Sunday, 8 March 2015

Hare Raising Moments

Late, on the night before yesterday’s market, I put the finishing touches to two new little fellows that I created… or were they born, with just a little help from me?

Holding each one up in front of me for assessment, I warmed at the look in their eyes, and gave them a kiss on the nose.

As I busied myself preparing my trusty, sturdy, huge cane basket for the next day, I caught Harry giving the “newbies” a pep talk on how not to be nervous on their first outing into the big, scary world.

He’s such a wonderful mentor, that worldly hare.

I only took two hares to market on Saturday.  I had hoped to have three or four ready for their first debut this month, but, it was best I give two the attention to detail, rather than more that would be hastily put together.
I don’t want to condemn myself to “mass production”.  These are to be one of a kind. Some may be similar, but never be carbon copies.

Harry, of course, was not for sale, but was present for moral support – for me, as much as for the new boys.

To be honest, I haven’t had much confidence in how the new additions of soft sculpture art dolls would be received at my stall.

“Will people like them?”
“Are they too weird for people to get?”
“Do they look okay?”
“Are they appealing to others, not just me?”
“Have I asked too much or too little for them?” Especially considering the work that went into them - or did I not put in enough?
“Am I crazy to even attempt this?”
“Who buys such things?”

I dropped my head, stared at the floor and thought finally, “what a stupid idea to think of doing this. I’m not a seamstress. I feel like a phoney.”

Too many questions.  So many doubts.
The tortured mind of an artist with little self confidence.
Again, I am plagued with demons from the past.
How bloody hard it is to get my own mother’s acerbic comments swept out of the shaded recesses of my mind corners once and for all.


Once, long ago, I came home with a “less than ideal” school report.
As usual, my maths mark was a fail.
Watching the disappointment on my mother’s face, as her gaze slid from subject title to the result, my heart withered and my stomach twisted.
Even though my Arts and English had an A+ in the column next to them, I knew she was vexed.

Reaching into the top drawer of her bedside table - the one that rattled with bottles, upon bottles, upon bottles of pills for all ailments, real and imagined - she pulled out a small black velvet box.
With venom in her raspy voice, she said, “I was going to give this to you if you came home with high marks in maths”, as she grasped the lid with nicotine stained fingertips and slowly opened it to reveal a pretty sterling silver bangle inside, nestled on a bed of cushioned cream coloured silk.
“But instead, I’m going to give this to your best friend Denise, because she is so much smarter than you and deserves it more”.

I died a little that day.
No matter how hard I try, I can’t forgive her for that. And, try I have. Even after all these years.
Move on. Yes I have, but such a poison filled barb can’t be removed. It’s lodged too deep.


And so, “the boys” were the last to be put out.
My hands were trembling. My heart in my mouth.
I wanted to hide, as stall holders watched them be placed high on the old wooden crate.

Then, one by one, they came to the front of my table and commented… no, gushed, in admiration.

“Did you MAKE THESE?”
“Can I touch them?”
“Of course!” I replied. “You can HUG them. They like that.”

A hug. Something so simple. Yet, so POWERFUL.
Something I very rarely ever received as a child. A heart devoid of hugs. So very sad.

As the boys were cooed over, held, appraised and delighted in, I felt something in me relax.
The breath that had caught, and been held, in my throat, gently escaped in a low sigh.

Even a market organiser came by, took a photo and told me how wonderful they were.

As admirers drifted back to their stalls, customers began to turn up.
Many stopped to buy a brooch, pendant, incense holder, plate or mini jug.  Or, to place an order for this or that.
Comments on my “lovely ceramics” were, as always, gratefully received.
But my surprise was how many stopped short to say how “amazing” my soft sculptures were. “They have so much character!” was oft exclaimed.
A few people asked if I took credit cards, as they didn’t have cash. No, I don’t. They said they’ll be back next month, if I will still have them for sale. I replied that there will be more to choose from, and they beamed me a smile.

More than once, I was asked, “how much for the larger one”.
I think Harry looked a little terrified at one point, as one particular lady wouldn’t leave without being convinced that I just wouldn’t sell him :)

What I am astonished by, is the amount of men who stopped and slowly appraised my trio, then leave with a wink and a, “very nice work”.
Considering that women make up the greater number of market goers, while their partners stand silently by their sides as they make purchases, it was interesting to note that men actually commented on my creations.

