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Monday 16 May 2011

Holiday treasures

I always manage to find a treasure or two to take home with me from Norfolk.

Often it is a hole with a stone around it from one of my favourite beaches sometimes it is a dried frog found beside the fish pond and saved for me by my Dad. Last visit it was a lovely album belonging to my great-grandmother.

This time it was something very different.

The pink object in the picture above is a pastry-cutter cube. I discovered it in the hardware section of a local department store when I called in to buy mothballs.

The elderly man who sold it to me was almost as enthusiastic as I was when he saw it. At first he was excited for a different reason. For not having to rummage through the kitchen draw to find the shape he wanted, but when I explained my need for something that little, and big hands with movement problems could grab on to without sticking nails and finger tips into the pastry, he shared in my enthusiasm too. In fact, we had quite a long conversation about the need for all sorts of tools for hands that have problems. He even asked me where I worked.

A few days after this day of enthusiastic discovery in Norwich I was in a different part of the world buying replacement pans for my paint box. I started to discuss the going-on-for-fifty-years-old paint-box that I have and use when I am in Norwich. It was given to me one Christmas by an inspired great-aunt when I was a very young child. I often wonder how she knew.

In the art shop I explained to the salesman and owner that this paint-box had bought such a joy to me during my childhood and to have had paints that I did not have to scrub at to get some colour on my brush had always been a treat.

I remained in the tiny art shop that sold just about everything an artist could need for quite some time nearly missing my train. I described to the man the joy that the children and adults who I work with share when I allow them to use my artist-quality water colours, at five pounds for a Series A, 5ml pan. I described how I tell my clients that the paints, paper and paintbrushes are really precious and that I expect them to be taken care of. My clients love the bright colours, and also the tiny pieces of paper that I give them that encourage the use of just the tip of their brush. They do not have the space on the paper to press down really hard or to make huge strokes and by doing so cutting the hairs of the brush on the metal. The strong colours and the nice grain of the paper encourage my clients to paint carefully and creatively just as they do me.

The wonderful man in the art shop was so interested in the story that he gave me my paints at discount price. This makes a huge difference when a Series A costs almost five pounds and the paper I chose almost one pound for an A4 sheet.

I have a lot more holiday treasures in my memories of this time in England and I have one other special treasure for the children at work. Something that I will use on Tuesday and photograph in Use.

More later.

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