"Hiraeth"39" x 29"
In the late fall of 2012, there was a call for a challenge group I don't belong to - "self portrait". I had never done a self portrait and the idea sat in my head like background music that I didn't pay much attention to until I came across the word "hiraeth" on Facebook two weeks before Christmas.
I'm an avid reader, and work with words for a living, so I was curious enough to look up this unfamiliar word and learned that it was a Welsh word with no real English equivalent. But the closest equivalent is "homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over the lost".
This word really struck a chord with me and I knew that I wanted my self portrait to incorporate the concept of "hiraeth". This naturally led me to thoughts of my past, and so I knew that my self-portrait would reflect the little girl I once was; who, though she is still a formative part of my adult self as I hold her safe and protected in my heart, is irretrievably lost to me.
That same evening, I drew up a rough sketch, wrote some notes (the second page not pictured talks about the elephant) and I got to work a couple of days later.
As a child I spent nearly all my free time outside - especially in summer, when the seemingly endless sunny days allowed me to leave the house early in the morning before anyone else was awake, and, after packing myself a lunch and breakfasting out of the garden; I would slip into the woods, where I spent my days in the company of trees with my imaginary friends.
Elephants were my favourite - and though I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting an elephant outside of the strictures of a zoo; Little Kit fervently hoped to see one one day; hiding amongst the trees.
My dog, and sometimes my cat, accompanied me for part or sometimes the whole of the day; and one or the other was never far from me even if I couldn't see them. And I sometimes came upon them in quite unexpected places!
I loved otters passionately - and from the first time I saw them, I felt such an affinity with them that I was quite sure I had been one in a prior life! Although I never saw an otter as I played in the woods, I often imagined that one walked with me wherever I went.
As a child, I loved fairies, sprites and elves, and was quite sure that they not only existed, but came to sit with me while I napped under sun-dappled leaves. Sometimes when I woke I was positive I could hear their laughter as they flitted away and I often sat and tried to sing them back to me.
My love of fairies remains -and though these days I don't try to sing them to me; I *do* wear a silver fairy on a chain around my neck - a daily reminder to keep Little Kit and her wonder and belief close.
The woods were full of wildlife - birds and bugs and butterflies, tree toads, foxes, black bears - I even saw a wolf from time to time - and though I looked at everything and touched almost all of it - I felt myself a part of the forest and so never harmed nor was harmed by anything in it.
And I was convinced that if only I looked carefully enough - I would find the fairy doors!
And she, and her world, are a large part of what forms me today.
Regular readers will note that I link up most Fridays with "Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday!" and this week, for the first time - I'm hosting!
So, if you have a finish you'd like to show off, please link up here and don't forget to tour the other finishes and spread the comment love!