As the day drew on, a woman approached me, her husband next to her, and said, “I’ve been by your stall three times, and I honestly can’t go home without this one”.  She pointed to the stripy legged hare.
I think my mouth was agape for a second as I stared at her almost incoherently.
Then my brain began to fire on all pistons again and kicked into gear. “I’ll pop him into a bag for you”, as I reached over and held him, for the last time.

“Does he have a name”, asked her husband.
Remembering back, just a couple of nights ago, to when my own hubby came home from work and walked into my studio. He took one look at the hare sitting on my knee, resplendent in his oh-so-cute black and white striped leggings and black fabric boots, as I sewed a little patch of red linen over his tummy and said, “Nice. He looks like a Randolph”.

I contemplated his noble Roman nose and bright eyes.
Yes, Randolph.

I told the couple his name.
As the husband paid for him, the woman looked at him with a smile as she grasped the bag lightly and said, “well Randolph, you’re coming home with us”.

She thanked me, then walked away with my - now her - hare facing backwards, towards me.
The jaunty, bobbing motion of her walk made it appear that the wee coffee-stained calico, gentle young hare was waving me goodbye with his soft paw above the brown paper bag. His carefully fringed eyes twinkling in the light, as he disappeared into the crowd forever.

And, I wept into my scarf.

Such emotion over a silly little thing. But one that meant a lot to me.
It wasn’t so much the sale of my sewn creation.
It was the immense support given to me by a total stranger. Support in the purchase of something created from my heart. From my very soul.
Support that I never had from a parent. No matter how much I craved it.

In that very moment, if I could have packed up my stall right there and then and gone home two hours before market end, I would have been happy.
I wanted to go to bed. To sleep upon the crest of a wave of euphoria and gratitude.
A rare moment.

So, a new chapter in my life opens. It's a start. A wobbly one, but a good one.

I remain forever humble, but quietly – ever so quietly – proud of my Self.
Seeing as I couldn’t have that as a child, only I as an adult could give that back to the damaged child within.

And, thank you all, dear friends here at my blog, who come with me on my - often rambling - posts, or rather… journeys.
Your comments lift me when I need them most.
My faith in humanity - and the kindness of strangers - restored.

Strangers no more.

Harry, Randolph and Elliot.


  1. It seems your mother had the same vicious, mean streak that my mum had, although not to us, but towards the step-children and towards "friends" that she thought had wronged her somehow.
    Many times I heard her say, I bought this for so-and-so, but she's done this or that, so I'm not giving it to her now. She sure could hold a grudge, my mum.

    "I warmed at the look in their eyes", I love that! I see warmth in the eyes of my stuffed monkey; I'm very pleased that I'm not the only one who sees such a thing.
    I love Harry, as you already know, and Randolph and Elliot are just as sweet. I'm glad Randolph found a happy new home so quickly. I wish you would email me with a price, I would love to have one of these hares and I'm not in any hurry, so could save over time.

    1. River, I couldn't reply to your comment right away after publishing, because I couldn't see the screen through the tears.
      That you "get" how I feel about my mother, and that you love my hares that much...
      I will email you.

      I suspect that we are not alone when it comes to seeing the warmth the the eyes of our otherwordly beings. They are very special :)

  2. Oh Vicki:
    Tears here. My mother too belonged to that school. For my own good of course.
    And I love, love, love your hares - and that so many other people can see their character and charm. Their individual charm.
    The very best kind of unique.

    1. It seems there are many mothers out there that have a lot to answer for.
      And some, like my mother, will never see the errors of their ways...

      Thank you for your kind comments about my humble, charming creations, EC :)

    2. Your creations are Not humble. Definitely charming.
      And a most excellent reflection of their maker. Their quirky, talented maker.

  3. Oh, those bloody voices :( And it doesn't matter how much you nobly speak them down and put them in their boxes and be very, very good at creating awesomeness despite them, they still come back and yell at you after awesome creation so you feel like maybe you are composed entirely of fecal matter.

    But I think that's what's so wonderful and healing about creating things - the voices speak still, but you look at the things you've made out in the world and they are proof that the voices are lying.

    These wonderful bunnies are just as awesome as you think they are. Love, love, love! They are all etherealness. It's pretty cool how well they complement your clay work, and your clay work complements them.

