts, pokes and blisters.

Further sunflower themed items are ready to post once we get them mounted. These will be for sale with 50% of the purchase price being donated.

I’ve spent days pre-cutting petals, leaves and squares to use in the making of the sunflower designs and I have enough on hand to go straight into mass production starting tomorrow. There will be smaller framed pictures, standing panels, suncatchers, keyrings/magnets, tealights and possibly lanterns, coming soon.

12″ standing Sunflowers will be on sale next week.

Check in with Serendipity Glass Design on Facebook to see the latest items for sale as they are posted.


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Support for Ukraine

It is really hard to sit here in comfort and safety while watching and hearing what is happening to Ukraine and the Ukrainians fleeing for safety.

I did make a cash donation but it felt like there was no effort involved, if you know what I mean?

So this week in the studio I’ve been making glass mosaic sunflower pictures and items and we are auctioning them off to raise money for the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal.

We’ve got the first framed fused glass picture up on auction right now until Friday, March 11 at 4 p.m. GMT. Bidding and details are on Serendipity Glass Design’s FB Page at Serendipity Glass Design.

I’ve got another, larger, one finished and we’ll be posting the auction for that one on Wednesday.

And I’ve started making smaller items – small pictures, standing glass panels/tealights, suncatchers, coasters, and keychains – which will be for sale in the shop and online once they’re finished and fired.

The effort to physically produce these pieces makes me feel like I am doing something. The work of cutting and laying the glass gives me a feeling of satisfaction and a fair amount of back pain to work through. I ripped all the skin off the inside of my right thumb snipping glass and required four bandages for pokes and cuts – my one day record – yesterday.

My discomfort in no way resembles what the people of Ukraine are suffering – I cry a lot watching the news or doom-scrolling on Twitter. I have stopped turning on the news as soon as I wake up in the morning as I am scared to hear what the latest developments are. I catch up later in the day.

I hope you can check out the auction for my sunflower art on the link Serendipity Glass Design and share it with your friends and followers. Any support is appreciated.


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2022 isn’t doing so well

I had high hopes for things taking an upswing in 2022, after two years of lockdowns and everything else, but here we are in a right fine mess.

I sent a donation to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders – the link will take you to their page on their Ukraine programs. We have donated to this organization for many years, as well as to the Red Cross. If you can, please donate to organizations who are providing support to the Ukrainian people.

Sunflowers for Ukraine

As we live next to a naval base with nuclear subs, I’m not too stressed – if the nukes fly we’ll probably not even feel it – instant vapourization, thankfully. I’m not keen on trying to survive a nuclear winter in a post-apocalyptic world.

In other news… it is Spring. Daffodils and snowdrops everywhere and I’m starting to see flying bugs now too.

In the glass studio I finished my first clock – it is on a 12″ transparent base and is a rose trellis. I’m happy with it! It is on the living room wall now.

For the last several weeks I’ve been making thousands of glass “dots” to use in work I’m planning to start soon. I figure that the more I make now, while sorting out scrap and bits of random frit (glass crumbles,) the less time I will have to spend making them later when I start making Christmas decorations again. It is time consuming and bending over the kiln to put the tiny bits of glass in, then pick them out again the next morning is killing my back… but, no one said art wouldn’t hurt! LOL

We’re two months into the year so it looks like it will pass quickly for me again. I’ve been in the UK for six months now, but it honestly feels like I’ve been here a lot longer. I am loving it here (except for the Covid and war in Europe, of course!)

My long term plan was to travel all over Europe using the UK as my base, but that was before we entered the pandemic. Now I’m thinking I’ll travel west – Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly, Ireland and Iceland and explore up and down Great Britain – once I’m comfortable with the idea. I’m still not comfortable with crowds and unmasked people. Still have my mask on outside the house.

Stay safe.


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What was done in ’21

Here is to wishing everyone a better 2022!

So far… it is okay. Betty White died yesterday on December 31, 2021 – so at least we aren’t going to blame 2022 for that.

Another year that seemed to be longer than it really was is now over. I really am hoping this pattern will end soon. Time is supposed to go by faster than this.

I have to look back at my posts on social media and in my day-timer to remember what actually happened. Parts of the year seem to be many years ago rather than just months.

2021 was both a drag and exciting. In no particular order (I tried to be chronological but it got messed up!) these are the highlights.

