Stepping forward into the new decade with a new creative venture, Balanced-Earth.


Written by Karen Whiterod

10 January 2020

This is my first journal item for the Balanced-Earth website. Developing B-E has been linked to my approach to low-impact living, so it will touch on personal experiences and observations.

On Monday while making the clay “positives” for three new plaster moulds, I took a small piece of clay and rolled it between my thumb and forefinger, and recalled that ten years ago this movement caused pain. In 2010 I developed rheumatoid arthritis, an auto-immune disease. My ability to make, dance and take country walks were stopped as joint pain and tiredness overcame me. I learnt much from that challenging time, it gave clarity about what was essential for my own well-being when my capacity for activity was limited.

When I was able to walk again amongst the trees, on the grass and stand on a cliff top looking at the sea, the uplift in my spirits of that first slow walk outside (punctuated with sitting on a fold-up stool), motivated me and helped with my recovery. It was a similar experience when I returned to my studio, the familiar scent of my workspace, handling my tools and touching the materials gave me a surge of energy. On the easing of symptoms, my rheumatology consultant asked what I attributed this to. At the time I was surprised as he had prescribed my medication, eventually I understood that I was recovering more quickly than expected, I believe being in nature and making helped to heal me.

Nature is beautiful and amazing, the balanced ecosystems and biodiversity that keeps this world functioning is awesome! It cannot be assumed that these systems will continue in the usual way as humankind pollutes with no limit. The human immune system is incredible too, but can stop protecting the body and start to attack it as with auto-immune diseases. We enter the time of climate emergency when tipping points are being breached. Those who came before us were not aware of the consequences of fossil fuel and plastic pollution, and for those who come after us (or are now young children) it will be too late so it is for us to shoulder responsibility.

In developing Balanced-Earth, I’ve wanted it to be about creative positivity for me while endeavouring to do no harm to the environment. By using many techniques to use waste materials, I can change activities if I start to experience pain in any joints, also the variety keeps my interest. Now ten years later I have the excitement of launching Balanced-Earth, this new creative venture. I hope you like what you see!

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