Now it is October, I can finally step back and take a look at my September – also known as Septembuary. Septembuary, because September is really January for many parents, especially parents who work from home. In Septembuary you get a fresh start. The kids go back to school and all of a sudden, your work schedule is smoother without the myriad interruptions of drop offs, pick ups, snack runs, and general slushiness.
I run a full day camp at the tail end of the summer break, and it is all encompassing and exhausting. For me the first day of the school year really does feel like a fresh start. Normally, I spend the day in silence, cleaning out my studio – putting away my summer camp materials and preparing for Autumn print runs. Writing out a work schedule for the rest of the month has a hopeful, solidly industrious feeling to it.
However this year was a bit different.
What’s the problem?
The problem is that I have too much stock. Something I really hate to admit to, but during the quiet Covid years, I couldn’t help myself and carried on printing because it made me feel happy to keep working. I kept making things and making things and, well, not selling them. There were no shows in 2020, no shops open for restocks. In 2021, many shows that I had loved taking part in pre-pandemic never started up again, so there were less shows in 2021 and 2022 as well. I went ahead and printed new things nonetheless, because I wanted to produce new colorways and designs.
This season, I gave myself a stern talking to. I have boxes of products which are perfect for Fall shows and shops. I am curbing my feral printmaking instincts, and only printing the few sizes and styles that I absolutely need to. This means no monumental print runs happening in September or October, SO weird!
To be honest, this is actually the perfect time for me to have a smaller printing load. My eldest child is applying for art college, Fall 2023 is turning out to be a busy time for us all, I’m not exactly at a loose end. However, there is one teeny, tiny, niggly problem: I need to actually be making things with my hands, just to feel like myself. Making things is an absolute necessity for my mental health. Stock entry, fair applications, and website upkeep just don’t scratch my creative itch – so what to do?
Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes
I took the late, great David Bowie’s advice (again) and am facing the strange times head on. I have found a few new practices that are keeping me creatively happy:
My daughter and I have been wanting to make cyanotypes for a while, so this autumn we have been exploring different methods of making cyanotype prints using found objects and stencils. I’m not sure what I will turn mine into, but it feels good to learn a new skill.
I’m leaning back into my embroidery during the evenings and weekends. This slow, considered work has the same meditative effect as painting on me and I highly recommend it as a stress buster. Along the same lines, a regular yoga practice also helps to keep me sane.
I have been generating ideas for classes I can teach in the future, and carving new blocks for them. I’m also starting to come up with more CityBabe onesie ideas for next season. Any new cities/regions, I should be considering for my next design? Suggestions are welcome.
Other than that, I’m still doing the Holiday markets including a new one in Baltimore, selling online and taking my products to shops. College portfolio prep sessions and family life happen in the afternoons, on weekends, and in all the cracks in between work as usual. October will bring Art on the Avenue, a new block printing class at Shop Made in VA, library volunteering (my personal passion) and the start of a run of Indian festivals to celebrate. I also have some private printing projects in the pipeline. Hope to share them with you soon. I think the season will be a nice balance of work and family.
Famous last words.
A very happy Autumn to you all. Hope you had a good Septembuary!