It began mizzling as I walked. A warm coating of rain, not unpleasant. I had brought my umbrella but didn’t use it. I like the rain on my face but not on my head. I’ve met many others who feel the same. Funny that. Someone had lit a fire on the beach and its smoke mingled with the misty wetness. Autumn is coming. A gang of youngsters speaking a language I didn’t recognise walked towards me along the Prom. I was invisible to them. They carried blankets.

I lay in bed last night unable to drop off and thought about my practice. My work is an inward experience. I don’t have the pleasure of being drawn towards socially-kind work. There is nothing noble about what I do. I just do it. I do it to learn about myself principally. Myself and my place here. It is my way of orientating myself through it. Perhaps there is something there that might inspire others. I do not know. I just wish to understand. To make sense.

I lay there thinking about performing at the NG. I want that rush again. That sense of being absolutely in the right place. A place where something magical can happen. I want to do it again, to prepare for it and do it again. This time with the tapestry. But I want to do it in a corset and crinoline. Another excuse to dress up? Maybe. If so, then so be it. I want to see, to test it. To see how it makes me feel. And how people respond. Why? There are always the whys. As it should be. It’s about associations. The nineteenth-century woman as needlewoman. The needle as pen. The amateur needlework obsessed with her berlin wool work. It is of the time that van Gogh painted his sunflowers, though that is of less interest to me. I want to see what happens. I will, of course wear it all day. How will it be to make my way through the tube, the streets of London? Am I crazy? It excited me. Just the thought, so much so that I couldn’t get to sleep. Shall I just go with this?

I catch my mind. Every second it is judging, weighing up, criticising, levelling, planning. I need to breathe, to zone out.

I will make today. Make her quilt. I want to complete it. A gift. A gift of love. I plan another visit. So brief, so short. Alas. Tomorrow we go to the hotel to talk. To talk practice. To practice talk. Nice that. I look forward to it. Work allowing. Always. Fingers crossed. Fingers crossed.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.