Friday, November 10, 2017

The Peaceful

"My innermost dream?  Initially, it is to be pain-free.  That would be lovely. And to keep taking photographs and making more glass works"...

I have known Tricia for over 9 years now but every single time I visit, I learn something new about her.
Her house is the most peaceful place I have ever seen; yet her life path has known some mighty storms.

She is a very talented artist. When she is not doing glass work or photography, she is attending to her amazing garden.

During one special morning we shared in her garden, she told me about the trying times recovering from cancer and about dealing with personal loss through her art. I have visited her house many times before, yet that was the first time when my eye was drawn to her powerful self- portrait. Naturally, I invited Tricia to wear the hat and join the other dreamers.
- "When I was young, I wanted to be happy.
I don’t remember many stories from that time but I remember our 1st TV program, “the Lone Ranger”. I loved it – I was 8yo at the time.

Coming out of high school, I wanted to be a teacher. I was passionate about learning.  Back then, my biggest dream was to be loved, and to love back. I come from an unhappy childhood. We were 4 siblings – I had 2 older brothers and a younger sister. We were constantly told by my stepmother that we weren’t loved.  My father died when I was 8. Two years later, my mother married my step father and then 3 years later when I was 13, my mother died as well, and my step father married my mother’s sister. Suddenly, we were orphans and our lovely auntie turned into the stepmother from hell. But in retrospective, she was a 51yo spinster; she was probably going through menopause.
Back then, my sister and I became Wards of the Court. We were packed off to a boarding school  - to a Convent actually; worse than a boarding school. It was a catholic school in just outside Berwick Upon Tweed". 

- "Who I am now? It’s very hard to define myself. A loving grandmother, a frustrated photographer and a good friend.  I mostly like who I am. If I were to change a thing, that would be intolerance.  Sometimes I do become intolerant and defensive. I have always been defensive – it’s a somewhat natural part of me.  I guess it goes back to my childhood and to that need of ensuring that no one is going to hurt me. So I’ll keep people at arms’ length.  I’m pretty independent – I wouldn’t say fiercely independent, but I am too independent for my own good. It is very hard for me to ask anyone for help and I want things done immediately".

- "My innermost dream?  Initially, it is to be pain-free.  That would be lovely. And to keep taking photographs and making more glass works. I would love a little studio to continue doing glasswork. I’d love to learn more, to do some kiln work, create more and certainly keep taking my photos".
I always ask my sitters if they have a secret dream, one that they not even confess to their closest friend. Tricia smiles.

- I’d like to find a tall, dark, handsome man – it’s always been a dream. Actually, at this stage he doesn’t need to be handsome. Just kind and funny".
- "The one thing that keeps me going is determination. I have proven that I can cope with life. I find motivation in lots of things. It makes me happy that I can see a beautiful plant or a lovely scenery each day. I am always looking for things to make my heart sing and when I see something that moves me so much, I love to capture it in a photograph. It’s mostly the beauty in plants or in isolated scenery, like a beautiful misty morning.  Music also lifts my soul and keeps me going.

- In 5 years’ time? I’d like to understand the computer side better. I would love to share my photography to a wider audience.  I’d like to progress my art. I’d love to make cards, prints and all sorts of artsy bits. If I had my 15 minutes of fame, I would like to sell a photograph. I’d like someone to like my work enough to actually buy it. I just had an exhibition, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I would like to be involved in some more.
I was so proud of my degree show at the university, in July 2000. The feedback I got was lovely and very encouraging. I studied Contemporary Photographic Practice at Northumbria University in the north east of England, and looking back, I think I would like to produce more art. I would very much like to work in collaboration with other people, too".

- "My brother Pete was my first role model. He was determined, fun and passionate. He followed his dream. He was a film maker and what I liked most about him was his sense of humour. Pete is still my role model. I listen to my brother in my head a lot. I think about his life. He would have never given up. Even when he was dying of cancer, he was still planning things with a passion.  That was almost 18 years ago. But every day I think about him. We share the same birth date – lots of people thought we were twins but I was his birthday present on his first birthday.

- At the moment, my favourite film is “Hunt for the Wilder People”. It was poignant, funny and full of warmth.


- My biggest regret is not being a better mother to my eldest daughter.  I wasn’t a great mother to her, I was very young and didn’t have a clue but all I knew is that I loved her. I still do.I think that is why I am a really good grandmother now.
If I could go back in time and change something, I would lose my anxieties and I would try hard to be kinder and more loving.
And if I could, there is one big thing I would change. I would look in a very different way at feelings and at the grief process.  When Mum died, she died on a Wednesday and we were told on Thursday. Mum was buried on Friday. We were then taken back to school on Monday, like it never happened. She was never spoken about anymore. Never. She was only 46yo; that was the cruellest blow in our family. If I could go back in time, I would have asked for help; back in those days there was no counselling, no one knew much or talked about these sorts of things, the way we do now.  This is why I don’t talk about feelings; I think that this is where a lot of my insecurities are coming from. If you don’t have a solid anchor when you are a child, I think you flounder a lot. It doesn’t matter how old you are; you are still that little child crying quietly for their mother.


- I feel at peace in my garden. It’s tranquil, peaceful and beautiful. The other place I love is the ocean. I love watching and listening to the ocean. I love walking on the beach. (I am a rubbish swimmer, though!)

- When I look back, 2000 was my most trying year. I graduated from University in July. In August I was diagnosed with the need of an urgent hip replacement ,which didn’t take place till April 2001, because in September I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I got through using my art. I photographed my journey all the way through, having my chemo and radiotherapy. That culminated in a self-portrait – a powerful and confronting self-portrait. Even the shaving of my head – I documented it all, the hair I found on my pillow, or gathering in the shower plug hole... I rang my friend Tony and he came over and shaved my head. I put on these very glamorous diamante earrings and got my head shaved. I should have probably asked him for a Number 3, not for a full shave, in hindsight. But I did it and to date, this self-portrait, although confronting, is also a great reminder of the adversities I endured, and I am still here !!

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