Would you like to swing on a Star?

Since we all got put under house arrest, I have been religiously practising yoga and qigong and focusing on deep breathing. Walking uphill whenever possible, spending time in nature and taking my vits, looking on the bright side (as I usually do, like a bath toy that keeps bobbing cheerfully up to the surface) and being grateful for all the luck in my life. I eat well, been vegan for five years and always drink lots of water.
But if the virus is gonna get you, it’s gonna get you. So after feeling a bit funny for a week or so, I had to admit that it had.
I’m Ok: the scary heart racing and shortness of breath seem to have abated, the aches and pains and chills still come and go but it’s left me absolutely and utterly cream-crackered; I think it’s called post-viral fatigue.
In between feeling rubbish, it’s so frustrating – there’s so much I want to do! And right now, so little energy. But, as we all rethink the way we spend our days, there is lots of time; time stretching out into the far distance, and thanks to the amazing cosmic porthole of Instagram, I’ve discovered new windows onto the world.

Would You Like to Swing on a Star?

One of these is a whole community of junk journallers: scrap paper obsessives like myself who can’t resist that old bus ticket or pretty postage stamp or sweetie wrapper and turning it into something new in book form. I’ve always loved keeping  scrapbooks and making little handmade books and comics, and this is just another variation on that theme. I figured that assembling a junk journal would be something I could (mostly) do sitting up in bed.
So, I thought I’d have a go….and see where it takes me….sticking pictures into a scrapbook is, after all, something I’ve been doing since I was five.  Hmmm. Turns out that it’s  harder than I thought to compile something decent. Partly because I always want to turn it into a story, and instead of just throwing down some random images I want to find just the right bits to add to each page .

So the junk journal may take a while to complete, but it’s also quite a soothing and meditative thing to do, especially when you are tired and your concentration is fuzzy.  Why not have a go? I dare you…

Journal page: “Christmas”

Booklets and Comics

Paper has always been my favourite medium – it’s the first thing most of us use for scribbling and painting as children – and I’ve been making little books and comics and scrapbooks since forever. The more lo-fi the better. Here are some recent ones:

Lesfruitsdemel Catzine Melanie Pearson
LOVECATS: A romantic adventure on the mythical island of vegan cats! Hand cut and illustrated in full colour, imagining the love affair between a feral street moggy and a sophisticated French fashion cat.
A LITTLE BOOK OF LOVE AND LOSS: for when you lose someone precious.
Grief takes mysterious forms and can seem so unbearable that you’ll do anything to try to stop the pain. I began this after my brother died, when the world seemed very topsy turvy indeed. It felt soothing to make these images and remember that grief is the B side of love. I hope it will bring you some comfort if you too have lost someone.

A COLOURING BOOK FOR CARERS: Meditations and colouring pages for people looking after someone.
I made this little book as an artist’s response to the many hours spent waiting…in waiting rooms for health appointments and on the phone trying to contact various organisations on my brother’s behalf. Carers spend an awful lot of time in this way.
It started off with templates for colouring in and decorating, but gradually turned into a reminder to be positive and connect with the things that help us keep going.
KING OF THE CATS: A hand-drawn zine with a modern take on an old traditional fairy story. Because who knows what your cat gets up to in their “real” life when your back is turned?