Thursday, 11 July 2013

Day 397-Painted Plates, Labelled Jars

Amongst the Old Man's many garden paraphernalia was a stack of unused flowerpot saucers. Made from really fine terracotta, I often thought they were destined for better things.

So on an April Sunday morning when I could not go running because of the storm, I decided it was a good day to summon the calling of these plates. I picked 3 of the best pieces from the stack, put on my rainy day music and started painting.


At first, the strokes were tentative, even clumsy and all over the place, never where I really wanted them to be.  The harder I tried, the worse it became. 

Then just as I was about to throw the plate against the wall, my favourite song came on and that made me smiled. Something wonderful happened with that smile for when I started painting again, my hand was steadier and though they were still far from perfect, I thought what I painted  echoed the botanical prints on the opposite wall nicely. Even the 1st experiment didn't look so bad now and I kept all 3 plates to remind me of my virgin attempts at ceramic painting. 

Things just kind of flowed into place after that. While I waited for the paint on the plates to dry, I started on the labels for all the glass jars of herbs and plants. I then arrange those jars on the respective shelves, smiling again as I spotted three of those jars which were special presents from my dear friend Ro.

 Ro had bought them when she was in Kensington and she had sent them to me in a parcel via post. 

In one of those jars, I store fresh basil, basil because I love her pesto pasta. In the other, I put the flower bundles for blooming tea. Yes, she loves tea too. Then mushrooms because I remember how thrilled she was one day while out harvesting wild mushrooms with her dad. Those jars I didn't label because how does one put a label on memories shared with friends? 

The shelf space below Ro's jars is decorated with Old Man's amber glass bottles.  There is also a half glazed amber vase into which I stuck some pink blossoms. More smiles. 

The last thing  I placed on that shelf between two of my plates was Teresa's clay jar , a traditional rustic jar from a set of four which were all handmade by her and which she had very generously gifted to me when I was in Spain visiting  Eva.

By the time I stood back to look at what I had done, I was incapable of feeling anything but happy and satisfied. The last of Old Man's odds and ends, unified by their links to all things garden,  neatly lined up. My shelves against his red wall, my imperfect paintings on his plates, the wild harvest in his jars. My memories, his keepsakes. 

In that instant, I saw it, the fruition of our great collaboration, that of the Old Man and me. 

I cannot explain the heightened emotional state that came over me after that. My eyes welled up and I started to tear. I thought of how far I have come in these past months working on this house, guided  by the Old Man through his journals, passions, the house he had built. All the things I found myself doing, things I didn't think I was capable of. 

It really is that simple, isn't it? If you try, you can and if you can, you will. The Old Man has pointed me to the right direction and now, it is up to me to see how far I can go. And I definitely intend to keep going further . There's no stopping me now.


Mona said...

Your terracotta plates are wonderful, great work!!! I loved to read your post, what you said.

The Old Maid said...

OMG! OMG! OMG!!!!! I will send you some furniture to paint one day dear Sam! I LOVE these paintings! All of them!!!! Beautiful!
The shelfs are beautifully arranged with herbs, at and sweet memories.. What a great composition!
I love the last photo with theses mixing colours around Old Man.:)
Hugs and kisses

Daydreamer said...

Okay, Now you made me weep... Weep with the emotion of your gifts... friendships so deep... and your Gifts of Painting the Most Perfectly Beautiful Free-Hand Flowers on your plates.... Exquisite.... just Gorgeous!!! I cannot tell you how much your Creativity Inspires Me!!!
And Yes, the freeing power of a smile... it is Magical how much it improves Everything!!! I can only be thankful that you have come to have faith in your abilities... and that WE will benefit SO Much from seeing what You will create!!!
Truly, Sans, your paintings made me Gasp and my eyes filled and ran over... your lines So Beautiful... so Spirited.... so Filled with Love... and so Free!

Margriet said...

The plates are beautiful and I'm so happy you're seeing that too!!! And all those memories...just lovely :-)

Piikko said...

Beautiful plates and paintings Sans! Great work. :)

BiWuBär said...