  • My final semester started in full lock-down in January – we were 100% online until mid-term.
  • In February I was notified that I was the recipient of the 2020 Sabat Family Scholarship for Academic Excellence in Fine Art ($1,000) by Durham College.
  • My midterm marks were 91%, 97%, 98%, 100% and 100%.
  • I received offers from three schools to complete a degree in Fine Art
    • from IT Sligo in Ireland (which is now becoming Atlantic Technological University) for a BA (Hons) at the Yeats Academy of Arts, Design & Architecture. This is a one-year (Sept to May) add-on to get the degree – they gave me credit for three years advanced placement.
    • from the Arts University of Bournemouth in the UK for a MA Fine Art. This is a 12-month program full-time. They also awarded me a £5,000 bursary for tuition. (They suggested the MA, bypassing the BA, due to my three year advanced diploma and over 20 year career in the arts!)
    • from Plymouth College of Art in the UK. Their offer was for a BA (Hons) but they would only gave me credit for one year so I would have to complete a minimum of two more years with them to get their degree – I declined this offer outright.
  • I applied for the Government of Ireland – International Education Scholarship and was notified I was a finalist for consideration.
  • I deferred the offers to 2022 as I didn’t want to continue in the pandemic caused “hybrid learning models” that post secondary institutions were/are operating on. It is a lot of money to attend school as an international student and I don’t enjoy online learning models.
  • Was able to get back into the campus studio mid-February to continue working on my Fine Art thesis project – I spent on average four days a week there!
  • I had three works in the Annual All-Student Juried Show at the Station Gallery in Whitby, ON which ran for the month of April. It was limited attendance due to the pandemic restrictions.
  • I was nominated (one of three students from our program) to represent Durham College’s Fine Art program in the national BMO 1st ART! 2021 art competition. The nominated work was my thesis project so I had to install it in the college studio to get photographs for the competition submission by the May 15th deadline.
  • April 16th was the last day of classes – my last official day of my Fine Arts – Advanced Diploma. I, however, continued to work on my thesis in the studio until June!
  • April 16th was also the day I received my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine!
  • My final grades for my last semester at Durham College were 93%, 97%, 99%, 100% and 100%. Out of seven semesters I had four with GPAs of 5.0. My overage GPA was 4.98.
  • End of April we were back in full lockdown.
  • Received my credentials from Durham College in the mail. My diploma was sent in a cardboard mailer with a form letter. Pretty anticlimactic really. Ontario Colleges Diploma in Fine Art – Advanced, with Honours, from Durham College. On the President’s Honour Roll and College Honour Roll.
  • Finalized my thesis project and installed it in the studio on campus. As we were not going to have an actual gallery show due to the pandemic, I created a dedicated blog for my thesis – “Anthropocene of the Crime.” I put a lot of work into the project and not being able to have people interact with it in person was a huge disappointment – the blog at least lets me share that research and the 58 individual paintings that are part of the project, representing 60 threatened species. You can check out that blog here Anthropocene of the Crime.
  • June 14th we had our virtual show and artists’ talks with the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa in lieu of our Annual Grad Show. It was a live event -they now seem to have removed the links from their website which is a bummer, but it is still up on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nEaRwXsthU my segment starts at 57:07.
  • I applied for a UK Ancestry Visa (I’ve been planning to move to the UK since 2015 but got delayed due to various life events) and received it within a week of the in-person appointment at the Visa office in early July.
  • Received my second dose of Pfizer on June 28th!
  • Spent all spring and summer downsizing my life – selling and donating belongings, selling as much art as possible, scanning and tossing paperwork – in anticipation of having my entire life fit in three large suitcases (plus carry-on luggage.)
  • Sold most of my thesis paintings – kept three for myself which are in my room. My favourite ones, that I had been planning to keep, sold right away – which is because they were the BEST ones!
  • Booked and attended appointments in anticipation of leaving the country at the end of August. My flight was booked for August 26th. There were lots of medical and other things to deal with before leaving!
  • I left Canada from Pearson International in Toronto on August 26th and arrived at Heathrow, London around 10:30 a.m. on August 27th. I then quarantined for 10 days and two negative PCR tests. I’m living with friends in Plymouth, England.
  • We went on a week holiday to Yorkshire in September staying in a gorgeous cottage – we took daytrips to York, Bridlington, Harrowgate, Harewood House, the Wensleydale Cheese Factory, Bolton Castle, etc. Traffic was manic on the motorways – should only have taken 5 hours to drive there, but it took 11!
  • Got on with a surgery in Plymouth (that’s a doctor’s office if you aren’t English!) and got referred to Ophthalmology for my eyes. I am VERY impressed with the NHS. I’ve had two treatments in each eye to-date, with another already scheduled have been waitlisted for surgery prior to them switching treatments…
  • I’m working with Anne in her glass studio and having a load of fun creating all the fused glass Christmas ornaments for the shop and how starting on spring themed items. Current project is a clock with a rose trellis on it.
  • Got my booster shot on December 14th – this one was Moderna.
  • And I’ve just received my unconditional offer letter from IT Sligo for the one-year add-on for a BA (Hons) in Fine Art for September 2022 start. I’m not sure about what my final decision is going to be about going for the degree… the pandemic has messed up my timeline and caused a major rethink of my goals in that regard. I’ve got until March to let them know.
“Birds on a Wire” one of the works in the April 2021 show at the Stations Art Gallery.
Final finished thesis project “Anthropocene of the Crime” May/June 2021
Harewood House in Yorkshire – they filmed part of the Downton Abbey movie here. It is stunning! September 2021.
Fused glass Christmas ornaments December 2021 (this was early on, more and different items were made as the season progressed.)
Current fused glass project – 10″ diameter clock face which is a rose trellis. December 2021.
The Great Barn at Buckland Abbey. Anne has her glass studio in The Ox Yard there (which is just behind me as I took this photo!) This is a National Trust property in Dartmoor National Park – used to be Sir Francis Drake’s place. October 2021.

