Hands up who thinks that decorating is boring unskilled job!

Few years ago my hand would be most likely up too. Especially when I was studying socio-cultural anthropology thinking that training my brain could take my the furthest.

Here I am in the middle of the third year of mothering with one foot in art (usually when my boy sleeps) and the other one back in decorating (when is my husband off his work). My life had changed. My values have changed.

Last week I worked on the rooftop of beautiful post-georgian house in Montpelier with a 72 years old experienced builder who has also deep interest English romantic poetry (he wrote a Ph.D in Bristol, which he never submitted however he managed to published it). He has succesfully combined these two very different professions and passions during his life and take the best from both – skills from various trades and good money from the constraction work, fullfilment, intelectual practise and contemplation from poetry and its analyzing.

The view from the rooftop towards the city centre


In his presence I felt able to value myself while digging out the rotten pieces of wooden structure of the skylight much more than ever before. I guess I have always felt like my profession has to be something more special with a higher status than painter and room decorater. That this is just a phase, the step to climb up into a new period when being just an artist. It might be. But maybe not and I could be both my whole life. I could keep all sorts of different identities: wife; mother; artist; decorater; writer; (art)therapist; gardener; wild woman. No need to choose one – on some level they all are more or less part of me waiting for growth. How exciting is that!

I asked this lovely wise man what he likes most on the building work. He said: being able to complete it and see it completed – whatever job it is. Because writing is endless. Which is amazing but exhausting too. You can start one page and go on forever. Edit it over and over again. How well I know this working on my Earthwoman cards last seven years! He shared with me that he tried to write a preword for his book which he intended to be about two pages long. Suddenly he had 30 pages! When you make a floor is done. When you paint a wall is done. Job done, clear mind. No need to go back and work on it more (at least for few more years).

There is gratitude in me for such a special sharing between generations; for two tasty lunches I have been invited to while doing the work; for interesting deep discussion with Graham and his wife Perdita while enjoying the food; for two rainbows that I saw from the rooftop; for new points of view from that place; for the interesting work on the skylight that ended up being more like sculpturing as on some bits was more woodfiller than wood.

Decorating is for me partly anthropological research I have realized. Research about diverse people living in Bristol; about how they create and care about their home; about how much they are open to share it with others.

I left fulfilled; all holes filled – and there very many. On the woodstructure and in me too. Feels like everything holds together better now – different parts of me as well as pieces of wood.

The tricky corner stage 1: the rotten pieces hacked out + wood hardener applied

The tricky corner stage 2: wooden structure to support the filler + pieces of wood to save the wood filler


The tricky corner stage 3: first stage of filling + start of the upper corner


The tricky corner stage 4: after second fill


The tricky corner stage 5: after sanding and priming (Graham’s work)
* Please note if this was visible area I would play with it much more which means third filling and perfect smoothing but on the rooftop it was only functional treatment



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