Do you know the ABBA-song "Thank you for the music"? Well, that's what came in my mind... so good the right music hit your ears in the right moment. The result is fabulous, I really hope this won't be the last attempts in painting ceramics. And everything else you did... labeling, filling Ro's jars with perfect contents, arranging everything on your shelf... looks so good! And feels so good... I'm sure the Old Man would love it... ;O)


P.S.: Thanks for your offer to send me some jars - but I have enough of them, more than my witches can ever fill *grin* But thank you very much!

Elizabeth S said...

Ohhhh Sans! This post is so poignant and it has really touched my heart. Your hand-painting enterprise has lead to a memorable experience for both you and me! The sound of the rain falling in the background only served to emphasize the cleansing of the soul when you stop trying to fight against the natural flow of things and embrace the song that is struggling to get out. I love your efforts; ALL OF THEM. Jars, bottles, plates labels, flowers, paintings EVERYTHING! There is no wrong note in this display and you Sans have sung it beautifully!


Susan said...

Just when I didn't think this room could get any better - it DID!!! Your plate painting is magnificent, I could never do that, you are Talent no.1, Detail should be your middle name....

Creations by Marie Antoinette and Edie Marie said...

Music can make all the difference in the world...What is the saying...Music makes the world go round...LOL. The plates are devine and I love them.Great job as usual.
XXOO Marie Antoinette

Plushpussycat said...

Gorgeous, meaningful, inspiring post, Sans! Thank you so much! xo Jennifer

Sans! said...

Dear Mona, thank you! For the visit and for the time you take to leave those sweet words :)

Sans! said...

Ewalina, I am putting up a traffic sign that says "STOP! Don't send me any furniture to paint"! Why? Because I didn't paint the plates :). I cheated and used a Henna Tattoo kit where you can transfer the tattoo from the paper to the plate using water. :):) Really easy and anyone can do it! teehee

I am glad you like the last picture. It holds the secrets of what I did next :):).

Sans! said...

O dear Betsy! Firstly, let me say how I am moved beyond words by your own reaction to my post.

Please don't think this is flippant of me but I feel like I have cheated you of your tears by not painting the strokes with my hand. If you have read my comments to Ewa's comments, you will know how the painting was really done. It was not a straightforward process of just transferring the picture of course. I did fail and it was messy and that little bit required to fit the plate had to be selected carefully . It was not easy but it was still not something I had painted with my hands.

I hope and I believe you have nonetheless felt, from my words, my very personal struggle and then the triumph with each little creation . The deed may not be what it seemed, but the feelings are as real as they can get. I am not ashamed to admit that I teared when I wrote this post and every time I re-read that particular paragraph, I experienced that "heightened emotional state" all over again.

Tackling this abandoned house is every bit like I said it was. It may not be something big like painting with my own hands but I definitely ventured beyond my comfort zone, going where I thought I never could but had always dreamed, wished and hoped for. I don't think I will ever have the words to tell you how being able to create means to me, someone who never thought she had the gift or could work with her hands for a big part of her life.

Much of what I can do today is with the guidance of all my friends here, through your own posts , your passions and the houses that you have built.In all those ways, you are all my "Old Man".

Sans! said...

Thank you Margriet. This house is about memories :).

Sans! said...

Thank you Piikko :):).

carmen said...

preciosos platos

Sans! said...

Birgit, I think I may very well, attempt to really paint the ceramics after this post! After all, I need only to try to see if I can, right?

My current favourite Abba song is " Our Last Summer" and I believe I know all the popular Abba songs, even the lyrics :). I was a huge Abba fan! So yes, thank you for your comments, the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy you're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without encouragement what are we?
So I say thank you for your comment
For giving it to me :)

Sans! said...

Dear Elizabeth, thank you!You don't know how much encouragements like yours meant to me. This may sound like a cliche but it is from the bottom of my heart. It is so tenuous, isn't it, this tightrope of confidence we tread? It is ever so easy to fall over from self doubt. Even now as I savour your words, I am wallowing in my own insecurities.

Note to self: I try, I can , I will :):).

Sans! said...

Susan, I am talent no. 1 at faking it till I can. teehee :):) I hope you don't think the worse of me :):) but there is some way yet before I really paint. I believe I have already overcome my first hurdle though, thinking that I can't. So of course you can, Susan. I have no doubt at all that you can !

