wellness, work ethic

Forced Breaks – When Fate Takes You In Hand

I haven’t blogged much over the past few weeks because, well, the ongoing construction of my studio has turned me into a nomad of sorts and slowed me down. I have been feeling pretty discombobulated and odd (well odder than usual).

It’s been weird.

I love working.
I like to be left in solitude to get on with things in a space of my own. I like to be in a flow state and ignore time and the world around me for as long as is possible.
Work – space – privacy – purpose.
Ironically, the project which will eventually give me all these things in big bold uppercase letters, is also the project that has taken them away from my life temporarily. With no basecamp to retreat to, and all my tools and materials stored and scattered in strange places, I have been floating around like a will o’ the wisp. No that’s incorrect, not floating – trudging. Trudging from library to gym to coffee place with a huge carpet bag that Mary Poppins would be proud of. The bag contains a laptop and charger, planner, sketchbook and pencil case, a huge binder full of summer camp curriculum, a couple of art reference books, a novel, my gym clothes and trainers, a flask of tea, my wallet and food. My back hurts.

All this complaining is ridiculous though. I’m going to have an amazing studio at the end of it all, and I can afford to take a little break now in between the Spring printing and the Summer camp season. Yes, I’m probably going to have to work at breakneck speed next month, to make up for all the slow pondering and smelling of roses. However, this period has reaped some sneaky benefits. Here are a few examples big and small of how this enforced break has ultimately been good for me:

  • I managed to make decorations of an acceptable standard for the URBN market’s pink themed cherry blossom event (thank you for the tutorial, Brooklyn Museum). Normally my response to the theme would have been to have just thrown on a pink t-shirt and grin. The market went really well, and I now have lovely pink blossoms all over my dining room.
  • Reviving my drawing practice. I have finally taken to my sketchbook again, and it feels A-mazing. My obsession with graph paper and patterns continues, and I’m itching to translate some of these drawings into prints and larger scale work. Drawing just for drawing’s sake can sometimes feel like such a luxury, but really it shouldn’t. I was getting a little stale, and I need to continue to remember to take that extra time to just explore my ideas. I suggest you do the same.
  • This Spring break I actually spent the week having a proper full blown break with my kids, as opposed to balancing between working and keeping them entertained. We rode the metro, ate all the pastries, obsessively watched trains at Union Station (the eight year old’s choice), visited the postal museum, disrupted the peace at the National Gallery of art, and shopped for easter candy. Really happy times (and I got to see some art).
  • Reforging my connection with nature. The noise and mess of the construction forcing me out of my house all day coincided with some of the best weather so far this year. I spent so much more time outdoors than usual. I’m actually a pretty outdoorsy person, just not during my work day, but that may have to change. I have to thank my allergist at this point. After a intense course of sublingual drops last year, I can finally enjoy springtime. It has been glorious, even with a bag the size of a baby elephant slung over my shoulder. I live right opposite a park, and this is the first time that I have walked in the park for a few minutes every day of the week. Why have I neglected to do this for so long?
  • I didn’t spend all my time outdoors. The studious atmosphere of my local library helped me get through a lot of curriculum writing for the Summer Camps. Public libraries are a blessing. I cannot urge you strongly enough to do something for your local library. Anything. Volunteer, donate, write your librarian a poem. Libraries are oases for the displaced and those in need of ideas, inspiration, and a place to sit and think. My library gave my shoulders and backside a much needed rest. Walking is very good for you, but everyone needs to sit down sometimes.

I should have my space back sometime next week, and I can’t wait to share the photos with you. Until then I’ll be slowly moving all my things back, building IKEA furniture, and appreciating the amount of walking I’m doing everyday. Wave if you see me around Vienna! My next market is Handmade Arlington tomorrow.

About Author

Artist, Educator, Parent, Small Business Owner, Big kid from a big city, in a small town.

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