I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Friday, 24 April 2020

Birthday Blues and Browns

How are all of you?  I hope you are staying safe and well and maybe finding some creative time and energy too.

I'm celebrating my lockdown birthday today with a tag which uses my favourite blues & browns combination.  I started out by calling the post Birthday Blues - but then I added the browns because the melancholy implied by that phrase simply wasn't accurate.

Despite everything going on right now, I am finding many ways to be happy in the moment.  And thinking about the longer timeline, I really feel incredibly lucky in my life to have been able to pursue my passions.

The question of what I would like for my birthday really stumped me this year.  I don't feel in urgent need of anything right now.  I'll settle for some blue skies and sunshine and the continued good health of those that matter to me.

Though this quarantine puts me in a state of physical confinement, my imagination is still free to fly without limits, and I'm determined to come out at the other end of this crisis (whenever that may be) ready to leap into action again with all the plans that are currently on hold.  So that's what this tag is celebrating too.

I've also been re-creating connections made in real life in virtual form.  I decided to invite actors I've worked with over the years and across the continents to join in virtual breath, voice and text work sessions with me several times a week.  (Voice and text work in the theatre is my "day job", for those that don't already know.)

Lots of the actors were in shows which closed with little or no notice, or had jobs (a precious commodity in the acting profession) about to start rehearsal which will now never happen.

A couple were even already in costume for that evening's performance when they were told it was cancelled - which leaves you with a huge adrenaline hit and nowhere to release it.

We know there are people dealing with far worse things as this pandemic threatens lives and livelihoods, but the sad probability is that a good many of the smaller theatres and theatre companies - often in precarious financial positions at the best of times - simply won't survive this crisis.

It felt like the least I could do to try to offer some good vibrations to help us stay connected while we wait to see how things pan out.

Virtual voicework is not the same as being in a room together, or a rehearsal process, but it is a way to help keep the muscles of the body, voice and imagination active and "in tune" while the theatres are closed.

I wasn't sure how doing the kind of work I do would feel when you mostly can't hear the other voices, but it's surprisingly moving and uplifting.

And in a celebration of the boundlessness of the internet, the actors are really enjoying playing with each other across oceans and time zones, and getting to work with and talk to people whom they otherwise wouldn't encounter in their normal working lives.  The sense of connection and positivity is really heartwarming.

I haven't talked about the tag much, except that I think all that optimistic energy and determination to keep looking outwards and forwards is part of what fuelled the whole thing.  It has a very positive strength about it, don't you agree?

But just so you know... the snippets of rusted die-cut are leftover from The Golden Hours so hop there if want to see how I did those.  The Paper Doll is perched so as to take advantage of them, both underfoot and to lean on.

The background is a combination of Micro Glaze stencilling, Distress Inks and Oxides, and the metal elements are altered with alcohol inks and Distress Paints.

I'm sure you can pretty much work it out yourselves from that!

I'm going to love you and leave you for now... I'm off to enjoy several virtual birthday celebrations!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  Stay safe, stay well, and I'll see you soon.

We turn not older with years, but newer every day.
Emily Dickinson

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Mae West

I'd like to share this over at Tag Tuesday where for this fortnight Anything Goes
At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge they would like us to Create A Scene


Valerie-Jael said...

Happy Birthday! Hope you can celebrate your next one in 'freedom'. The tag is fabulous, love the style and the fantastic colours, it's a real WOW! And thanks so much for joining us again at Tag Tuesday, much appreciated! Hugs, Valerie

Helen said...

Happy Birthday Alison!! That's a gorgeous tag. Hope you manage to enjoy your lockdown birthday, and as you say. good health to those you care about is probably the best gift of all. much love. xx

Astrid Maclean said...

Happy birthday Alison!! A lovely tag and moving description of the work you do right now, creativity in both fields obviously....

Hope you will have a good day despite everything, we have had lots of sunshine, so I'm pretty sure you will do too.

I am not going to apologise for not leaving comments these days, but could not let this post go by without wishing you well!!! And above all, stay well!!!

Nan G said...

Happy birthday dear Alison! Lovely tag.may you enjoy good health and happiness for many more. Warm virtual hugs, Nan and of course the Girls. 💖

craftytrog said...

A gorgeous birthday tag Alison, hope you have a lovely day! I love those blue splatters with the brown.
Best wishes,
Alison xx

Cestina said...

Vše nejlepší ke tvým narozeninám! A wish for when you come out the other end, as you put it! I hope you are admiring my skill with case endings...

I love the two quotes.

Karen said...

Happy Birthday! He is strong and confident in his stance and perfect for the sentiment. The rust effect is terrific ~ I hope your enjoyed your virtual celebrations!

Neet said...

I love that you have introduced the rusted die cut into this tag and the way you have used his stance on it is just perfect! The background is simply stunning and all the additional ephemera works so well.
Interesting to hear what you have been doing with yourself and the actors, I am sure they have really appreciated the help you have offered and the feeling of unity you have given to them. I wonder if asthmatics would benefit from a few of your breathing exercises, especially with the worry of this dreadful virus.
Anyway, Happy Birthday dear Aison, may the sun shine upon your little corner of the world and keep you safe and well
Hugs, Neet xx

Marci said...

Happy Birthday! I really like the background on your tag and the Emily Dickinson quote.

Lagene said...

Happy Birthday! AWESOME tag!

Fonda said...

Happy Birthday!

experiments in paper said...

