Back in the Studio. Nov 2020.
So good to be back!
How marvellous is being able to just drive where ever you want? Seriously, I thought the Coronavirus lockdown was going to be a never-ending event of promised opening up that was then delayed, set on a loop. And yet, here we are! Free. Feels so good!
So, back to what we were sort of doing before. It’s tempting to return to old habits and postures. How are you going to stay the course that you devised in Lockdown? How are you going to go through with the ‘I’m going to change X, Y and Z?’ It’s hard to not fall completely back into the old pattern, even though there was at least 3 months, maybe even 6 months of time away from our pre-covid routine. For me I have decided on some monumental for me changes, some of them are going to be really hard to manage and some will be easy. Let me explain.
“I’m not doing that any more…” Classes and Products that I’m putting on Pause.
This is a BIG one, and it will probably upset people… or maybe not. Deciding to stop making something or offering a class is a difficult decision to make. Mainly because the familiarity is comforting, and they have even been financially successful. But and this is key, if it has stopped ‘filling your cup’ or inspiring you, then you need to reconsider where it fits into your overall vision. So, for me, there is a product that I am putting on Pause (the Little Acts of Rebellion items) and the weekly Thursday Morning Ceramic class as well. Putting these 2 activities on pause means that I can give time to expanding my skill base (Hello new planter and vase range) and also offer a different style of class (Hello monthly ceramic and design intensives) Time is constant and we cannot fit more in without giving up something else. It’s simple mathematics really.
“I need to be with people” How Covid Lockdown made me realise that working alone is lonely.
Another monumental change is that I am going to be working alongside Mel at Creative Makes Studio in Hastings. It’s squeal out loud exciting! We have been working collaboratively for a couple of years now and moving in together was the next natural step for us. Moving in means rearranging the studio space to incorporate new storage systems, retail and artist studio area and maintaining the workshop space. It may be a little squishy in the short term, but it’s a step toward our long-term vison. Creative work requires quiet time and together time. Creating in isolation was favourable in some instances, but the Lockdown really showed me that connecting with people actually improved my outcomes. In a sense, the desperation to maintain contact with people shone a light on the isolation I had become accustomed to in my solo practice.
One habit that I’ve fallen back into is ignoring my “office work” it’s just too exciting being able to go into my studio and return to in studio classes. This means that the time between blogs may be longer, however the content will be just as interesting.
Yours in Creativity,
Victoria Coronavirus Restrictions Drag On… (2020)
Just like Summer, but not really!
Has it felt like this last couple of weeks has dragged on like the Summer Holiday of your childhood? But in a more perverse way? Rather than being idyllic and sepia toned this event has been one of holding the breath, watching the numbers and rolling the eyes at the political antics of our elected officials. With no concrete directions I am unable to let people know when I can return to in studio classes or finalise commission projects. It’s been a year of unknowns and deprivation, one that will certainly be remembered. I can’t wait until we can say “You don’t know what ‘x’ scenario is, let me tell you about 2020.”
There have been moments of brilliance, and the Creative Meet Up Sessions on Thursday evenings have been especially informative. I want to share with you the points that we have reflected on and returned to over the last 2 months.
First of all, “Stop Trying” and “Don’t force it.” This is in relation to the doing aspect of your creativity. What the isolation / pandemic has highlighted is that we need to feel safe, relaxed and to have ensured that our Primary needs are met before we can engage with the practice of Art.
“Where is my Motivation?” I know right! Motivation is killed off by the assumption that I should be DOING SOMETHING. See the point above, resolve that first and then gently investigate what you like to do. Is your creativity with images, words or cake! I have been following some ultra-talented cake decorators on ‘the gram’ and their creations are AMAZING!! My motivation comes in fits and spurts, so I have my to-do list and keep myself on track with a break down of a project into its steps of progression. If you are practicing Art as a hobby you can do this too. It may look something like this;
Step 1, tidy up / allocate creative space,
Step 2, inventory art materials,
Step 3, find online tutorial,
Step 4, allocate time (See previous Blog post Getting Curious about Creativity in 2020)
Step 5, Let it flow, see what you start to create and go with it.
If you are a practicing artist than I suggest that the 5 steps above can help you too. Many times, I have tidied up my work space, sorted the clutter and thrown out the things that are distracting me or are no longer necessary to the project I am working on. In this Victorian Coronavirus lockdown, I have been taking quite a bit of time to also review my practice objectives and make decisions about what stays in my practice and what will be let go of. It’s been quite refreshing!!
Finally, there are some key phrases that bring a lightness to this time of deep reflection on our creative practice. Take your Time, Find Fulfilment and “Art is a meditation from our daily work.” Art is the conduit for information, feelings, entertainment and connectivity to others. It is so necessary to our everyday and I am so grateful that I get to ‘Art” each day of the week.
Yours in creativity,
Longing to Leave (2020)
An installation of reclaimed materials and emotions.
