Hello and welcome. Displayed here are a selection of artworks, photographs, mixed-media and collages created by Sheree Angela Matthews; artist + teacher + creativity enthusiast. Visit the store to find out how to buy.
She sits on my desk, in the spare room. My makeshift study/ studio/ freedom space. She’s a constant. A talisman. A charm. I sit sometimes when inspiration is lacking and just watch her as if waiting for her to move, to say something. But in all honesty, she doesn’t have to say anything as she is always communicating to me, with me, as she is inside me.
She is the voice of wisdom. She is my intuition. She is the quiet whisper, sometimes scream, that guides me along this path still. The small nudges and major cramps that emanate from my gut when I know something just doesn’t feel right. When I know a difficult decision, usually the right one, has to be taken. Now.
She sang out to me these past few days, singing, Lean into me, take me out again into the landscape of your home. You may be self-isolating, but let me help you look upon your home as a playground. As a space full of potential and inspiration. Let me help you make the best of a situation.
Kielder Forest and Water. Partaking in training to become a volunteer who will Osprey watch over the summer this year. It is an interesting gig, learning about the birds as they come back to the forest after wintering in Senegal or The Gambia.
Kielder has become the home for 7 mating pairs of Ospreys for the abundance of space and fish to raise fledglings. Our job will be to set up the scopes for viewing the nesting pairs. To talk to visitors about their behaviours and raise the profile of our birds as they work together to build up their chicks for becoming independent birds over the summer months.
There are also Osprey watch cruises upon Kielder water to check out all the nests along the reservoir.
In the past, I’ve volunteered for certain things, indoor jobs, like manning phones for charities, running creative workshops, talking to kids about writing etc. I’ve never volunteered for anything out in nature as I never thought I would be of any use. Or there was the underlying feeling of not belonging there. Bit by bit this self-limiting attitude is changing.
Today saw me hold the first meeting, as project coordinator, for the forthcoming project Black Nature in Residence.
This is a project funded by Art Council England which will run for the rest of 2020 and into next year, where four black writers will be in residence at different natural heritage sites in the North East of England.
More details will follow over on Earth Sea Love as things develop. But for now, believe me when I say, I’m excited about my opportunity to be in residence.
Jon Hopkins at The Sage Gateshead was phenomenal. His kind of music, electronica, is not usually my kind of music. But it was my husband, Alan who invited me along. As a kind of date. Jon and his support, Hayden Thorp, did not disappoint.
Polarity the show, with lights and haze, we a mingling of the gentle with the raw. There was tenderness and harshness. Closing my eyes, and the music getting into my body, I fell into a trance hard and profound. Letting go and just floating on the beats was an amazing experience and one I haven’t felt in a while. There were moments of sheer frenzy and then moments of stillness. Beautiful. I want to explore more of Hopkins’ music as well as Thorp’s because I’ve found having preconceived ideas about certain music genres can close me off from moments of clarity and enjoyment. I’m going to practice being more open to newness and stuff outside of my usual radar or comfort zone. Who knows what doors this will open inside me?
Today, I’m 60 posts into my #100daysofblogging here on my website. I think the first two months of the year have flown by. As we look towards Spring, I feel hopeful that I will fulfil this challenge, I feel hopeful that I’m learning so much from the journey.
During these 60 days, I’ll not lie, I’ve lost the spark, the creative spark from time to time. Those days when I can’t be bothered to come here. Those days when I’m tired or busy or just can’t face the blank screen. But making this commitment to myself has brought me back daily.
The spark is rekindled by remembering my purpose and passion. As the cheetah above signifies. Sometimes I just need to stop and check in with myself and check that I’m doing something for the right reasons. For something true to me.
I took upon this challenge for myself because I wanted a means to keep in touch with my creativity. I believe that action breeds action. Touching the bubble keeps the bubble afloat and important and in focus. Blogging helps me keep writing here and elsewhere.
The spark is rekindled by turning up. Do something. Do anything. Move forward. One word at a time. One foot in front is another. But don’t give up. The spark is rekindled by the feelings I experience when I know I showed up for me once again. It makes me smile. And Lord, do I like smiling.
Girltrek has announced March 1st as Black Women’s Appreciation Day. It’s about giving thanks to black women we know and don’t know. It’s about publicly flooding the world with thanks and love for black women who have not and continue to not receive their/ our rightful thanks, appreciation, gratitude, props and recognition for all that we do in this world; families, work, society and the Earth.
I totally embrace this day and give thanks to all the black women who came before me, trailing a path. I give thanks to all the black women walking beside me now. And I give thanks for the paths we trail for the black women to come behind us, our daughters. My Miss Ella.
I also give thanks and appreciation for myself. How I daily rock #blackgirlmagic against the odds. #ThankBlackWomen. Pass it on.
Today I wake to an email from Kenya and Michelle @Outdoor Journal Tour (ODJT) and the phenomenal work they’re doing in getting black women outdoors. They inspire me to do more especially when they share the reasons why black women need to experience the healing qualities of nature.
What makes me sad and angry is that they, we, don’t get enough support in this endeavour. Some people choose to troll them, us, derail us instead of recognise what we are doing and our struggle. Some people choose to not see inequalities and injustices in our society because it simply doesn’t effect them.
From a recent post on Instagram, ODJT shared their experience of being trolled but also the outpouring of love and support they are receiving for their work. Being able to see this support and understanding and love is fuel to continue what we are doing. Some people will never understand, listen or accept the way society does divide us along so many lines including race, gender, sexuality, religion etc. But we have to still have hope that change is here and there is more to come. We cannot give up hope.