Tuesday, 18 March 2008


Thursday is the Spring or Vernal Equinox - this is a time associated with "The Greenman" and above is a picture that I did some years ago.

The original drawing was based on my middle son, when he was a teenager, and this son has also been on my mind these past few weeks, as his wedding takes place over the Easter weekend.

I think that part of my reluctance to be in the studio this past month is to do with my feelings around my sons wedding.

Or let me re-phrase that my feelings around becoming a "Mother in Law"!

Two of my sons are getting married this year. For the past month - I have not set foot in the studio - but I have been tending my garden like there is no tomorrow.

I love my two new daughter-in-laws-to-be. I am overjoyed that my sons are getting married and I am just so proud of all my children and their partners.

Yet somehow these imminent weddings have affected me more than I knew.
I thought I had embraced my age and in some ways I have - apart from the occasional moan about the fact that various parts of my body seem to be hurtling towards the ground - Gravity has a strange effect on the over 50's!

However at another level - I know these weddings are also a milestone in my life, and for the past month I have been in the grey time, the liminal phase of neither here nor there. Somehow, not the same mother I was - and - not yet the Mother in Law I will become.

Tending the garden has been my metaphorical rite of passage - cultivating the soil, pulling the weeds and moving stones. A way of separating from the Mother I was, actively nurturing my children (Although in truth - I have not had to do this for a few years) and moving towards the Mother I will become.

Now - I send them joyfully into this new and exciting phase of their lives, while I take my new place as the "Mother in Law"

This is work in progress that I started to-day. It is going to be composed of fragments. Fragments that I have saved over the years - from pieces that didn't work out, experiments, bits that I liked - but never got around to working into a picture.

Perhaps another metaphor for where I am just now.


Shirley Anne Sherris said...

Hi Karen
Nice to see you back and posting again.
Love the concept of the green man - it could be developed into a series - autumn man, winter man etc.
And hey! some of us are over 60 - Remember you are only as old as you feel and yes some parts may be affected by gravity but not what is in your head. Keep your creativity young and when the - dare I say it - the grandchildren arrive - they will keep you young believe me.

Jane said...

I would be proud to have you as a mother in law. Unfortunately, unless I marry my godson, for which I would be called a cradle snatcher, it is not likely to happen. But the sentiment is sincere.

linda said...

hi karen,great memories of the green man,I like the new piece too.Happy gardening,love,linda

Threadspider said...

What a deeply thoughtful post. I wish you so much joy as you move to the next role in your life.
It is strange how different events trigger these feelings in us-for me it was turning 45 that was difficult. But that was years ago now. I am a mother-in common-law to both my children but don't know yet how I will feel if they make their partnerships legal.
Wishing the sun to shine on you all this Easter and for many years to come. And may the Green Man bring the energy of the spring.

sharon young said...

Hi Karen
Thank you for sharing this thoughtful post with us. I too will make that step with my son next year. All my 3 girls have partners and have had for many years, but my son is my youngest and only boy and it does feel a bit different to have a daughter-in-law, who is wonderful and I couldn't have wished for better, but it still feel strange that I will officially hand over to another female the care of my son. I hadn't really thought it through till you put it into words but it was definitey there on a subconcious level.
Maybe we feel our sons are more vulnerable than our daughters.
I like the beginings of your new piece and look forward to seeing how it works out.

Anonymous said...

Sorry lost for words, tears in my eyes. sentimental P

Sheena said...

Karen , hi. You should be feeling a new sense of freedom that your sons have their own responsibilities now, that you are now able to be less of a vigilant mother and more yourself. Enjoy your freedom and look forward to many years of caring more for yourself. If you are in your 50s you were sensible enough to have had your yourself a long empty nest phase of life. I look forward to more excellent embroideries from you.

kathy mccreedy said...

Hi Karen, Thank you so much for sharing your feelings re: age/change/children... it all hit home very squarely for me. And your "collage" of fabric at the bottom of the post? Absolutely a perfect metaphor for your life right now, right where you are. Hope the Easter weekend wedding was all you'd hoped it would be and more! Your work is stunning!

Judy said...

You know, that is all quite brilliant! Somehow, I've missed a few of your posts! Hmmm.....wish you'd subscribe to logarithms so I wouldn't have to work so hard to keep up with you!

LOVE this piece of yours...and all of the sentiments above.


Katarina i Kullavik said...

I'm sure you'll be a wonderful mother-in-law! And I think I can understand your feelings - one phase passes and another one appears.
You works of art are fantastic! /Katarina

mand said...

I love your Greenman. recently discovered your blog and just exploring today, so my comment is anachronistic! Love your Totem for the Sun too, but the Greenman is the best i've seen in my limited experience. 80)

Hope the weddings and the identity shift have been ok for you.

One Creative Queen said...

WOW!! This is the most fantastic piece - I haven't seen anything like it in a long time. It's stunning! I'm going to check out your new blog on Wordpress - I just haven't made it there yet. Too much eye candy to go thru on here, first. Thanks for sharing - I love your work!!

Your post was eloquent...especially as I sit with my boys as a teenager and a pre-teen. Right now their behavior just makes me wonder how human they actually are. Everything you said provides me with an interesting reminder - I hope things have worked out for the best.