The long weeks of Stage 4 restrictions have helped me delve into my artistic practice, strip back the excess and focus on the things that are unique to me. ‘Longing to Leave’ has physically grown out of the urge to create and the limited resources that I have at my home, (as I have had a separate studio for a few years now.) My mad grab of materials and tools from my studio prior to going into lockdown showed that I wasn’t focused on what I was going to do, and besides, it was ONLY going to be 6 weeks. Well, that has actually turned into 14 weeks of not being able to leave a 5km bubble. Life is interesting in a pandemic!!
Creating Art is quite the personal journey. You get to delve into yourself and discover what actually makes you tick. There are things to stumble on, you might wrestle with the thoughts of being an imposter, of not really knowing the what or how, or the big one, the WHY. You may even be thinking ‘I am so not unique.’ But that’s just the thing, no one thinks like you and so what you have inside as your thoughts and feeling are quite unique and individual. We can agree on concepts or ideology, but at the very core of the individual is their own unique experience. The real villain here is the perception that we are just one of the sheep. In truth we aren’t, we are unique, interesting individuals, that live with a bunch of other unique, interesting individuals!
Through the process of creating ‘Longing to Leave’ I have been able to sit with the feelings of what it is like to be confined and restricted (in relation to my usual freedoms.) I have encouraged myself to use what I have at hand, to reclaim resources from the items we have been consuming (cardboard boxes that our food and consumables come in.) In this process one can see creating doesn’t have limits or boundaries. You don’t have to have a certain brand or product to be creative. You can just create with what you have. One of my favourite offerings to those who are investigating whether they are creative is “Start where you are, use what you have.” You don’t know what medium or material you will like right from the start, but you can investigate. For instance, if it’s drawing (use a pen and the back of an envelope) or it could be collage (cut and paste) or photography (use that smart phone!) The story is the crux of the whole production, a picture is a picture is a picture; it is your story that makes it interesting and engaging.
So back to the installation. Cardboard boxes, paint, printing and collage feature for the moment. It is going to be an ongoing / dynamic installation, where the composition expands or contracts, as I reclaim more cardboard boxes. Harlem café, Somerville, have two walls of windows looking out onto a walkway, and the installation will be situated in the window for easy viewing. As cafés cannot allow inside seating, this installation will provide a point of interest while patrons wait for their take away orders. I encourage you to follow the installation at @jadeleespvaeyartist and if you have your own unique story DM me and tell me about it.
Yours in creativity,
Getting Curious About Creativity in 2020.
Four Creative Block Busting ideas.
I have begun a Creative Meet Ups space, via Zoom, to connect with people who are actively working on being creative. It’s a lovely space, where we discuss the blocks we may be up against or offer support for projects and creative practice. Here is what came up in the first session, and I felt it was really so relevant that I decided to expand on it here and share it with you all.
Currently not too many of us are experiencing the drag of travel on our daily time allocation. So where is our time being spent? Time is like money, you have a bank of time that you can spend each day, 24 hours. Where are you spending yours? Are you feeling out of time, lacking time or just ‘don’t have time’ for being creative? My suggestion is to spend some time, tracking your use of time.
Why would you do this? Well you may make the statement that “I don’t have time to do any drawing / painting / music / baking / crafting / insert creativity here practice. If that is really the truth then by tracking your time you will see exactly what you are doing and when, and you will be able to definitively hold true to that statement. What you actually may find is that you are using available time in less than ideal ways. Notice that I didn’t say proper or productive there? How you use your allocation of daily time is for you to decide, but you may find 15 min to 1 hour in a day that you could allocate for your creative practice.
Allowing yourself to be creative.
This is closely linked to ‘finding time’ to be creative. Your creative practice is valid. Full Stop. Nothing else to say. By creating rules around ‘allowing’ ourselves to be creative we begin to shut down or stifle the process. Being creative during your day is positive, healthy and allowed. We can also shut down the expectation that our creativity must be ‘worthy’. All our creativity needs to be is an activity of doing a thing, whether it is mark making, baking, crafting, music making, dancing……… You can let go of the outcome (product) and focus simply on the process to assist in finding a positive association to your creative activity.
Getting curious about the WHY and the WHAT.
Why am I creating Artworks? Why would I do this rather than that? These are the questions that I ask as I proceed with my Art making. Why do I choose this subject over that? Usually my response lies in WHAT I want to say, how I want the Artwork to look and what materials and resources I have to create with. Becoming curious about the WHY and the WHAT alleviates your procrastination about where to begin and how to go about creating. Your answers to WHY and WHAT will inform your research, your subject matter, your material / media choices and the overall aesthetic of your artwork. Asking these questions I find that I use my resources / materials more consciously, with less waste or expense being measured against a final artwork.
Filling up your Cup.
For some people being creative is really easy, they pick up a pen or pencil and away they go. For others there is a procrastination / paralysing stage of not knowing how to transform their ideas into art. To fill up your creative cup you could read, research, watch, observe, record and collect. In my experience, ideas form in my mind while I am reading or doing a menial task. Having a notebook or device for recording my ideas means I can gather a collection of the wonderful things that bubble up during this time. A bit like having a pen and paper beside your bed for those amazing ideas that come to us just before we slumber. Having a Full Cup to draw ideas and inspiration from assists us in the creative activity that we have created the time and space for.