All the best to everyone for 2022. Fingers crossed we can get out of this cycle of pandemic variants and get back to free travel and movement!


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Time flies when you’re having fun!

This has been the longest gap between posts on this blog – and I’ve been posting here since 2009! All I can say is that I’ve been busy with new things in a new home in a new country and have completely ignored technology. No mobile phone activity and barely remember that I have a computer – every week to 10 days I may remember to check for email and messages!

I’ve been helping out my friend in her glass studio making Christmas ornaments and playing with fused glass which I enjoy. I’ve done some miniature paintings but most are in progress and had to be packed away due to the table being required for other purposes before I got them finished. I’ll get them done eventually.

I am starting to make bigger things in glass – coasters, clocks, pictures for framing (florals!) and some pure art pieces. I’ve been experimenting with making different types of flowers – testing how hot/long to put them in the kiln for to get the results I want.

I am EXTREMELY impressed with the NHS (National Health Service in the UK). Amazing service and so far very nice and friendly staff/practitioners everywhere I’ve been.

Covid is still booming here… and I’ve continued to wear my mask every time I go anywhere – just shopping and the studio. I won’t go to restaurants, etc. No way will I remove my mask around strangers! The new variant – Omicron – is surging but the Government here is wishy-washy about imposing “rules” it is all “suggestions and recommendations.” Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have imposed strict rules again, but England… phfft.

I got my booster here mid-December – Moderna for the booster (Pfizer for my first two shots.)

I’m enjoying being a dog friend again. Pippa the Morkie took a few weeks to accept me, but when she did… wow! LOL Seems I’m her best bud now. One morning I took her for a walk around 7 a.m. The next morning she was waiting outside my bedroom door at 7 a.m. I can’t move around my room to dress when I wake or she’s at the door whimpering softly in the mornings.

The weather is warm, not what I am used to for the end of December! We’re at 14C-ish for daily highs! Rainy and windy – we are right on the water here so it can be pretty intense with storms and tidal surges.

I’ve been binging on documentaries this week – mostly about Ancient Egypt. Lots of new information from 2018 and later! It has been awhile since I’ve got new information.

I got one of my diptychs framed – loved how they turned out! They are now up in the living room (aka lounge).

Suffrage & Suffering

When we drive out to the studio we are driving through Dartmoor National Park – sheep and ponies everywhere! One day the ponies surrounded us, blocking us on the road… took a few minutes before they moved to let us go… people feed them from their cars (which is ILLEGAL!!) so I guess they were looking for something.

The lanes here are scary! When you meet oncoming traffic one of you has to back-up to a spot wide enough to pass… Luckily Anne knows all the spots! And at night… !? Forget about it!