Happiest of birthdays, and I hope you did get your sunshine and blue skies! And how wonderful that you've found a way to connect with your friends and colleagues re text and voice work.... I should very much like to know more about that one of these days. There are so many things that were frail prior to this sudden alteration of everydayness, that have now been further stressed as we await what the near and not so near future will involve. But, as Gabrielle Hamilton, who recently wrote about her NYC Village restaurant Prune said, "I have to hope, though, that we matter in some other alternative economy; that we are still a thread in the fabric that might unravel if you yanked us from the weave." And so I hope for theaters, small galleries, small restaurants, and other personal, passionate undertakings that add such wonder and highlight to everyday living.... thanks for a lovely post. And happy voicing! xxx Lynn

Let's Art Journal said...

Happy Birthday Alison! Your tag is full of joy with those gorgeous splatters and grungy rusty style 😀. I loved your birthday wishes and hope that you had lovely sunshine and blue skies today! We did here in the NW of England 😉. Wishing you a wonderful birthday celebration, have fun and enjoy! Love and hugs, Jo x

Meggymay said...

I hope you have had a Happy Birthday
I have enjoyed reading your post and seeing the beautiful tag you created.
Stay safe and well.
Yvonne xx

Redanne said...

There is definitely positive strength in your beautiful tag, it is also very uplifting as is the whole of your lovely post! I hope you have had a wonderful virtual birthday Alison. Anne xx

My name is Erika. said...

Happy Birthday Alison. I hope you have a good one at home. I don't mind being home either, although more art time would be nice. I love your tag, and very much enjoyed you talking about your voice work. I don't know too much about the theater except to say I like going to plays, so that was really interesting. Enjoy the weekend. Hugs-Erika

Christine Alexander said...

Happy Birthday Alison, so glad you want to make the best of this birthday, life is full of lemons to make lemonade :)
I always love your blues and browns, for this tag I especially love the metallic elements with the blue puddles :)

Craftyfield said...

Happy belated Birthday Alison! Glad you have found a way to create something positive out of the confinement for the people in your profession.
I love the background of your tag and the rusted die-cut, as well as that self assured paper doll waiting resolutely for whatever is coming to him! x

Sue said...

HB, I hope it was a wonderful day! Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your posts. Always try to find a quiet moment to read them and love the detailed descriptions of your works of art. Appreciate your positive spirit and am a fellow collector of quotes. Have a Blessed year!


butterfly said...

Thank you, Sue - I'm so happy you enjoy your visits. I don't see a blog of yours so I can't return the favour that way, so I'll just have to hope you see this thank you here!
Alison x

Cocofolies said...

Hi Alison, happy Sunday and birthday again! :)
I think your tag is splendid, really gorgeous, and also full of meaning... Great to read your thoughts and feelings about the difficulties of your day job, theaters and actors will suffer so much of the situation up maybe to closure! Fingers crossed for you and all the ones you work with.
The sessions you have organized with the actors are surely enjoyable by them and you too, it is good to find some ways to continue working a bit as we can, when we like our jobs... it also preserves the human links, much more precious.
I'm like you, feeling happy to have my passion in me and be able to do it at any time in my home.
Sending hugs and love,
Coco X

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

OMGoodness, Alison. I missed your birthday and I feel SO bad. I apologize for not visiting sooner. I was awakened Friday by such a loud noise, it shook my entire house. It also knocked my electricity out for over 20 hours. Then I couldn't get on the internet, but AT&T was FINALLY able to reset my internet from their facility (for a change).

Again, I wish I had been able to wish you a beautiful birthday on the very day of your birth, but this unfortunately, will need to suffice. It's amazing how close we are in birthdays, too. Like you, I really didn't want anything material for my birthday. I can totally relate to how you feel.

I can't begin to imagine how some of the actors feel without work, but my friend Scott is a stage manager and often acts as a stage hand in large concerts, musicals, and theater. He also has no work. His last day of work was March 14, at which time he was told the theater production they were working on would be closed indefinitely. He was looking forward to controlling the lighting for Cher on April 24, your birthday, but that didn't happen, either.

Your tag is sensational. I adore the rusty bits you used and how you propped your paper doll against them. You always have the most clever ideas, dear friend. Again, happy belated birthday.

Dorthe said...

Happy belated birthday Alison, I hope it was a good one. <3
And what a wonderful idea, inviting actors to take part in your online voice and text session, for them to still work with their "tools" I`m sure they were all very happy .
And your man, he also looks satisfied , leaning to that old amazingly rusty thing - so beautiful , love the splashes of blue onto the brown tones , and the quote , too- Late birthday hug to you. Dorthe

Sue said...

What a stunning tag Alison, and a very happy birthday to you! These blues and browns look wonderful and your dapper chap looks very at home here. Take care and enjoy your online workshops, Sue xx

Chrissy said...

Awesome masculine tag Alison, I cannot wait for my printer to come back online as I have pictures to print to make some masculine things..great background and details, and a very Happy Birthday to you, so sorry I'm late but hope you made the most it..


Crafting Queen said...

Love your tag, the background is wonderful.

Felix the Crafty Cat said...

Gorgeous tag. These are some of my favouite colour combos. Great piece xXx

pinky said...

Happy Belated Birthday! Very different from the norm but as you say it is great to enjoy your passions whilst in lock down! I just LOVE your tag! It really is a mini work of art!! Thanks for sharing with us at Tag Tuesday xx

nwilliams6 said...

Great colors, quote, techniques and bits. Love this!!!!

pearshapedcrafting said...

What a lovely tag - the quote really does sum this post up! If you hadn't had the idea to do these classes then a lot of folk would have been having a much sadder time - you have given them something to go for!
Belated Birthday wishes here too! Hugs, Chrisx