    It makes me feel sad that we get so barbed so young by people who are cruddy. She didn't deserve you

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful words here, Sue :)

      Yes, I know that emotions will plummet again sometime, as inevitably they do.
      But, my faith in myself, and others, is just that little bit stronger - despite the voices of my horrid past.

      That's what's so awesome about growth. Even though we age, certain cells in our bodies are renewed. Regenerate. Grow.
      And, we never have to stop learning. Growth again.

      I refuse to believe that I can't evolve as best I can, despite poor role models in my life.
      And, I refuse to be like them.

      It is a harder road that we broken children must travel, but, the highs of faith (in ourselves) outweigh the debilitating lows of doubt.
      They have to. Or else, what's the point?

  4. sometimes, we are lucky enough, to do things, which give back a thousand fold. certainly, your sewing these precious hares, was one of those things. you dreamed... you make your dream, into reality... you continued to make more, of your dream... and you are being rewarded, for following your dream.

    I am so happy for you. you have taken another step, to rid yourself, of the toxic upbringing you survived.

    and yes, you survived! not whole... beaten up, yes.... but survived to make a life. and everyday, in which you follow your dreams, you build up the sad little girl inside you. every such day, you bind her wounds and give her the love and the hugs, she has needed, for so long. and thus, you do not just survive.

    you survive with Peace, and Joy, and great Personal Confidence. Hooooooray for you!!!!!!!!!!

    gentle hugs,

    1. I'm crying again, Tessa.
      Thank you.

      Very true, even after all these years, there is still the chance to heal, despite the scars that will never be erased, or the voices that still haunt at times.
      Survival against the odds.
      Survival to turn dreams into reality.

      And, I share some of my dark times here so that others who have gone through similar, don't feel so alone.
      Just as I don't feel so alone anymore. Most of the time.

  5. I'm sitting here crying too.
    I feel your pain, I feel your doubt and yet I shake my head at the fact that you question your talent, but it's understandable why you do.
    Just know that I am in awe.
    I love that you didn't hurry to churn out as many as you could but instead you made it a labor of love as you brought these little hares to life.
    My eyes are filled as I imagine you like Mister Geppetto making his real boy and then I started to cry again as I read how you watched your Randolph go off to his new home, scared but excited. Telling you goodbye and thanking you for creating him with his eyes.
    What an amazing and special person you are.
    I hate that you had to grow up in such a horrible house. But I understand what it feels like to some small degree
    My father would tell me not to waste paper and never cared about any attempts I made at Art.
    I have stories that I will share with you, but not here.
    Just know that you my hero and I'm so glad that you are in this world and that I can call you friend.
    xoxo - Cindi

    1. Haha! Geppetto! I like that.
      Mrs. Geppetto perhaps.
      And, I have the silver-white hair and glasses to match. Although, not the mustache.. at least, not yet :D

      Sometimes, I feel that sharing some dark experiences, creates a connection with others who have similar stories.
      What was it that Nietzsche said... "that which does not kill us, makes us stronger"??
      Lets face it, no one would choose such a childhood/life, but, it's what we do with the time we have after we are free from the tyranny that matters, I think.

      And, you, dear Cindi, inspire me. You have so much on your plate, have a pure heart and still manage to create the lovely artwork that you do. That's inspirational!

  6. Oh, HAPPY TEARS, shared along with you! What a time... And these bunny babies were definitely born, these beauties, Vicki--birthed in your mind, brought forth from your hands. It's a DIVINE thing! ;o) It breaks my heart how hard you had it growing up, and how those inner scars still linger... I'm giving your gold and silver bracelets galore in my heart and mind... YOU deserve every one, my friend. Truly! It's not easy to, but maybe see your bunny pals as gifts of gold you've given yourself--you've earn them through all your goodness. :o) So glad the response was so tremendously good--and that you SOLD!! HOORAY--happy dance!! Such fun to see your market stall, and how you had it all arranged--it's a terrific mix! (Just ou of curiosity,what is the "tree" made of for holding your pendants?) Have you thought about heart brooches to pin on the bunnies--a little extra?! You know incorporating a bit of the ceramics in with the new bunny direction, a little tie in somehow? Oh, happy days!! ((LOVE & BIG HUGS))

    1. They certainly needed to come forth and into the world.
      To be honest, I am still surprised that I made them. I never thought I would have any skills in this medium. As you know, I love textiles so much, but now to be able to "play" with them opens up a whole new world of possibilities!

