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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday Spotlight: Judah Raine

After a lot of thought, and some very critical consideration, I’ve decided that maybe I’m perfectly sane and it’s the rest of the world that has the problem…

Those who know me really well would probably disagree. No, strongly disagree. My beloved late husband used to always say he hoped he never had to live in a house where I was the resident ghost. No-one would ever get any peace! It’s a general consensus that I’m the only human being on the planet that LOVES the ads on TV. They give me an excuse to get up and do something! Another friend, in great affection and frustration, once told me my problem was that I was a “perfectionist and over-achiever”.

I suppose it depends on your perspective, and your definition of “normal”. To me, it’s little more than a setting on a hairdryer. Not that I own one. I used to, but that was before I realized that the time and effort used in “driving” it effectively could be better diverted elsewhere.

The biggest problem is that life is just so full of potential, and opportunities, and explorations and… I suppose, if I really had to define myself, it would be “learning obsessive” and “creative obsessive”. I love new “stuff”, digging into a new challenge and mastering it. And I love anything creative. I write (like I actually need to say that!). I’m a musician (guitar) and vocalist and am currently experimenting with combining my love for music and my love for words in writing my own compositions. I’m also learning the piano backwards – writing the songs, then working out how to play them. The long way round I’m sure, but I seem to be making progress.

Growing up in a farming community that had none of the distractions of the bright lights of the city, and coming from good, solid British 1820 stock, I absorbed the wonderful heritage of the art of handcraft. From elaborately hand-knitted fine table-cloths to crochet milk jug covers with beaded patterns and edgings. The spectrum of possibilities was enormous. I learned how to “join holes together with cotton” – my Dad’s description of the almost lost art of tatting. I’ve learned to make hand-woven lace, spin yarn from the wool of “home-grown” sheep, fabric painting, how to draft patterns, and how to “cure” my own cowhide rugs.

It was a fabulous gift, a real passport to a world of infinite possibilities. Most of them I enjoyed, but I think discovering “bead craft” was possibly the best of all. Coming from “Kei country” – the narrow border strip between the Kei River and the Fish River – part of my heritage was the elaborate beading of the Xhosa tribes. Many a Saturday afternoon, the young Xhosa men would call in at the house on their way to one of their parties all decked out (literally head to toe) in their beaded finery, lovingly created by the girl they were courting, so that we could send them off with the right amount of admiration to get their egos primed.

For me, my love of romance took me in the direction of beaded wedding gowns and “one off” gowns, mainly for friends and family. It’s a wonderfully relaxing pastime, immensely creative as I usually create my own design and the appliqué motifs needed, and then “paint” the embroidered detail and beading to finish the picture.

Sadly, their aren’t enough hours in a day. I need to clone myself. One to write. One to bead. One to run Classic Romance Revival, created to bring together authors, readers and publishers of classic romance. What was that…? One to cook and clean? Now maybe that should be top of the list – with all the fun stuff out there waiting, who needs to do housework?


Hywela Lyn said...

Great article, Judah - and I can certainly relate to wanting to clone oneself! I am a fairly 'arty' person myself, and used to paint, crochet, sketch etc., but I just don't have time now between writing and my animals. I don't know how you manage it, that beautiful beadwork must take hours! I'm full of admiration!

Sue A. said...

You're a very multi-talented person. I know someone who is also talented with the needle. I'd always wished I had someone to teach me those crafts. Remember to pass on your knowledge and hopefully your talent.