I am looking back through my journal as a write this post about June. I had felt frustrated at my slow progress last month and this month was more of the same. I had been equating slowing down and progressing at a slower pace as something negative, unproductive and to be "fixed". I felt like I needed to have something more substantial to show for the time I had spent in the studio. There were lots of "interruptions"...life kept interfering and when you equate art making to "me" time I felt like I was forced to leave myself till last. I started to get myself some books from the library whilst my son was in once of his classes. Reading and reflecting started to turn things around. I realised slowing down was necessary and actually very important for the work that I make. Some of the things I wrote in my journal were:
1. Working from intuition requires deep listening
2. Allowing myself to be vulnerable
3. The importance of observing and absorbing
I spent most of this month starting multiple new works, and not feeling like I had to finish anything before I went on the something new. Towards the end of the month I had a couple of wonderful things happen. Firstly I was invited to take part in a new project run by Sophie from Curatorial & Co which involved working with amazing videographer Flore Vallery-Radot, I hope to share more details on this very soon. The other wonderful experience was running two workshops as part of Kafe as Poume run by Eleni Christou. I ran a crochet workshop and one on soft sculpture at the Community and Refugee Welcome Centre in Lilyfield as part of Inner West Festival 2018. I love the magical space for exchange and connection created through workshops. This time of self reflection and working with amazing women who are driven, kind and generous has deepened my understanding of what it can mean to be engaged with community as an artist and individual. I have come to embrace that slowness as an essential part of what it means to grow. I'm very much looking forward to continuing to develop my work alongside concepts of community, exchange and connection.
I had assumed/expected that May would be productive like last month. I was excited because the school holidays were over and I could return to the studio most days during the week...some kind of routine would return. But no. May was a month of having to pause, to make work in the edges of an hour or two in the studio. It was frustrating, there was admin (tax) to deal with, framing and deadlines for a couple of exhibitions, the disappointment of a couple of projects falling through and feeling like I wasn't doing enough, fast enough. I felt like I was starting all over again, having made some large works last month I now had to make smaller pieces that could later be joined to create new works. On reflection it wasn't an unproductive month. The time I spent making in the studio I had also spent reading books and articles as well as listening to some new podcasts which have literally given me new life in terms of mindset and strategies for approaching art/life balance. I had to be kinder to myself and take the pressure off trying to achieve unrealistic goals. I spent time at Centennial Park with my son, we love exploring together and noticing the change of seasons. We had some wonderful warm sunny days before cold snaps reminded us that winter was approaching slowly but surely. And little by little things got better even though I couldn't get to the studio as consistently as I would have liked. I packed a little "portable studio" in a tote bag and would do a little work whenever I could in between studio time. Work began to accumulate once more, new works have begun to emerge and I even managed to have two successful group exhibitions. The first exhibition was Invisible Bridges curated by Cassia Bundock in the Northern Beaches and the second was a wonderfully refreshing informal show by Backyart titled Origins and curated by Aisha Phillips and Zoe Edema. I have also been reflecting on the amazing women that I have connected and met with over these past few months, a few of whom funnily enough are part of the local community. I am feeling excited for all that is to come as I continue to refine and develop the workshops and opportunities for dialogue and exchange as part of Heartstrings. At this stage these will mostly be scheduled for the spring season over the months of September, October and November. What I do hope to do beforehand is hold one or two open studio days so stay tuned!