Over the past several weeks I’ve been working away at creating designs for products. There’s a little thrill seeing one of my drawings wrapped around a mug, printed onto a duvet or splashed across a credenza (which is one of my favourite words).
It’s hard to know how to divide my work time. Creating large funky pieces for exhibition is a fun, challenging and I like to imagine these pieces up for people to see. Why make art if no one is going to see it? That’s part of the fun of creating.
There is also the part of my practice that focuses on products. Here I can use my pens, markers, think about splashes of colour and dash something out in much less time than the bigger works. It’s nice to have something finished over a couple of hours instead of a couple of months.
I have a Society6 page full of stuff for gifts, home, office or whatever.
Today my little helper and I collected the two artworks of mine that have been shortlisted for Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Detail Framing have done a phenomenal job as framing textiles isn’t an easy task. Jamie couple matched the wood of the frame to match that deep aubergine colour found in both pieces.
L has been on her Easter holidays this week. We’ve gone on Easter Hunt adventures, play date adventures and now work adventures. I love showing her this side of my life and I’m glad I have this blossoming, energetic girl to share it with.
Title of works:
Comfort Break and A Beacon of Hope That We’ll Make It On Time
While my daughter has been at a holiday club today, I’ve been busy buzzy, ticking boxes of projects half finished.
Over the last few months I’ve completed works for commission, exhibition, small personal projects and this morning, I put my first self published sketchbook into production.
My friends comment on the crazy amount of stuff I’m posting on the social medias. I think it was today that I finally realised what was pushing all this productivity.
I absolutely love making art. It’s such a happy, freeing activity. The zone is a wonderful place to be and it brings me joy to see others enjoying what I make.
But honestly, the very big push has been Necessity. And my god, is she a mother.
It’s the realisation that my income has to cover everything. I don’t have a husband to pick up the tab. So old fashioned, but it’s true. And what if teaching dries up? Then what? And what if my car needs a repair? And what about new shoes and school clothes for the little? It’s mostly me. On me. On these shoulders.
I have this crazy dream of owning a flat one day? How am I going to do that? All these big wants and small needs. And no childcare after 3:15.
So. Print on demand? Why not? Self publishing? Go for it. This month I’m all about the passive income.
This baby is ready to be taken to her photo shoot so that prints can be made of this. After that she’ll be lovingly wrapped up and sent to the framers.
For this project, I was asked to match the accent colours in the room where this will be displayed. I used a variety of tweeds with flecks of teal and orange that work well with the bright greens and yellow.
Next week I’ll carry on with the second work commissioned by my client. In May I have two more commissions pencilled in.
Spring is shining brilliantly through the window. School holidays start in minutes. I’m so ready for a short break.
Please excuse the bad grammar of my title. It is true, though. I’m not talking about how I make my work. Perhaps it is more accurate to say it’s ridiculous WHERE I work.
As most creative ventures go, mine started out the usual way: At the kitchen table. Ideas generate there. Discussions were made over dinners, glasses of wine, cups of coffee – not all at one sitting but over days, weeks, months, years.
And here I am, years later, still working at my kitchen table. It is no longer a viable solution. I’m storing materials under my bed and my daughter’s bed. The table in the conservatory is heaped with several layers of meters of printed fabric. I’ve grown my business to the gills in here and it’s bursting.
I try to think of the perks of this arrangement. I can pull out the work at whatever hour and go. Downside: I’m always surrounded by work.
I’ve started looking in earnest for studio space. Tricky thing, though, is finding something close enough to home and school so I can do all the things that my life and the people in it require. There are opportunities in empty shops schemes but none of them are in my ‘hood.
The search continues….as does this commission.
The two watercolour pieces at the beginning of this post were made for two charity art auctions: Rock Trust and Art in Healthcare.
Over the last three weeks I have been creating sketches, choosing colours, creating ink drawings for screens and finally, ordering screens of the work to be used in the next stage of creating these two pieces for commission. Yes, that was a lot crammed into one sentence as a lot of work has been crammed into three weeks.
My screens from HandPrinted arrived and they are perfect. We had quite a lengthy email conversation as I had to rework the digital files for their specific screen prep process. Thank you so much for your patience. I had to enlist the skills of a friend to help prepare the files. Thanks so much Keith Paton for all of your help, and last minute at that. This process has made me aware that my digital skills need attention.
A friend suggested I get involved in the March Meet the Maker challenge. Well, it’s not a challenge. It’s more about telling the world a broader, more full and filled out story of how you work and who you are as a maker. It was started by Joanne Hawker, maker of super cute pins and other delightful colourful things.
Last year I noticed the hashtags rolling across my Instagram account and started to root around and find out more about the people that tagged themselves into the thread. This year I’m dipping my toe in and who knows, I might jump in all the way and last the entire month.
Today’s prompt, Full-time/Part-time, required one to spill the beans. Hey guys, is this a side hustle or a proper job/career/thing that pays your rent/mortgage/bills? Maybe I read in to the ask, but anyway, the answers were interesting. I found I connected more than I thought I would with the other makers. I found myself nodding an understanding ‘Yes, that’s my story, too’ with those that declared their work had to fit around children. I tell you one thing, before the school run cane into our lives, I had never been so productive between 8:55 and 3:10. And after 8pm, for that matter. I found that most had other work adding to their creative endeavours.
I teach art and I think that fits in perfectly with the work I make. Two days a week I get to tell primary school children about art, show them how to make cool stuff and also have the fun of watching them create. Children’s art is magic. I’ve seen some children who struggle with the school experience absolutely flourish when given time and space to become absorbed in the creative process. It can be someone’s safe place.
So. Full-time or part-time? I think Most of the Time is most accurate for me.