Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Plodding out of the starting gate

I'm full of ideas. Lack of creativity is not my problem. My cup runneth over with ideas and plans, even whole ranges of items. I have designs for small decorative pieces and big serious gallery pieces. I am designer extraordinaire.

But. I have to make the things for anyone to see and appreciate - and maybe even love them. I am a paper artist. Like a quilter sews fabric, I sew paper. I pride myself on my craftsmanship, developed over years of making pieces for friends (and giving them away without taking a single photograph, doh!). I have amassed an enormous collection of paper, threads, needles, beads, etc. As most of my pieces are small, I could produce work for about 6 months on the materials I've already got in my house.

It's the starting though. The starting is hard, and strangely emotional. I suppose it is being afraid of success. I know I am very good at what I do. I know it! If I could just create all day and do nothing else, it would transform my life. As I've never done that before, I can't visualise what that looks like and so it's scary.

However, the tide is changing. Recent events have helped me to pluck myself out of the mist of indecision and procrastination. Firstly, I went to see Annick McKenzie.

Annick is an extremely talented artist, as well as beautiful, kind, and wise. Annick also happens to live in one of the most stunning places I have been in quite some time. She helped me to remember that it's not an all-or-nothing game. I don't have to be an artist every second of the day in order to be successful. I can be Your Ad Hoc PA one day or week and then be paperkatie the rest of the days, or vice versa. When I got home from seeing Annick, I felt like having a party, such a weight had been lifted!

The next day, I read this blog post by the incredibly wise and well-versed Barney Davey. It pushed me over the edge, in the best way possible.

One of the ranges I want to produce is called paperbabie - personalised gifts for babies. As a new mum myself, I know a lot of other people with babies, so I am making them my unwitting guinea pigs. I can get back into the groove by practising on gifts for them. I'm using a few new techniques these days and this will also help me to perfect those.

So, drumroll please..... last night I started making a duck and a car. That sounds like nothing, I realise. Not serious artist stuff for sure. But a start! And a reminder to me that, hey, I know how to do this. I can do this.

It's not easy. Even a little paper duck brings up big emotions: it's not good enough (already, and I've only just cut out the two sides), the paper has a mark on it, I don't have enough space to work, the duck's too big, blah blah blah. But I'm persevering! I'm surrounded by paper duck detritus as I type, and once I've hit 'publish' I'll get stuck in to duck making, so to speak.


Monday, 19 April 2010

Remember the magic

I used to be a person that saw the connections between everything. I could look at my life and easily see the reason why this or that had happened. Even bad things - I could see the good that came about in my life because of them.

But - it's been a tough year. My partner Ben was made redundant from a highly technical (and therefore difficult to replace) job in December 2008. A week before this, we found out we were expecting a baby. The pregnancy was problem free but hard nonetheless. With no money, we couldn't do the thing expectant parents do - excitedly shop for fun baby stuff, decorate her room-to-be with all the best gear, etc. It was sad, and an unknown future for both Ben and I in the 'how will we make money' department has made for sleepless nights and anxious days.

Of course the birth of our daughter, and the joy she has brought to our lives is wonderful. It has made me completely re-prioritise everything, and also realise how short life is. However, the difficulties of this past year have made me question my spirituality. 'Why us?' I've asked on many occasions. 'What did we do to deserve this hardship?'

Funny though, how life works. It feels like with the warming weather and new growth in the garden, I'm starting to come back to life. I recently met a woman whose own experience has reminded me that we are all connected. She too has recently decided to start on a new venture and it seems that just by her conscious decision to do so, magic has certainly happened for her. Opportunities have appeared, contacts have been made, and a few dozen free lavender plants have turned up right when she needed them.

The magic is always there. When times are hard, as I well know, it is easy to wallow in 'poor me/why me'. The power of positive thinking does not always conquer all! And when you are low, it can be very hard to reach out to anyone else.

But - give and you shall receive. Help others and they will help you. When I was pregnant and skint, I swallowed my pride and asked for help, and wow did I get it! A dozen people, some friends of friends I'd never even met, gave us everything we needed. Cot, carseat, a ton of clothes, toys, everything. It was overwhelming, and magical.

Remember - we are all connected. People like and want to help others, it is basic human nature. Ask and you shall receive!