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Jane Hawley

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Night Writing
Written by Ardent Hare   
Monday, 22 October 2012 12:09

I would like to thank ardent hare for helping to change my life around; this is mainly because of being asked to write this blog which has been an empowering experience for me that I will be grateful for the rest of my life. When I was a child I had severe problems with reading and writing leaving school with only a qualification in dressmaking.

Because I had so many problems at school I was bullied constantly and also had a very unhappy home life as well, I never did any written work at school or homework, I wasn’t disruptive or rude to the teachers I just spent my time looking out of the window dreaming and making wishes to be happy in the future when they let me out of what felt like being in prison.

Although I had a difficult time as a child I am happy with who I am today and how these experiences have moulded me making my personality unique, knowing how to use my creativity to heal my wounds to keep me strong,  my art work is enriched and my music comes directly from my soul . I feel that this is a power in my life that can’t be taught at school , I am happy I didn’t listen and was living in my own dream world, I didn’t get brainwashed like the others leaving me capable of independent thought  and I am now not scared to use my intelligence how I would like to use it.

night righting 3One of the reasons I chose to make a living as an artist is because I thought I wouldn’t have to read and write, but little did I know that I would still have to deal with things like sending invoices and writing proposals. I was diagnosed with dyslexia after I left school and didn’t think it mattered so much then and didn’t seek any help. I have always believed that being dyslexic is a bonus meaning that I have a good imagination and memory as well as being able to visualise things better than a non-dyslexic, which are the greatest gifts an artist can have.

As I grew up I found that my fear of reading and writing started to grow too, not having the confidence to do it because of bad experience’s when I was younger holding me back. I am very confident in my abilities as an artist and never had problems with being able to create, but in the past not being able to write a simple thing like a letter has stopped me getting work and at one point I lost £600 because I didn’t have the confidence to write an invoice until it was too late. night righting 5

Over the years I have always tried to improve my writing skills, I do see the importance now and I lost a lot of my independence in the past relying on other people to help me. Getting my own laptop has helped me to gain some confidence to write letters and gain control over how I feel about writing but still found it hard work, until I started writing this blog I didn’t expect when I was first asked that I would end up enjoying writing and find it fun! I have found that I have a new skill that will help me progress with my dreams independently, I have already found that I can confidently write a letter now without panicking and getting scared.

This now means that I no longer fear reading and writing making it easier for me to progress leaving behind all the sadness that was associated with it. My confidence has improved in all areas of my life and I feel I am a happier person all round, with nothing holding me back now and because of the trust and belief that Ardent Hare put in me I now believe in myself and feel I  have a great future ahead of me.

Images: Night Writing 3 and Night Writing 5, Jane Hawley

Written by Jane Hawley   
Monday, 02 July 2012 09:44

I have been a bit out of balance recently, I started to feel well and got excited about the freedom good health gives me and tried to go about life the same way I would have done before I became ill several years ago. Without a thought about how things have changed in my life, I started burning the candle at both ends and then managed to melt the little bit that was left over in-between the very late nights and hectic days. At first I enjoyed the feeling of freedom and wandered freely from my routine that was keeping me in good health, I then became lost forgetting to eat and rest properly which led me to stumble and trip, falling over my keenness to thrive and grow quickly, I did too much didn’t listen to myself and then became ill again.

I am now making time for myself trying to find my balance again planting my feet firmly in the ground allowing things to grow slowly in its own time, making realistic goals that I can achieve without becoming stressed and forgetting to take care of myself.  My imagination had took over my common sense and I exhausted myself too soon so I reined in my thoughts and went back to a place that is safe for my creativity to grow.

Sterling Silver boxesOriginally I qualified as a silversmith learning to make large items of silverware and fine jewellery, working with silver is a discipline that I find comforting to fall back on.  I like feeding my mind with solid information and practicalities of process, controlling materials to create something perfect and beautiful when the rest of the world seems out of control to me.  The feel of silver and its workability is very satisfying it seems the more I work with it the more I fix my mind helping me to feel better again.