I’ve decided, at least for now, that I am not interested in driving over here! Too stressful just being a passenger! Wrong side of the road, narrow lanes, hedgerows you can’t see over/around. Since the last time I was here in 2011 the size of the vehicles on the road has increased substantially! Back then and earlier, it was rare to see a pick-up truck or full-sized SUV anywhere – just the occasional Land Rover on stately estates, etc. The parking spots and roads are NOT designed for the larger vehicles which makes parking at the grocery store somewhat challenging at times!

I’m going to try to get my annual “year in review” post up this weekend. Hard to believe another whole year has passed, particularly seeing as it really wasn’t much better than the previous year due to the pandemic, but I did realize/complete several milestones/important things!


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Cor blimey, I’m in England!

First chance to post here. Taking a day to chill and just rest finally. Just me and the dog in the house today.

Last Thursday (Aug 26th) I left Canada, and headed off to the airport to fly to the UK. It was a long term (6 year) plan which had been delayed along the way due to life events. I decided I wasn’t going to delay it any longer! I figured trying to wait the Pandemic out was going to take longer than I wanted to wait.

I had to take a flight with one layover due to changing my departure date and not being able to get the direct flight for the date I wanted to leave. That made the trip a lot longer – 11.5 vs 6.5 hours! And to top that off, we had an over two hour delay in Montreal! The agent announced the delay and told us it was because the plane had been upgraded and the assigned crew was not qualified on the new equipment, so they had to call up a crew and fly them there from Toronto! So the flight ended up being close to 14 hours. Add in the early arrival at the airport, and the queues at Heathrow, the trip took 18.5 or so hours in total to exit the airport on arrival.

I was able to upgrade to Business Class – they had a “sale” on the upgrade. I was happy to pay to be further away from people who were removing their masks to eat and drink! I was triple masked from the time I left home until I was in the parking lot at Heathrow, did NOT remove it at all. So no eating OR drinking until I guzzled a 1500ml bottle of water once we got to the car. I managed to get around 4 hours of sleep on the flight which was great, I felt like I’d had a night’s sleep and was functioning normally. Even woke up the next morning at my normal time of 5 a.m. (in local time!)

I am shocked by the lack of masks over here. No wonder the UK numbers of new cases is skyrocketing. Makes me very nervous. I will, of course, continue to wear masks when I go out anywhere. Which hopefully will be next week!

I’m in quarantine as I flew the Thursday before they announced Canada was moved to the Green List as of Monday, August 30th. So annoyed! I’m at home for 10 days, and have to do a test on Day 2 and Day 8. I haven’t received my results for my Day 2 test yet, and tomorrow is my Day 8. Which I’m a little concerned about. Had to be mailed and my day 2 was a Sunday, and the Monday was a Bank Holiday here… so I’m assuming it was delayed. I can’t leave the house so it was dropped off to be mailed by someone else.

I’m still working my way through all the notifications and address changes – the less important ones, got the important ones done before I left. Have forms that I need to submit to both the Canadian government and financial institutions regarding my residency for tax purposes.

I don’t have a long term plan for this… I’m planning to go where the wind and my whims take me. So more school, work, adventure, moves… who knows, really. It is all going to depend on what is possible to do in this new reality the world is in.

I’m the one in the mask(s)… Anne just caught me in arrivals at Heathrow.


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Pretty sure THIS is my last post from Canada!

I know I said three posts ago that that one was probably my last post from Canada… but it wasn’t. I’m organized, lists made, appointments booked, etc. so to “relax” I write posts.

But I only have three more sleeps until I leave now! So I am pretty sure that this will, for real, be my last post until I am in the UK.

My room is VERY bare – I’ve sold all my personal furnishings and taken at least a dozen loads to donate to the thrift store (by bus) over the last two months. My room is furnished so I am not sitting on the floor!

Tomorrow I go for my PCR test (required 72 hours prior to arrival in the UK). That is making me nervous. I’ve been taking strict precautions, but if I happen to test positive what the hell am I going to do? My lease is up this Friday, they have already rented it for September. Where would I go to wait out a quarantine and further tests? The cost of staying in a hotel for two weeks… NOT in my budget, but that would be the only alternative. Changing the flight is not an issue thankfully and my entry visa is good for 90 days, but…. that is stressing me.