Sans! said...

Marie Antoinette !!! My white peacock lady!It's great to see you here. I must visit you soon to see what you have been up to. It's been a while ...:)

Sans! said...

Thank you Jen for cheering me loads :)

Sans! said...

Gracias, gracias, Carmen.

17-17 said...

Wonderful plates! so original paintings, beautifully arranged, great job!

contar said...

el trabajo de pintura que hizo en los platos me gusta muchísimo no le encuentro ningún fallo, y cuando e continuado leyendo su entrada, tengo que decirle que me emocionaron sus palabras porque es realmente lo que siento desde que entre en el mundo de las miniaturas.
un abrazo

CWPoppets said...

Hehehe .... cheated as all... Anyhow ... the results are wonderful and I love the arrangement.

rosanna said...

Dearie, this room is coming out fabulous! I love all the details, how you thought them, how you "cheated" ;o)
I love the mood, the warmth, the cozyness.
Dearie, you are NOT to build up a huge palace, your heart dwells in humbler, more loved, more personal homes.
Truly homes, not mansions and I love them so much more.
Matteo and I had pesto today and we talked of you sprinkling hot chilly on it: we still laugh at it :o)
Big big hugs and thank you, Ro
PS still owe you a mail but windows vista mail service went on strike at my home and cannot send anything!!!! very annoying.
PPS my favourite song by Abba's is Our last summer too. BTW I know all the lyrics as well, what about a duet on skype? ehhh ehhh

Ana Anselmo said...

wow!!!!!!!!!! I am in love for your terracotta plates!!! fantastic!!

Eliana said...

So beautiful, Sans!

Ilona said...

Naughty you, to cheat us ;)!! O dear Sans, I am so glad you have tried "to paint" these plates, they really are beautiful! The effect is great and that counts, isn't it? We all are cheating at some time and sometimes you only can cheat to create the effect you want, huh :D?? No, I am sorry, but I am not a fan of the last picture, too much and hard neon color. But I think you did it on purpose to hide what you want to show to us next time, or am I wrong?
This house is becoming more beautiful, filled with memories and special emotions, thank you so much for sharing, dear Susan!
Warm hugs, Ilona

Daydreamer said...

Dear Sans! It is certainly NOT cheating to be creative enough to Think of using Henna decals to decorate mini plant plates!!! And So Beautifully too!!! If it was a challenge to make it work... even More creative!!! You are a True Mini Genius Because you come up with such Wonderful Transformations of Everyday things!!! I have to grin at your feeling you cheated... Don't we all get caught up in the Dream World of the Stories we are telling... So if your Paintbrush was Imaginary... I am Imagining it... and you still make me weep with the Beauty you create!!!
Never Stop!
I Love your Creations and feel the power of your mini worlds!!! :):):)

Susan said...

Ah Sans, you are a hoot! I love what your miniature paint brush has achieved! You are indeed clever, it's all in the tiny details.

Sans! said...

Heyyyyyy Magda! Is that short for Magdalene ? :) I must tell you I absolutely love those retro fans you did! It's really clever of you! Thank you also for your visit and endorsement :)

Sans! said...

Contar, estoy tan agradecida de haber encontrado esta comunidad aquí en la tierra blog. Su apoyo y la aprobación y el amor es lo que el combustible que continúe este viaje algún solitario de la creación. Sin ustedes, yo realmente no creo que voy a estar haciendo todavía.

Así que muchos de los aquí presentes comenzaron a hacer miniaturas o menos al mismo tiempo y en seguir el blog de uno al otro, vemos lo mucho que todos hemos crecido creativamente. No puedo agradecerles lo suficiente :).

PILAR6373 said...

Tu mano fue muy bien guiada y por eso surgieron esos encantadores platos,las etiquetas de los frascos y.....todo lo que te propongas!!!!!!!

Liduina said...

Dear Sans, your house is unmistakably part of your being, your memories and aspirations. That's why it always looks so unique to me. Your plates are no exception; beautiful and very much in the style of "Sans". Thanks for posting!

Maria Ireland said...

