Sunday, February 7, 2010

Artist to Artist: Ines.

Artist to Artist is a new feature for still life 365. Through a dialogue about the creative process, grief, loss and art, the idea is to learn more about the art you see on still life 365 and the mother, father or family member creating it. In turn, we hope you learn more about your own art, creative process and grief. I hope to make Artist to Artist a regular feature of this blog space. If you have an artist that you would like to learn more about, please email me.

This week, I interviewed Ines, aka forward tumble. Ines is the mother of Fionn who died before he was born in June 2008. After a year of serious illness, she is learning to live her life without her child. Ines has submitted two paintings to still life 365: Phoenix and Gasp.

Ines lives in rural Ireland in a house in a big field two miles from the sea. She maintains a number of blogs: forward tumble; daily forward tumble, chronicling her Creative Everyday Challenge; Fionn, a blog about her son; and tunnel time, a blog about growing vegetables in a poly tunnel in Ireland.

How long have you been doing art?
Art has been a part of my life, in some kind of way, since I was a child. I have memories of my mother encouraging me to paint, craft, be creative without being overbearing. I used to get crafty/arty things for birthdays and Christmas presents (oil paints, sewing machine, that kind of stuff). I enjoyed art in school and was fortunate to attend a school with very good art facilities (bear in mind we're talking about the seventies, early eighties here) and I had nice teachers. But I wasn't serious about it. I enjoy beautiful things. I like looking at nice things and I tried capturing these impressions with what I was doing. But art is not something I would have thought I could do or am "doing." I painted a little bit. I took a few pictures. I made a few marionettes. I played a little bit of clarinet. I danced in my kitchen on my own a little bit. I sang in the shower. I put together some home movies. I drew my own logos, but I never would have considered that art.

Which different media do you work in?
Currently, I'm still taking photos. I paint with watercolours. I've recently started with acrylics. I also craft a bit. I've started to etch/carve into stone and burn into wood. (Stone etching featured at right: Dakota, touchstone, Celtic design carved into Irish beach pebble  approx. 5") Come to think of it, I've been creative for the last twenty years--building things mainly, but more in a bread and butter sort of way. I used to work as a carpenter building furniture. So, in a way, that could be considered part of my creative work, but  it was commercial, my work and a trade. I didn't really think of it that way. But I suppose I've been creative while I worked with wood, and still am. I'd like to get into art with wood and wood carving-- big stuff, tree trunks and chain saws. Perhaps one day.

I've spent a month writing in November working on my first novel. I write everyday. A write a little bit of poetry, too.

Which is your medium of choice?
I don't know. (smile) My art isn't that deliberate, it sort of happens. I'm floating.

Since losing your son Fionn, how has art played a role in your life?
At first, I only dreamt about art. I wanted to make a monument for my son, a shrine, something big to guard his ashes. In the very early days after his death, when we had to make decisions about funeral, cremation and graveyards, we had thought of commissioning a piece of art, maybe from a stone mason, a big guardian angel. But then everything kind of changed. And while I was very sick, I started to think about myself, had images I wanted to paint. But it took me ages to get to actually do it. And it's only since I joined in on an art swap (Dia De Los Muertos  art swap hosted by Kara Jones aka Mother Henna) I started to engage in art in a more deliberate way. I remember being incredibly self-conscious when putting together my first submission. But I've eased off a bit. And since that particular art swap, I have not stopped really. I look at art as a main part of my life now.

Right. I did the Dia de los Muertos swap too. You and I talked a lot about art and grief after that swap. Did you connect with other artists as well?
Well, at first I was fascinated to see what others had done and how many others were involved in art as part of their grieving. Taking part in the art swap has connected me with other grieving art bloggers and has resulted in Jess and I doing a collaboration piece, my poem Never read out loud by her on her new blog After Iris Reads Aloud. We're not that organised at the moment, but we hope to submit our collaboration to 365 soon.

