Busy, busy being creative..!

Sunday 23 July 2017

[UK Islands Project] Half-way through & planning fatigue

I'm just over half-way through this year-long project and I've hit my 'planning peak' (have you experienced something similar?) and since June (after Avalon actually) have been suffering from planning fatigue. I've been feeling below par for a number of weeks and basically All Planned Out. 
Not so long ago I was not a planner at all, in fact even the words 'what's the plan'  would send a cold shiver down my spine, ugh. Since my Art Relief Volunteer Adventure I'd become a slight planning ninja and had been enjoying it - until hitting this peak. Time to stop. I didn't want to plan a single thing anymore. So I stopped. For a while at least.

I looked at what was coming up - a holiday to Snowdonia, followed in quick succession by two Islands - Anglesey then Skokholm and decided to let go and just see what that was like. Most of the planning had already been done for these trips so its wasn't as hard as I thought and it's helped me to figure out what things I like/need to have planned to lower my anxiety levels about stuff and what I'm not so bothered about. Its been really useful.

Only useful though by having taken the time to consider and notice what was going on and to ponder on it. How about you? Do you need to stop and reflect/consider something yourself? Just taking half-an-hour out and writing or doodling down your thoughts will help. Trust me.

Having made this discovery and figured out what to do about it, I'm feeling more perky about the rest of the project and also about the pieces of writing and artwork relating to each island I've yet to create. I've also had to make some other decisions which would have seen me feel stuck before as it meant changing my plans.

One island I’ve had to ‘carry-over’ is Caldey.* I had an email a few weeks ago to say that all retreats were to be cancelled due to the refurbishment of the retreat house. That was a blow, as I’d been especially looking forward to that Island experience. The one snippet I’ve managed to glean as to why it was closed is that the managers left rather suddenly so there was no one to run the retreat centre for the guests booked in for the rest of the year. Curious though so if you’ve any info of the exact details – do let me know!

I did consider visiting for the day on my way back from Skokholm last week, and had even packed my bivy bag with an idea to sleep overnight there, when it came to it though we didn’t get back from Skokholm until later than thought and I just felt rather worn out so decided I’d come straight home and save that Island for its proper exploration once the retreat house is open again. Next year hopefully.

This brings me to looking at what Islands I've actually explored so far, and what’s next.

Here’s the run down (some pictures at the bottom of this post)
  1. January - Isle of Portland - Tick!
  2. February - Isle of Sheppey (via the Tate) - Tick! 
  3. March - St. Agnes (Southernmost settlement of the UK) - Tick!
  4. April -   Lundy - Tick!
  5. May -    Skomer - Tick!
  6. June -   Avalon - Tick!
  7. July -    Anglesey Tick! & Skokholm Tick!
Still to come are:

August – Bardsey
September – Looe
October – Jersey & Kirrin Island (Yes, Really!)
November – Brownsea aka Red Squirrel Island
December – The Island of Reflection

I'll be creating art postcards from each island - so if you'd like one created just for you click here to sponsor one ;-)

Having reached my planning peak and worked out what helps me get through it (Stop, review & take intelligent action) I'm feeling positive and excited again about the rest of these Islands and the project in general. Toot Toot! Yes indeed - the spark is back ;-) Even writing this blog post to you has helped, so thank you. 

Each Island is Different

Each experience has been so different and each Island so rich with history – both social and natural that at the moment I don’t have one I love more than the others. Well, erm, that’s not strictly true. My first experience of seeing Puffins ("Look there are sooooo many F**king Puffins", I exclaimed excitedly as we arrived at Skomer) is very special, and not only did I get to hang out with Puffins on Skomer in May – I had the chance AGAIN on Skokholm just last week. That’s Skokholm – off the coast of Pembrokeshire, not in Sweden..(do go find it on a map). The Puffins and their Pufflings, yes their young chicks really are called pufflings, are set to depart any day now, in fact they’d already started to change their behaviour in readiness for their own ‘holidays’ out at sea whilst we were there. Skomer and Skokhom, two islands so close together and yet so totally different.

I’ve got some breathing space before my next Island (Bardsey in mid-August) to write up about these Island explorations and also create some artwork. I’m discovering that as each Island is different each medium I use for each will be different, something I think I’ve touched on before. Skokholm felt very textural – like an embroidery or tapestry piece was calling about to be created, although there was also a hint at a stained glass window as there is such a beautiful one in one of the compost toilets on the island! That could even be another project...Toilets with stained glass windows..or interesting toilets of the world...[Off on a tangent]

If you are already following along on social media (I post on Instagram mainly as I love the photo format) then you’ll have already seen pictures of these island explorations. If we aren’t connected yet – do come and say hello - @morwhennawoolcock

Coming up

Aside from UK Islands Project, I’ve a couple of other things coming up:

One this week (Thursday 27 July) – a Local Creative Adventure in Burrington Coombe – details here and I was interviewed on BBC Radio Bristol about these creative adventures – which you can listen to here – (my chat starts at around 1.25.40 (ish) before Amy Winehouse Valerie - which is what I've called my car! Valerie Volvo!! - spooky) then a there's bit about a lawnmower museum (interesting) - then it's me! Thanks to Becky Walsh for this.

Then starting in September is the ‘How to be a Creative Adventurer’ Exploration(course) I’ll be sharing more about this as I gear up to this over the next month. If you’ve any friends you think might benefit from discovering how a spot of Creative Adventuring can help them in their daily life – please do share it with them.

Bye for now!

Pip Pip


ps - can you tell which picture is from which island?