Beautiful plates whatever way you did them :) Wonderful way to display so many happy memories. Beautiful special house.
Hugs Maria

Eva said...

Me gusta mucho como te han quedado los platos y en esa estantería junto con los botes de hierbas quedan estupendos. Un saludo, Eva

Sans! said...

Heh heh Christine! Glad you like it. If I may say so, I did think my plates are special enough for a post. *ahem.

Ok, going swimming, will be back in 4 hours!

Remco said...

Starting your post about a old man, I tought this post was about me ;-)
But it wasn't, it's about wonderfule painted terracotta plates!
How lucky we all are there was a storm, cause the result is stunning!
And together with dose glass jars, it's perfect!
Well done, my advise stop running....

Sans! said...

Ro! You wouldn't believe it but that night when you texted and I told you the dancer girls were over at my place, I was just sharing with them how much of a purist you are :):). Dearie, it wasn't chilli flakes! Heyyyyyy, even I know not to put chilli flakes in pesto pasta. It was pomodori secchi. You didn't like me eating your pesto pasta with sundried tomatoes, tehehehe. But but but I was so absolutely in love with your pomodoro and ooooook, if I'll admit, if I can put chilli in everything I eat , I will :):). That's why for the longest time before I discovered your pesto pasta, my favourit was aglio olio, super spicy! :)

And thank you, dear Ro for your sweet words. I totally agree with you that my heart is currently in the humbler and apparently downtrodden. It's just my "beauty in decay" phase. One day though, I will build mansions but that'll probably be when I am exploring "decay in beauty",

Sans! said...

Ana, not as much as I love your really hand painted trays! :):) Thank you :):) and a kiss :)

Sans! said...

Eliana, thank you ! I am all smiles :):):):)

Sans! said...

Ilona, you are spot on about why the last picture was that way. I am usually not a neon fan as well. All that psychedelic colours are good when you are running along a tourist thoroughfare during Christmas but nahhhh, not my cup of tea when it comes to decor or what I wear (although for a very short while, I was in a florescent-colour phase which was quite nightmarish for the people around me). It's just that when I was using the "gamma" feature in my photo edit program to darken the picture and then bringing up the "contrast", I thought how interesting it was that the colours kind of fused and only your picture showed through clearly. :)

Thank you for your vote of approval! I will like to paint someday, like you. Being able to draw is a creative skill I prize above all the others (maybe its because I can't) so I hope those of you who have this gift will never take it for granted:).

Sans! said...


Just the other day, I came across this article on the "10 ways to overcome creativity's number 1 crusher" (the crusher being self-doubt of course) . And you know which one I resonate the most with? Surround yourself with supportive people. :):)

This community, you and your encouraging words, they really do mean the difference between creating or not creating at all.

Sans! said...

Susan, my fellow winner of Rosanna's t-cozy, my namesake, you have an admirer in me too :).

Sans! said...

Pilar! ¡Qué bueno es verte aquí porque siempre me gusta visitar usted y miro a su nuevo trabajo. abrazos y besos. Usted me hace feliz!

Sans! said...

Liduina, I am so gratified to read what you have written. Those 3 words, being, memories, aspirations, are truly what me and this house is all about. A glimpse into this house is like looking into the windows of my soul, at least the part of it that has been lying dormant for a long while. Thank you, my friend, for reading and then taking the time to write and let me know how you feel :).

Sans! said...

Hugs back Maria and again, hippy happy birdday!! :):) I hope you are enjoying a month long worth of pampering and loving and funning :):).

Sans! said...

Eva, gracias por esas palabras dulces. Estoy muy contento de haber tomado el tiempo para visitar y dejar un comentario. besos y abrazos

Sans! said...

YO! Old Man! Where have you been ??? I have been sitting in the abandoned house waiting for you to teach me how to solder!

Nahhhh, Remco, you ? The Old Man? Never! You will need to age another 20 years, young man! :)

Your clothes hangers ROCK! I enlarged the picture (Margriet's) and studied the engineering. A lot of soldering work and I like the way you did the hooks (just like the real thing?) so I suspect the hanger can fold. Genius! Once I learn to solder, I want to copy it! :):):) heh heh

Margriet said...

hahaha, Remco, the old man...feeling at home at your abandoned house and in the alley Sylvia made.... ;-)

Sans, the hooks of the rack can fold and also the front part can fold back!!! It's just like the real thing...I am so happy with it :-)

Remco said...