Recently I have been finding a way of integrating my valuable silversmithing skills with my artwork, in the past I have separated being a silversmith from being an artist. I think this is because when I studied silversmithing I enter into a trade specialising in making luxury items like silver teapots and challises for industry using highly skilled specialist techniques. I loved making with silver and am still passionate about the craft now, unfortunately I had to stop working with it when I left college. This was mainly Because I was a single parent and couldn’t afford to set up as a silversmith at that time, the equipment is expensive rather than the silver itself and there has to be good space to work in, although steadily over the years I have managed to build up enough equipment to eventually start working with it again when I have a suitable work space.

A silver seed that I found planted in my imagination I called it “Constellation”.









I made this piece with Precious Metal Clay (PMC), glass, cubic zirconium and lab created sapphires, PMC is a new medium made from recycled silver particles mixed with an organic binder to make clay which can be shaped like ordinary ceramic clay to make jewellery, then a bit of alchemic magic takes place when it is heated to a high temperature and the organic binder burns away leaving pure silver behind, the piece can then be hallmarked as fine silver.

Constellation detail 1Constellation detail 2









This revolutionary new material didn’t exist when I was studying over 20 years ago. I enjoy using it and find it allows me more creative freedom than working with highly technical methods used with sterling silver. Because PMC is more accessible, I can do it from my home while I am feeling unwell, without needing the specialist tools used in traditional silversmithing to achieve the same results, as well as being completely ethical as it is a recycled material .

Working with precious metals again has made me think about the ethical issues that surround them and their status as currency. I am interested in why we aspire to gold, silver and diamonds, when it is really human resource that is behind the value of their preciousness. I have started to create art works in response to these thoughts and will be using precious and nonprecious materials to explore the concept further.  Although I am working on a lot smaller scale than I originally imagined at this time, I now feel I have room to develop and make solid roots for bigger projects to grow, which I am sure will be more successful in the long run and at the moment working closer to my heart and home is helping me to balance myself and keep me feeling well.

Images: Sterling Siver boxes (top left), Constellation (above centre), Constellation, front detail (above left), Constellation, back detail (above right), all by Jane Hawley.

Written by Jane Hawley   
Monday, 30 April 2012 08:54

Because I have been going through a divorce over the last year I have started using photography as a way to express my feelings to help me through this difficult time.  I take photos with the camera on my mobile phone because it is accessible without having to set up equipment and spend money on materials. This has helped me take my mind off my problems at the same time I feel I am progressing with my art work.

If I have a problem that I can’t solve I tend to find it hard to put it down until I have found some sort of positive outcome. Because of this I work myself into a state of stress so I can’t go to sleep and in the end I stay up all night being upset and still not find any solutions. When I have found myself still awake at this time I realise my attention shifts from my problems to getting excited about something special about to happen, the sunrise.jane night time

I am very lucky that my flat has a balcony overlooking the sea and the South Downs, I don’t get views of the sunset from here, but I am happy to have the sun rise as it always feels like a more personal experience because you know most people are tucked up in bed dreaming their dreams.

I feel like an honorary witness to the sun creating a temporary master piece, painting the dawn with soft soothing hues of powdery pinks and purples braking into bright golden blue, allowing the dark night clouds to slowly reveal their silver linings. I put my mind into another place and start to feel better, then stop panicking and make a bit of space for silence, so I can hear the birds singing their morning blessings.  At this point, I have completely forgotten about my problems and feel the urge to capture the unique event with my camera.jane sunrise

When I start being creative and absorbed in what I am doing, I connect with a deeper part of me and this is when I get the resolution I was looking for and create space in the situation, so I can understand what is going on without hurting. I also feel empowered that I have captured all the things I couldn’t deal with and transformed them into something beautiful.

Images: Photographs at night and sunrise, Jane Hawley.

Open to Creativity
Written by Jane Hawley   
Wednesday, 28 March 2012 07:45

lightsresizedLetting go of old hoarding habits has allowed me to relax and reflect which has made room for positive thoughts to grow and bloom. I don’t feel overwhelmed by the day before it begins, I am less distracted and more focused giving me confidence to achieve and make real my ideas and dreams. I find my imagination is more open to creativity.