How do you think your art has changed because of your grief?
Well, first of all, I want to recognise that it has changed very much so, but I think it is all entwined with my health and healing, too. I would have never thought this would or could be the case. I don't look at art as something that replicates the beauty of the world I live in anymore, though I still do like beautiful things. There is a special kind of pleasure when I manage to capture something beautiful. But all of a sudden, art has become a brand new form of expression, like a language I'm learning. I'm not sure that everything I do comes from the deep depths of my inner most soul, but sometimes it does. And it is a relief to get it out.

How do you think your grief has changed because of your art?
I'm sure it has, but I can honestly say, I don't know how, and in a way I'm not inclined to push this line of thought or analyse it too much. I don't want to sanitise it.

Do you let your emotions drive you art?
I sometime think of art as a language I'm learning to speak to express parts of me I couldn't express before, not in that way, anyway. So yes, sometimes my emotions, my soul drives my art, and other days I just doodle.

I understand you are doing the Creative EveryDay Challenge. How has that experience been? What drew you to taking on that challenge?
I took the creative everyday challenge because the NaNaNoWriMo taught me the goodness of a challenge and the incredible productivity and creativity that emerges when you get into the habit of something, immersing fully, committing to a process.

I'm just really enjoying doing different things. I need to do something with my life and for now I like being creative in a deliberate sort of way. I love the themes of the challenge. I loved the January theme of the Body and am currently struggling to move on to the next one. It is February now... sigh. But it's brilliant. Being "forced" to think about something completely different is really challenging and annoying and... and some inner voice just told me, that's not different at all. Just a different view point of the same thing.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Ines.
Thank you.

Please feel free to ask Ines questions in the comment section of this post, and continue this discussion about art and grieving. What do you think about your own journey with art and grief?


  1. This is really neat, a nice way to get to know each other.

    Ines, you are just beautiful! Now I have a face to go with the art and emails!

  2. I second Amy, you are gorgeous!

    I have a question for you Ines:

    Do you ever find it hard to motivate yourself to do your creative stuff? Things like NaNaNoWrMo and CED take a lot of tenacity (as I'm dicovering having failed to post any CED stuff for a couple of weeks now!) Do you ever just want to sit and watch some crap TV and eat some icecream instead?

  3. -big massive blush-

    Thanks for the compliments.

    To answer your question, Jess, rarely. I think I'm not "in it" long enough to fall into a hole, also don't aspire to do something everyday. I think with so many things in life, if you put too much pressure on yourself, the fun goes and you don't do so well.

    Without feeling all sorry for myself, I really have very little else to do with my time. Because I'm not going back to work, I have a lot of time on my hands. Creativity has got me out of a very, very deep hole. I also get depressed if I sit on my backside for too long and do nothing.

    We chucked our telly last year, now we tend to get a lot of rental dvds --- ah how I wish I could eat ice cream again... with hot raspberries mmmhh. I do read novels if I really want to switch off.


  4. Yah!!!! This is sooooooo cool -- I LOVE this new feature -- and what a treat to hear more about your process, Ines! And what fun to click over to read and see that beautiful macro shot of the Dakota stone! So appreciate every single exchange with every single one of you -- and the Day of the Dead swap was truly an alchemy!! Where can we find that collaborative poem you and Jess did?? I think I missed that!

  5. hey kara! thank you for all your heArt work, you are wonderful, I'm forever grateful for all you've done over the past 5 months, it really really makes a difference and helps me so much.

    the poem will be up soon! jess and i just have to get it together and submit... :-P but you can always click on the link to jess' site and find it there if you don't want to wait. she has the most amazing voice and there are some brilliant readings on her site. actually don't wait, go! now, don't wait. her voice just blows you away, no kidding!


  6. I third (is that even a word) Amy and Jess. How lovely to see your face Ines, you are beautiful!

    Dakota's stone is absolutely perfect, just like the one you made for my little girl.

    I am lost in admiration of your NaNaNoWriMo and CED projects. I'm psyching myself up to do the novel writing next year, maybe. x

  7. Sorry about not linking that straight away. Jess' site is breathtakingly beautiful. And her rendition of Ines' poem is amazing. You can find After Iris Reads Aloud. Never is the name of the poem.

  8. WOW- this is wonderful Angie- just wonderful. I have been looking/reading the art since you began the site in January and it is so beautiful to now "hear" and "see" the artist's voice. Thank you.


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