Other than that, I pretty confident everything is under control. I’ve got my spreadsheet of things to do – I’m holding off until I get my test results to do the official address changes. As most, if not all, can be done online, that isn’t a big problem. Most things I get online so getting snail mail isn’t really an issue, and I’ve made arrangements with a roommate in case something does show up in the short term.

I changed my cellphone plan… I’m rather annoyed as it is LESS than my current plan! But, if the phone activates there is a daily roaming fee (only IF the phone pings a tower) that is in effect for 24 hours. So I’ll just plan to do anything I need to use that phone for all on the same day, or connect to the wifi.

I’m packed. But went through my luggage, again, today and probably will again on Wednesday. I am worried about weight – need to make sure I am not over. I don’t know how accurate the scale is, so need to allow a little wiggle room. I weighed everything again, and it all looks good – as long as the scale is right! Also, my carry-on is 25lbs and I haven’t got everything in it! My back pack is over 12lbs. So… all my worldly goods weigh under 200lbs. Does that seem sad to you?

The Big Three… two under 50lbs (barely!) and one over.
The blue things will be in the black things when I’ve finished putting things in them.

For me culling and sorting is a process. I start off with a list of things I really want to keep, then as I start actually sorting to pack, I remove things. I am now at the stage where everything DOES fit in my luggage HOWEVER, the weight… that is a real concern. So now I am taking out things that I do not need, I would like to keep, BUT they are not necessary and don’t actually serve a purpose, so they will go to the thrift store.

How I look at it now is that if my goal is to travel for most of the rest of my life, what is the point of physical objects that are purely decorative or sentimental? Particularly if they don’t mean anything to anyone but me? Why carry them around? Little things that can fit in a pocket are one thing, small furnishings or heavy art objects are really not required. I will take photos or scan things that can be, and that is good for the memory trips if I want to reminisce.

My last run to the thrift store will be Wednesday morning. At that point this room will be like a jail cell, with luggage. Then cleaning and sorting out things for the dumpster. Up very early Thursday to strip the bed, get rid of the mattress pad, eat breakfast, toss left over food, take out all my trash, sort the cleaning supplies, etc. My ride is picking me up at 9:30 am.

It feels like this is happening so fast… but I’ve been planning it since 2015 really, with hiccups along the way, but… FINALLY!!!


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An Artist’s Quandary

Tell me… do you keep ALL your sketchbooks?

I mean, every single one you’ve ever used? Or just the ones with good stuff or important things you want to follow-up on?

It seems to be a accepted thing that we SHOULD keep them, but how realistic is that?

If you’ve kept yours, do you actually use or refer to them? How are they of value to you 10, 20, 50 years on?

Historically I was keeping most of mine, just because I hated throwing out anything I spent time on – it wasn’t an issue to carry them when we moved (considering my family had 19 bookcases full of books and collectibles, a couple more boxes made no difference!) Most of them weren’t even full. I had some going back to grade school. And lots of random bits of paper with doodles on them that I saved as I thought they were particularly good.

But I had to cull substantially when I sold my house and downsized in 2017. I just kept the pages/drawings that I thought were either good or an idea I wanted to keep. It was sometimes hard, but a lot of what is in a sketchbook was just filler that served no purpose other than to kill time or practise.

I also have a paper fetish so buy new ones just because they are on sale, or I want to try a different paper finish or weight or size. That’s not even all of it on that shelf, the bigger pads are stored elsewhere. This was early this year – that’s all gone, except for a small selection of my preferred sizes that I was able to fit into my luggage.

Bottom shelf, all brand new – there are 37 different items there!

Now, because I am moving to another country with as few things as I possibly can, I’ve gone through everything and scanned work that I want to keep a record of and some process/planning sketches from finished projects and trashed the originals.

Planning sketches for a project 2019

At least with modern technology I can scan or photograph anything I want to – which is making the whole process of destroying my “babies” tolerable even if I still feel bad about it.

It was hard but, sigh, I can’t carry a ton of stuff around that NEVER gets referred to. And really… unless it is a current sketchbook that I am actively working in, it doesn’t get looked at unless I am going through the process of culling.

I don’t think I have EVER actually filled up or used up an entire sketchbook or artist’s pad in my life. I’m close on two currently… one I’m working in and keeping. The other is going to get tossed – I’ve photographed or scanned the parts I want to keep out of it.

These are/were the 2020/21 in use sketchbooks

All this made me wonder… do artists REALLY keep ALL their sketchbooks?