Bluebell Wood

I hear things on the radio as I do my yoga, snatches of programmes that have already begun. I listen as I stretch, absorbing the odd word, the odd sentence, savouring it as I bend and open. Yesterday it seemed to be set around the time of the French Revolution though the people talking were musicians. A girl and her teacher. The teacher was a haunted soul who talked of a painter he knew who’d gone blind. Just before he’d lost his sight completely he’d asked this teacher to take him to a bluebell wood. The music teacher had watched as the painter had laid down amongst the flowers and immersed his face, his head, his eyes in the bed of them. A cloud of blue, I think he said. Or was it a sea? He did this, the teacher told ‘us’ to remember them, to imprint the blue deep into the memory of his eyes, boring it, them, the scent of them into his brain so that he could remember. In the darkness he would recall the blue.

I’ve been watching, sometimes mesmerised, the links to the two films he made – one of Adam Buick making a huge moon jar and the other of Claire Curneen making a half torso of a woman. Both were captivating. Little happens but it’s the watching of the hands in the process of making and the gentle lull of both of their voices as they work.

I have no craft. I yearn for it. What am I? Fraudulent sometimes, I think. I make. I ape others. But essentially I am a magpie, a borrower, a maker of botch jobs, a putter-togetherer of stuff. These two are the real craftspeople, their passion, their commitment to one material, to one kind of form is utter. I revere them for it. I flit about. I’m too excited by too many things. A jack, a knave. Alas. This is my life. I write about and I celebrate the work of others, let it be. Enough. Let it be enough. This craftswoman manque. Aching. Forever aching for her lost craft. And that yearning to do something really really well.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.