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16 October 2014

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By Sue Stoppani
November 2006, Lampeter
A digital story from Capture Wales

Living Life to the Full

Sue's inspirational message to live life to the full while you can.

"My love of sculpture was born with me. It came from my sculptress mum, my dad who painted, and only started sculpture soon before he died, and my brother who was always making things too. Sculpture was part of life.

As a family together we built an igloo in the snow with a tunnel and ice window, endless snowmen and sandcastles. I watched, and knew that one day I could do that too. When snow falls there's an urgency to escape from work to get them made before dark. They don't last long, and always keep me mindful of life's transience. They appear and vanish without trace.

A beautiful child came into the world through me, little Anna, filled with joy and imagination, with a courageous spirit she faced the unknown. Later, I painted, wrote stories and poems, made clay animals. I did freelance work sign writing, painting murals, designing exhibitions, making jewellery - all erratic income.

I still made cakes for friends and family, these were soon gone. The mortgage demanded a steady salary so I took a full time job, I gave it everything I had. This is when it all stopped. On the surface I loved my work. At a deeper level, diversion from creativity has been a sentence, the mortgage blocking the way like a hideous gaoler. Thirty years a prisoner watching for a way out until, regardless of persuasive arguments against the risks, I went part time.

Change was instant and dramatic - the sense of liberation was immense! Making sculptures again and writing, I feel really alive.

If there is something you really want to do, do it now. Beware the mistake of leaving it too long. Live your life as an adventure now. You never know how much time there will be."

Sue Stoppani

Pease tell us a little about yourself.
I am of Italian/Irish extraction with an artistic background. I moved away from this to work with young people with special needs and/or sever trauma or behavioural difficulties. It has been worthwhile and challenging. I have learned a lot, but I consistently felt unfulfilled and desperate to return to a more creative way of living. My love of art in all its forms, especially sculpture, has pushed its way through and now I am at last doing what I love to do.

What's your story about?
The importance of making one's own unique contribution now, in the present, rather than leave it as a vague hope for unknown future. Consumerism and resultant stress is forcing us away from our innate creativity. I hope this story might prompt reflective thought in others.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
The sheer pleasure of working with a team of lovely, warm and encouraging people who share a fertile enthusiasm for the project. There was a sense of achievement and I learnt new skills in the process.

Your comments

"Very inspiring - thank you." Mo Morris, Berkeley, CA, USA, Sept 2007.

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