I even wrote a poem ……

The stars have eyes
hidden distant and wise
witness for eternity
looking after secrets
written deep in time
forever weaving strings
and spinning cosmic rhyme

An image of a large paper and willow angel structureI am always trying to find balance in my life and pace myself so I can achieve more, enabling me to manage my disability independently. I started thinking about the importance of how my surroundings affect my mood, looking at what makes me feel relaxed like living in a clutter free functional home. I also looked at what is over stimulating me and making me ill, like a supermarket atmosphere with unnatural bright lights and colours that hurt my eyes, with chemical aromas invading my nose and making me feel sick as well as sounds that numb my mind not giving me space to think, which is all persuading me to make spontaneous decisions about what I want to buy and often bringing in to my life more than I can cope with. Recently I stopped going to supermarkets and started getting my shopping from local outlets to support smaller business rather than give money to big corporate companies that don’t care about the environment and how much plastic they produce. Plastic is the hardest thing fror me to let go of because I know that when it leaves my hands it won’t just disappear. All this adds stress to my day which has a long term negative affect on my wellbeing.Image of a structure suspended within a church

I find it interesting how the big businesses are using environments to induce us into making choices by using colour, light, sound and aroma in giant overpowering spaces that can turn your mind off before you even enter. I have noticed that colour, light and sound is a very important influence on how I am healing, because I have a lot of pain in my body I often need to be in a quiet place that will help me transport my mind and lift my mood because when I am happy I feel less pain. Looking at how my health is affected by surroundings has inspired me to design a large scale installation using light, colour and sound - the same way a supermarket does - to manipulate people’s feelings to get people to part with their money. Instead I would like to design a space that would lift and restore peoples energies and create a feeling of sanctuary. I plan to make the installation as a temporary interactive environment that can be displayed at festivals and community events for people to enjoy in their own time.

Before I became ill my main income was from making giant structures for celebratory events, this was something I enjoyed doing immensely but unfortunately at the time I became too ill to cope with the demanding nature of community arts to carry on working and had to take a break for a while. I have missed making with willow as part of my creative practice because it is a fun material to play with and always involves working with lots of people to achieve successful results. Having less clutter in my life has allowed me space in my imagination to visualise giant structures again which will now hopefully lead me to making my next willow artwork.

Images: Lights (top), Angel Lantern (above left) and Untitled (above right), Jane Hawley

Creating Space
Written by Jane Hawley   
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 10:45

Since my last blog I have finally made space in my life.

I started about 5 months ago clearing from my home unwanted stuff and clutter, right down to the very last of the tiniest  bits and bobs, letting go of things I didn’t even know I had or how they came into my life, things that have been getting in my way for far too long . purple bird resizedThe trouble is, I see a creative use for everything and hold on to stuff I don’t really need, hoping to find a right time and the space to make more things out of my hoarded treasures.  In the end my mind was full with worry about what to do with all these things I had collected, that they were actually stopping me from being creative and what I really need is empty space in my home and in my head. Living with too much clutter is making it more difficult to be creative because of the lack of space to work in.  I like to use found and recycled materials to work with, which is a great free resource with proper storage and organization, but without good planning it can be really messy and impractical to keep for long enough to be able to use.

When I realised that it was time to change and improve my environment for my wellbeing, I got all the things I owned out of the draws, cupboards and boxes so they weren’t hidden anymore and I could deal with the problem out in the open. Immediately I became overwhelmed and distressed by the task and not knowing where to start. I tried to avoid the situation which was impossible by then with everything in the middle of my living room. Then I came to the conclusion it was best to do a little bit at a time, step by step till I established order in my home. With a place for everything now found and not letting it build up again by being conscious about what comes in and making sure stuff keeps going out to charity shops or recycling bins I am hoping to keep it that way.

image of coastal scene with boatAlthough my clutter was comforting and giving me a false sense of security  I am happier with the space that is left behind  which is giving me a chance to reflect on good things to come and leaving room for my imagination to grow. While I was ill over the  years I let things and stuff take over my space because I didn’t have the energy to move forward with my life. It took a lot of effort to let go of things that I became attached to but it also took a lot of effort to keep hold of them. My home is  now becoming  a place of sanctuary making me feel good and this will then hopefully  reflect in my artwork that  I can now make in a nice clear space.

I find that space is very important to the creative process. When I am playing music, often the most powerful moment is when there is a break in the sound  making what comes after the quiet much more pronounced and meaningful. The same happens when I am painting or drawing. Often what is left out is the strongest feature allowing the imagination to fill in the gaps.

Thanks for reading.


Ardent Hare is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 05574285. Charity No: 1121501