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Necessity is a mother…

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.

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Stick a fork in me…

…I’m done!

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.

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It’s ridiculous how I work

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.

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Commission work in progress

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.

Work continues…

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March Meet the Maker prompts and things

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.

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Set out your intention

Over the past few weeks when meeting with friends, it has been mentioned that it looks like I’m getting stuff done. My Instagram @cassandraharrison7 is lit up with all sorts of shiny new things and my Facebook is pinging all sorts of happy neon colours. I look busy. And I am busy. Now, admittedly, some of that is curated. We curate ourselves daily whether it’s on social media or in conversation with acquaintances/family/friends. You might be crying your heart out on the inside but maybe don’t want to reveal that to your colleague who you barely know.

With all of that said, I am actually getting shit done and it feels so nice to feel like I’m not bumbling around in the darkness of my many notebooks with my many big ideas.

Maybe you’re like me in that you love a bright shiny new notebook and love to list and plan and dream and write. Spilling all of that out onto paper feels both necessary and fun. But then…more often than not…it just kinda stays there. I might flip back and scribble some more but then nothing much happens because I’m too busy firefighting. I’m just dealing with the stuff that lands at my feet on the day and then it’s night time and that’s that.

For years I’ve had ideas to put together a solo exhibition and for years it’s just been this nebulous thing.

When I purchased the Maker’s Yearbook I found that I was actually starting to make steps towards doing those things I had only thought about doing.

I’m cringing in that I feel like I’m trying to sell something here. What I’m saying is, the concept of setting out my intention then writing out small steps to make it happen has been invaluable. I easily slide off track, easily get bored with projects if I don’t finish then quickly, or like a dog that has spied a squirrel, chase after that new exciting idea and forget what I was doing the moment before.

I’ve also signed up to Creative Live and have downloaded a workshop lead by Lisa Congdon (artist and writer of Art Inc). In the kitchen when making dinner, I fire up one of her mini courses, burn the food and listen to tips on the things that many artists struggle with when making a living in their nook of the creative industry.

I’ve also been attending a regular meditation class, but more on that another day.

Namaste and all that jazz.

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This morning I’ve been researching possibilities for the Shops and Flats print. The original needs to be set inside a lovely frame. I think so much more can be done with the image. Today I’ve ordered notebooks and cards with these designs. After spending so much time re-working the website, I want to add fun new things into it. Flashy new website!