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Living Artfully

March 2020

Studio mate Lizzie Everard asked me to open the March 2020 Gleam Session with some thoughts about how I make time for my passions on a Friday. Below are the notes I worked from. The thoughts I shared last night were a touch more rambling ;)

Living artfully

I am going to talk to you about how I made time for drawing, poetry, printmaking and writing around my day job as a graphic designer.

When my daughter was born I took Fridays off to spend with her. When she went to school I decided to keep Fridays as a day of making.

Making time is the first act of creation, and should be done creatively.

  • I knew that in order to make all this a sustainable part of my life I would have to integrate it into my life. Make creation ordinary

  • I found the best way to make time was in small parcels, in my case Fridays
    – I wasn't going to take a sabbatical, go on a retreat
    – Make part of the routine: school run, day job, sleep
    – But I showed up, I had to make the work

  • I followed my interest on the day

  • I removed expectations, knowing they will stifle joy of making
    – Joy was more important than progress

  • I allowed things to evolve, or not. It didn't matter

  • If I made a mess I cleaned it up. Sounds small, but you have to clear your decks!

  • I shared my work but not obsessively

  • Walking the dog influenced my work. I kept my mind open to any type of small influence

  • I wasn't afraid of routine!
    – It gets results and builds resilience
    – Little and often my work built up. Confidence too

  • Bad work always happened but good work always followed if I kept showing up and making work

  • I did not despair! I did something else if necessary. I washed the dishes

My big takeaways:

  • Removing expectations from making.
    – Make this all sustainable, integrated
    – Produces an emotional connection to the work: no briefs etc.

  • I was surprised and came to truly value the commonplace and small
    – Using materials to hand
    – Experiences of the day
    – Buzzards on my dog walk
    – music through my ears.
    – Rain on the roof of the studio.

  • For me it goes without saying but it makes me a better designer

  • Also absolutely makes my life better and richer

  • "Nothing comes from nothing"
    – You have to make time to make the work.
    – Everything comes from giving your passions time and space.