      Thank you for your words of support, Tracy :)
      All the silver bangles in the world can't replace the kindness from you and all of the wonderful people here.
      It really means so much ♥

      Well, I hadn't thought of pinning a wee ceramic heart to a hare. I have layered, stitched fabric hearts in mind for future creations.
      But, I'll keep the ceramic heart in mind... thanks!

      My pendant tree is fabulous isn't it? I get so many comments about it. And even though it can be a pain to transport due to its size, it is an effective stall display - and, frees up space on my table for other things.
      It is made out of MDF - I'm not sure what it's called over in the US and Europe... compressed fibreboard maybe?
      I decorated it with stamped pages, torn and stuck to it, then sponged lightly to age it slightly.

      Have a wonderful, creative week - I imagine it's warming up a little now, way up on the beautiful top side of the world in which in you live. Looking forward to your new spring inspired goodness to come! xx

  7. let me be your mother. let me crowd out those horrible memories.
    i wish i could say what cindi said so well.
    oh if you could only know who you really are. you are rainbows and mist and wagging tail and mountain air and enchanted gypsy ...
    you are too good for the likes of people like your mother. and i have no qualms in saying that. some people just never should be parents.
    but you are here. and for that we thank her.
    oh darling girl. first tears of pain. now tears of joy.
    these beloved hares will be the start of a new life in many many ways. they came from a secret special place.
    i love you.
    furever. ♥

    1. Oh Tam. You are something better... you are my Gemini soul sister. Always will be, furever ♥

      As I said to Cindi, to have such a childhood is never by choice, but I refused to lower myself to the nasty realm in which my mother lived.
      She went through her own painful experiences when younger, and I understand that. But, instead of breaking the chains that bound her, she perpetuated the poison and projected her misery onto her only child.

      Don't know where I found the strength of will, but I stopped her influence when I ran away from home - and vowed to the heavens that I would never be like her.
      And, I'm not. At all. My wonderful husband and darling, well adjusted, kind, oh-so-very talented musician son can attest to that.

      Although, I am a kooky artist whose head dwells (sometimes too long) in the clouds, rather than a stoic 9 to 5 office worker, with a regular income.
      Oh well, we all have our faults :D

      And, thank you dear Tam. Without your encouragement, I wouldn't have started my blog, and wouldn't have had the utter pleasure of knowing you further and meeting the most wonderful people - now friends - who read my rambling words and comment from their heart.
      Words that can soothe a furrowed brow and help heal a worried soul.
      That makes me cry.

  8. Being someone with her head in the clouds most of the time, I think the world needs more of us! I'm so glad you have your husband and son.

    I left a comment last night, but it hasn't appeared. I might be doing something wrong. I do love your posts and your community here.

    1. Thank you so much, Jean :)
      I agree, I just wish sometimes, that there were more support (financially) and recognition for we who dwell among the clouds. There isn't much of that down this way - it's a very sports dominated society, and "arts" funding suffers.

      And, I am ever so grateful for the wonderful community here.
      The world is a much better place with such kind hearted souls.

      ... sorry about your comment disappearing. It seems to happen sometimes, and I don't know where they go. There must be a giant separate online web out there where all lost comments are stuck in limbo...
      Or, it could just be my darn computer playing up ;)

  9. Vicki, your mother ... your mother ... well, I don't have the words, but I wish I could travel back in time and deal with her for you! She didn't deserve a wonderful person like you for her daughter and you certainly DID NOT deserve a woman like that for a mother.

    And, you're not a seamstress? You are, too! A wonderful one...and a wonderful artist. If I lived near you, I'd buy everything you make. Well, everything I could afford, ha. Your hares are such amazing must never, never stop creating! These things that you make, they're not just "things." They are bringers of joy and I know, as sure as I know the sun will rise tomorrow, that they continue to bring joy to those who were lucky enough to be able to purchase them long, long after they were bought.



    1. Thank you, Victoria. Your words are of great comfort. Truly they are.
      I really don't think I can stop creating. The fire in my belly burns too bright. I'd hate to have to stop... and, I hope I don't ever have to.

      Blow a kiss to dear Mrs. Rose when you see her this evening. xx

  10. This is a wonderful, life-affirming post full of utter gorgeousness! The hares are FAAAAAABULOUS - they look like props for a fairy tale ... maybe they are??

    1. Thanks Red!
      I'm sure these characters are living in their own fairytale realm... while our "mundane" world sleeps :)


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