The Artist's Year

Issue 64

The seasons and rhythms of the year unfold regardless of global pandemics, and this year is no exception.

Here at Mary Ann Rogers Gallery we are wearing an extra jumper and crunching through fallen leaves to get to the door. The days seem ridiculously short and any exercise must be taken before night falls at about 4.30pm these days. There is no shortage of things to do after dark in the run up to Christmas though! Our Christmas print and gift catalogue is now sitting on kitchen tables all round the UK, and people are choosing beautiful, luxury and quirky gifts for loved ones. We offer a wrap and ship option this year, making life easier for may people who just can’t get out, or find shopping and visiting post offices just too tricky. We source most of our gift ideas in the UK, where covid has created some desperate times in some workplaces. Staff numbers have been cut to as low as 60% to ensure social distancing, and Health and Safety officers are making spot checks in one of my supplier’s factory in Lancashire where my printed fabric items are made. This has created delays which have directly impacted our Christmas orders, but customers are very understanding thank goodness! At this time of year we usually need extra staff to cope with the online orders, but this year, this has started earlier than usual, and the volume is much higher. This causes issues at our local post office, which is very small, and can hardly cope with more than one sack of mail, let alone three or even four. I have a fantasy where the CEO of Royal Mail spends a morning with us, and realises that the system is absolutely not geared up to help small businesses at all, but with a few simple tweaks, could be made to work so much better. Year- round outdoor swimming is one of my passions, and yesterday’s river swim was just magical. As we arrived at our swim spot, a kingfisher popped up and flew just above the surface of the river in a flash of turquoise. Just before we entered the water, a vast salmon leapt out of the water creating big ripples on the surface of the dark water. Shortly afterwards another, smaller fish made an attempt to leap the small waterfall into ‘our’ pool. The sun was setting with a final burst of gold as we got out and quickly dried and dressed ourselves, before drinking warm juice and popping the hot water bottle down our coats to try to warm up as the light faded.

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