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A wordsmith by vocation.

For a few years, I was an artist. I made textile art, by felting wool with soap and hot water into pictures. I would sew over them, either by machine or embroidering by hand, and sometimes, I would sew tiny beads on too where the pictures needed it: as glints of sunlight reflecting off the sea, or as the centre of flowers. I would frame them and have the occasional exhibition, and if I was lucky, people would fall in love with them and volunteer to part with their money to own them.

This weekend, I cleared out an enormous chest of drawers of all these artists' materials. Some of it has been squirrelled away in case of future use: you never know when you might need a little blue bead or some yellow embroidery thread. But the wool all went. I offered it to friends and it was all snapped up. It feels good. I've shed my skin.

People - usually fellow artists - ask me if I miss it. I haven't made a new picture for well over a year. I still have a few old pictures, and in case you were wondering, yes, I have an exhibition coming up very shortly. But no, I don't miss it. These days I am happier: I have different art to make and it feels better. I take some writing, in a different language, and I slowly, carefully, take it all apart, unpicking its stitches until I can see exactly what's underneath. Then I painstakingly put it together, in my own language, the one I'm best at. I don't need soap and hot water these days, but sometimes if I feel it needs it, I might do a little embroidery, or sew a few beads on where they're needed, so that the sea has glints of sunlight reflecting off it, and my flowers have centres, if the original had these too. And when it's finished, I send it off in a metaphorical frame to a happy client.

It's art. And I'm still an artist. This was what I was meant to be doing.

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