These four points are definitely not the only things to consider when you find you are stalled in your desire to be creative or to even just ‘do something creative’. They will go a bit of a way to assisting you in getting going, returning after a break or when you come up against a creative block that just won’t shift. You can also join in the Thursday Creative Meet Ups, 8pm AEST. Just hit me up for the Zoom link. I’d love to see you there. Jade x
Feeling Nervous about my Creativity; an acknowledgement of my Cheer Squad.
do did I suffer from Imposter Syndrome?
For ever and ever I have had the desire to create. Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Photography, sculpture, fabric printing, sewing, macramé, softies, knitting, construction, mixed media, glass etching, lead light window creation……… I feel like I have tried a lot of different mediums and benefited from the experience. So why would I still feel awkward about calling myself Artist? I have tried so many different mediums. Am I a Jack of All Trades, Master of None??
Well the best definitely does come back to me each day, and at the moment it is mostly through the power of Social Media. As I show my creations I am constantly buoyed by the enthusiastic responses from viewers, people who I may or may not know, who respond to what I am creating. It’s like the gifts we bring to the world are many and what you offer can brighten someone’s day (and yes, even if it was just a photo of something you made, it can make another’s heart skip and their lips form a smile). My audience provides the feedback that keeps me in the making loop. Having a cheer squad helps enormously, because I can see that I am creating in line with my goals – to be Unique, Interesting and Creative.
“The only way to avoid Criticism is to Say nothing, Do Nothing, Be Nothing.” Aristotle
Way back in the Renaissance young aspiring artists were apprenticed to a Master for at least 6 years. They entered the atelier and worked their way through the tasks of learning the particular art or craft of their Master. At the appointed time the apprentice created their ‘Master Piece’ the work that would be assessed with regard to their entry into the guild of their craft.
Now days we labour for years to accumulate the skills and techniques that we can bring together in the creation of our Master Work. Considering this, I know that I am accumulating skills that will be used to create my Master Work, something that I have not even visualised yet, but I know is within me.
Creativity comes from a personal space, where thoughts and feeling collide, so there is the fear of criticism that can cut deeply. Seriously, many artists struggle with the same feeling as I do. Before you say, well just ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ believe me when I say I have, I do and it does actually help. Revealing that I am oh so terribly human is actually not as hard as saying ‘Here is a new Artwork that explores the disconnect of our society as individuals who indulge in their egotistical motivations’. That is when I go into a state of ‘What if no one gets it? What if they challenge my belief, my political viewpoint or even call out my lack of understanding?’ The older I get, the less I am sure of, because the nuances come into sharp relief more often.
“Give your Best to the World each Day and the Best will come back to You.”
I have included two quotes in this Blog piece. They are, for me quite profound and I like them for their honest feeling. Do you have a go to quote that gets you through the hard times? I’d really like to hear them.
Expectations vs Reality.
What I thought being a Full time Artist would be like, except Coronavirus had other plans!
We’ve all viewed those memes, where there are 4 images in a grid with headlines, ‘What my Boss thinks I do, What my Friends think I do, What my Mum thinks I do, What I really do’. Going from working a part-time retail job to being wholly and solely in my Art Business Full-time could be framed as the first 3 squares is just me going ‘What I think being a Full time Artist is like’ and the final square ‘What it’s really like’ and it’s a picture of me sitting with piles of books, paper and open laptop!!
The Expectation versus the Reality of becoming a Full-Time business owner, wearing all the hats, has been a rewarding and discouraging experience, all forced on me by the impacts of the Coronavirus Restrictions, underway in Victoria. You see, I had a plan to gradually ease my way into just earning an income from my own Artistic practices over the next year or so. Gradually teaching myself how to be a ‘proper’ business operator. Ha! This sudden and unexpected shift really shook up my personal world view!
Now that I’ve been forced to front up, and be what I was hoping to become, I am looking at the silver lining. What do I mean exactly? Well I am taking a closer look at my practice, what I have spent my time creating, and ultimately saying. You see, I have never wanted to just make decorative art, my goal has been to always say something with my creativity. This doesn’t mean that I won’t allow myself to make something decorative, it means that I want to ensure that part of my output serves my desire to use my talents for the good of the society that I live in.
Fronting up to the role of Full-time business operator also means undertaking the actions required of business – marketing, sales, ‘office stuff’ – things that I never made time for, because that was BORING and I wanted to do the fun stuff. You know, the potting, painting, drawing, the creative fun that fills me up and overflows my happiness cup! The problem associated with being half invested is that I never focused on bringing my creativity effectively to a wider audience. What am I creating for if not to share my creativity with those living in the world around me?
In this interesting weird-ass Coronavirus world, where I am forced to become increasingly flexible in a more confined space, I am looking forward to pivoting in my attitude to what a Full-time Artist looks like, does, undertakes and ultimately produces. I will be spending more time investigating my practice and doubling down on careful use of resources, (one of my key business values). And I will undertake all the actions of bringing my creations out into the wider world, because, why else would I create if not to give a little bit of myself to the world?