It was a simple job, will make you one if you like.
I was at my GF her house, looked at the real one, and copy that in scale 1:12, so simple!
And yes of course it can fold.
Reading about your fear of heat, its better for me to do one ;-)
But you have to be willing to wait a little while, cause busy with other things right now.
Sent me your adres in a private message on FB, if you want one!
Btw, its hanging also in a big project of a family of me, hihihi

Lucille said...

Hi Sans! Beautiful gifts from beautiful friends. I am so touched by the simple, pure beauty that you have accomplished here. Simple little objects were chosen and decorated and new things came into being at the touch of your magical hands. You created such a unique environment full of the old man's spirit. For the first time today, the old man's features manifested themselves to me. Before that, I could only see abstract lines and could not see the old man. I was stunned when I finally saw him. When you mentioned that the music made you smile, it reminded me of the power of music. Music works wonders in us. The right music gives us wings and it empowers us. It empowered you to not give up but to keep going and finish what you had started. Isn't that wonderful! It filled your heart with joy and motivated you. The old man was very lucky the day he met you because you did for him what he could no longer do and he made you see that you could make wonderful things out of what he provided you with. No small accomplishment!

Sans! said...

Wooohoooooo!!! Ayeeee!

Remco, yes yes yes! I can wait of course. Take a year or 2 or 3. :) I will send you my add in pm on fb.


Sans! said...

Lucille, your words warm my heart. :)

I think I am very lucky to have "met" this "old man". :) I felt like I have experimented more than I have ever done and the the encouraging words and reception I have received have given me a further boost of creative energy, confidence and perseverance to continue searching. So THANK YOU!

Remco said...

Hahaha, It won't take that long!!!
Glad to do something back ;-)

BiWuBär said...

"Mamma mia" - so you cheated "The Visitors" with those plates? My, "Chiquitita", "I have a dream" now: Just "Move on", forget about "Happy Hawaii" and other things and start to paint plates by yourself. You'll see, "The winner takes it all", you're going to fly higher than an "Eagle", go "On and on and on" and this will be your "Arrival" to something gorgeous taking the plates "Under Attack". And I don't think you will have to send a "S.O.S." or have to "Ring Ring" anybody on the phone, no, there will be no "Waterloo", but okay, if you're in need just "Take a chance on me" or go ask "Fernando" or "Cassandra" for help and it won't cost you any "Money, money, money". And before we're even starting a "Happy New Year" there will be a "Super Trouper" shining bright on your painted plates and we will all shout "Gimme, gimme, gimme a plate after midnight"... *grin* - Couldn't help myself... ABBA were my first love when I started listening to music... and I don't think this will ever end... ;O)But you know, "When all is said and done" "One of us" has to say bye now... or...


Ascension said...

Hola Susan
Estoy asombrada de tu rinconcito de hiervas y pocimas, te esta quedando absolutamente maravilloso.
Has hecho un precioso trabajo pintando esos platos, me encantan.
Estoy segura que has disfrutado muchisimo con el trabajo.
besitos ascension

Sans! said...

*whip in hand


Get to work then, slave Remco! We don't have all day !

Slavedriver Sans!

Sans! said...

tehehehehe, Birgit, you make me want to go "Abba, dabba, doo!"

I have to confess until your last comment, I never knew the following ABBA songs:

a) The Visitor (I am playing this song on youtube as I comment and I love it! It doesn't sound dated at all!)

b) Just Move On

c) Happy Hawaii


e) Under Attack


Now let me go track each and everyone of that song :)

Sans! said...

Querido Ascensión, que no pintaba las placas. jejeje. He utilizado la transferencia del tatuaje para transferir el patrón a la placa. Te digo un secreto. Si escribo en cursiva, no creas todo lo que digo. Yo estoy narrando la historia de la casa abandonada. :)

A pesar de lo que escribo (si las palabras se pueden traducir correctamente en español) se basa por lo general en lo que realmente siento.

Espero que no nos decepcionó!

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