Thursday, 10 January 2013

That De-Cluttered New Year Feeling.

Happy New Year!

I too love the new start, clean slate feeling and it was interesting to me in the days running up to New Year to notice just how your physical surroundings can affect that feeling.

Work on my new wet studio starts this week ( in fact as I am scheduling this so we are back on a Friday posting schedule after the holidays, so it should be two days into progress by now.) In preparation for that we had had to clear the garage out as the plan is to convert that into an area for laundry and surface design. (No, NOT at the same time!).

This was how it was just before the final sort out. Much was rubbish but much was also equipment for dying or old financial records that I was obliged to keep for a number of years and which had been languishing in here since the house move. So all those things went up to my studio where they sat in huge piles cluttering up my reading nook. They were not in the way of the work area of my studio at all but I noticed that their looming presence was discouraging me from going to the studio and was hindering my creative thinking. I felt my whole head was overcrowded and cluttered.

I didn't take a photo of that period but eventually I spent a couple of hours sorting and shifting and now it is all crammed into my studio bathroom cupboard. Still, as you can see less than idea,. But behind the wall of stuff everything is categorised into ordered boxes ready for transporting to the completed studio.

And it did make a huge difference. I was back in the spacious studio and I felt free to get back to work. And almost immediately I shifted all the furniture around and erected a greenhouse in my studio. I know. Bizarre. But I am excited to have the opportunity to display a piece of work in an open air event in Belgium and I thought that extending my recent works involving African Shacks to, um, an actual shack would be fun.

This is it showing the beginning of the inside lining only at the moment. The plan is to hang art on the inside as well once the actual structure is made. So, sister, I fully hear what you said about using your space differently and effectively. So very important.

As for New Year Goals, I was quite surprised when I reviewed my year. The SAQA Visioning Project year runs October to September and in October 2011 I set myself some goals. At that stage I had just moved into the new studio and what I was really aiming at was establishing a good serious studio habit and, basically, justifying the cost of said studio! I said that in a twelve month period I wanted to make 9 large works and 15 small and the response was generally along the lines of: seriously? When?!

In the middle of that visioning year I had a disaster with a quilt I had put a lot of time into and I decided that the overarching aim of a studio practice had been established and that the specific goals were no longer achievable or even needed. So I just reverted to maintaining time in the studio. Indeed in October this year when the new Visioning Year started I revised my goals away from production targets to what I termed being a 70:30 artist. I.e. if my studio and full time day job time were totalled up, art ( including writing) would be 30% or 51 hours a month

When I reviewed my year on 1st Jan, I was not surprised to see I had beaten my time target but I was pleased to see I accidentally almost met the abandoned goal in that I made

6 completed large works with one still in progress and half done and one abandoned very near completion (Large was defined as one side over 25 inches but most of these were much much bigger than that)

14 small works with one ( the 20/12 disasterous Sweet quilt) half done.

Of course my initial reaction was ; darn! What I could have done if I had really tried!! You are so right when you said of us that ' we feel the things we haven't done more keenly than we feel the awareness of what we've accomplished'.

So, it seemed to me that my system was working and that no major overhauls were needed but at the same time I wanted to consider a plan for 2013. In the end I have come up with a Trimester Plan that I think is quite kind to myself:

Trimester One ( January to end of March)

I will complete the following projects:

1. Complete my African Shack for Belgium

2. A quilt based on Brick Lane with the theme of Transitions for my local Etcetera group challenge ( to be entered at the Uttoxeter show) this must be based on a grid of 3 x 4 sixteen inch squares .

3. Complete another quilt for Uttoxeter which I do not wish to show until nearer the time ( because it is a surprise for someone who will see it there for the first time but which is almost done and is HUGE!!

4. Finish my 20/12 Sweet quilt ( which should have been done in 2012 but I had a melt down)

5. Complete an embroidery for the Uttoxeter show again following the Etcetera Group Challenge requirements for basing the work on Transitions and a 3 x 4 grid of squares.

6. Oversee the work on the wet studio and equip the room fully ready for surface design work.

7. Participate in the quilting community, specifically the Etcetera Group and SQAQ online groups

I would also like to complete a quilt for the SAQA Text Message challenge but I have placed this as an added extra on the list due to the size of the other projects.

At Easter I have a two week holiday then commence...

Trimester Two ( Mid April to Mid -September)

Play in the wet studio. And if I like take the results and play with them in the dry studio

That's it. Isn't that a great goal? No chance I can fail on that one J

I tend to think ahead of myself. I have all kinds of ideas all of which require me to be proficient at things I have not really had much ( or any) experience of yet due to the constraints of my space. So this is my time. I do have a list of methods to try and, because I loathe noodling around with no purpose at all, I will be vaguely making samples with a nod to my current themes of shacks, immigration, text and maps. But I shall allow play and experimentation and mess in the name of finding skills and confidence.

I am so looking forward to having a space where things can be ready to go and if I want to spend 15 mins printing I can because everything is mixed up and to hand. Not like now where wet work requires a sort of room conversion.

Oh and I lied. That's not it. I also have another goal to build up a scrapbook of inspirational images to keep in the studio. I also anticipate that I will want to sew so this is my time to make some easy, fun lap quilts with all the fabric I bought on my Round the World Trip. I actually anctipate getting a little ( OK, a lot) annoyed with myself and my lack of immediate skills as I start something new so some improvisational piecing will be good therapy.

Trimester Three (Mid September onwards)

I will be attending a class at Committed to Cloth called...... with Clare Benn. I have been wanting to do this for ages and I am determined that I am going to be ready for it so I can go with purpose and learn and work intention to make the most of my five days. So the Trimester two builds up to that. Immediately after that class I intend to review what I have learned and, taking into account what calls for entry are around for my various groups, and what excites me to work with then, I am going to go back to setting some serious productivity goals.

Do you know what I mean if I say that this feels like a 'spacious' year? I feel like I have room ( literally and figuratively) to grow into my self this year, without too much pressure, and I am excited about that. I think maybe a rotating pattern of hard production months interspersed with a more deliberate fallow and learning/ experimentation process might work well for me generally. We shall see. I also hope to get to reading some of the creativity books on my list over this period.

You asked to see how I have altered my filofaxes to fit with my new year goals. Well, I haven't much really. I rejigged some sections in my studio journal (A5 Ochre Malden) and put new tabs on them, but the basic contents are the same. The new stuff is a list of suggestions to myself and equipment list of the new studio. And I started to use the purple A5 Malden for samples and surface design notes but that is still a work in progress. I am hoping it will get FAT in the new studio!

And the Focus system I wrote about over on Plan Create Succeed works for the studio work too, especially for the present when I really have to focus to get all my projects completed.

Now, I was going to tell you all about my visit this weekend to Tate Liverpool and what I learned from it, but this post is too long already so I shall save that for next time.

Until then,



1 comment:

Joyce said...

Think it is an excellent idea to move away from output quantity-based targets. A target based on time spent is much better. Apart from anything else, unless you set the number completed target very low, it risks sacrificing quality and complexity in order to produce a certain number. I think that in terms of the number completed it is a question of finding a balance between the extremes of a stunning quilt one can be proud of for the rest of one's life (or what is left of your life after making the quilt) or lots of works where the first thing you see when you look at each one is the bit you rushed or over-simplified.