FANTASTICALLY GREAT WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD BLOG TOUR: "If it hadn’t been for one great woman..." | Weaving Pages: FANTASTICALLY GREAT WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD BLOG TOUR: "If it hadn’t been for one great woman..."

Friday, 16 September 2016

FANTASTICALLY GREAT WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD BLOG TOUR: "If it hadn’t been for one great woman..."

Author Kate Pankhurst has written a book that I will pass on to my sister, my parents, my future daughters and sons, and their daughters and sons too; that's how shiny of a gem I think this book is. With gorgeous illustrations, this is something for you to feast your eyes, your heart and your mind on, but until you get your hands on it I have another wonderful thing for you. 

Here at Weaving Pages, we are all about empowering girls to be passionate about life, and we are all about stories too. It's no secret that everyone has a fantastically great woman who changed her world, and that woman should be celebrated. Today, Kate is here to share her story about the great woman who changed her world, so that perhaps everyone who reads this can take a moment to remember all the fantastic women to whom we owe so much to. Don't forget them.

Want to know what I thought of the book? My review will be posted in the upcoming weeks, but in short I adored it! Another thing I would adore would be for you to comment who the fantasically great woman who changed your world is. Share it with me in the comment below!

A Great Woman Who Changed my World …

To say I feel lucky to be doing a job that really doesn’t feel like a job is an understatement. It doesn’t feel like a job because everyday I get to do something I’ve loved since childhood.

I’ve always loved the surprising things that can happen as you doodle. I say surprising because even now I still find a blank white page daunting. I get the fear that I’ll never draw anything good or think of a new story idea. But slowly, from scribbles emerge sparkly new ideas. Drawing seems to tap into a part of my brain that is otherwise hard to access, where all of my best story ideas are squirreled away, waiting to wiggle their way to freedom onto the page.

If it hadn’t been for one great woman, I might never have got past that fear of the blank page. (It’s something that seems to take over many people as they get older when it comes to drawing.) That great woman was my Mum, Lyn. Without her my passion for the pencil might have remained a nice little hobby I was once quite good at, in a childish sort of way.

Drawing and painting was something both my mum and my nan, enjoyed and were good at when they were young. But back then the freedom to toddle off to study a degree in something like illustration wasn’t really an option. Painting was a pastime rather than a career.

For over forty years my mum has enjoyed a satisfying career as a children’s nurse at Alder Hey Children’s hospital in Liverpool, but she always said that she’d loved to have had more opportunities to develop her artistic talents. The endless encouragement my wonky sketches received from mum helped me to believe in myself and not to listen too much to that voice that says you can’t do something.

Mum never said, “oooh, maybe you should do something that you’ll actually be paid for?”  Or, “perhaps it would be safer to do business studies instead?”.  In fact, it never crossed my mind that I couldn’t have a career in the arts. As a child you don’t realise that you are very fortunate to have that freedom to follow your talent. I can see now, especially after years of working with children in primary schools as a visiting author and illustrator, that being surrounded by those who encourage you and make you think that anything is possible is essential to having the confidence to follow your dreams.

Back in the eighties, I remember the living room focal point at my nan’s house – two colourful oil paintings of birds hanging above the gas fire. Nan proudly told me that it was my mum who painted them when she was young. I was hugely impressed. Birds were tricky and were something I just couldn’t draw very well. These looked like the sort of realistic artwork you’d see in old fashioned Ladybird books about British hedgerow wildlife.

Mum would talk wistfully about bird paintings and the talent she never had time to explore anymore, saying that when she retired she’d get a shed put up at the end of the garden to use as a painting studio.

The shed idea never really went away. When I returned home from university after graduating from an illustration degree, my parents set up a shed at the end of the garden for me to begin work on my first two published picture books. As a skint ex-student I had nowhere to work apart from my childhood bedroom. Without the shed my career really may never have got off the ground. (Although the resident spider population that came to join me in the shed did make me question my career choice.)

My mum never got round to using my shed to revisit her talents but she has since semi-retired and dabbled in an art course and randomly, tap dancing.
I really should remind her of her plans for the shed next time we speak.

Thanks mum. 

rita xo

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