In an effort to shake my continuing lack of work in the studio I signed up for what turned out to be an incredible online conference “Form and Function from Afar” hosted by bookpaperthread.com
The presentations were really great, and I found myself getting a little motivated to try a few new things. But even better was the opportunity to see friends from the book arts I’ve missed and to see the work of so many new artists and makers.
Ant then, something really extraordinary happened. Having plucked up the courage to share a book in the forum, it was seen and purchased for the collections at Emory University. Someone bought one of my artists books! In fact, they acquired this book, Women’s Work. I am so thrilled that it has a forever home where it will be seen! So a huge thank you goes out to all the women who shared their unfinished to-do lists with me, the Turkey Land Cove Foundation for the residency where I first imagined this book, and to Elizabeth Shoemaker for selecting my work. And to everyone who has cheered me on and supported me in my journey.
So 2021 is starting off so much more hope filled. Hooray!
It feels rather like tempting fate to be posting any goals after 2020, but I’m going to throw caution to the wind and do it!
To be honest, I didn’t think I had any studio goals after last year – which was a real wash for me, I had a hard time getting motivated to do ANY creative work, but a friend of mine suggested I try taking a free workshop on art goal setting with Art NXT Level and it turned out that lurking inside me was a goal I have been pushing to the bottom of the list for years – to finally gather all my notes, samples and diagrams, and publish a book on sewing my “bindings as embroidery”
So I have set to work. I am hoping to gather up one or two bindings a month, so by the end of the year I should be able to put them into book form. So far I have revised the instructions for one of the first books I ever made, called bound, it featured a simple repeated chain pattern. You can see some of my struggles with that binding, many years ago here. And here’s the simplified version sewn on a spine like a long stitch binding.
I’m also revisiting the maple binding I used for this book, Maple, yeah I know – not the most imaginative title writer here!
So I guess stay tuned to see if I actually manage to stay on track – or if 2021 has a curve ball of her own to throw out. I’ll try to keep updating here as a way of staying honest. Now – Back to work!
Over the holiday break from school I sat down with the checklist from Alyson Stanfield‘s Art Biz Blog and tried to analyze my studio practice from a business perspective. I was pretty happy with the results, except in the area of communication. I really have a hard time connecting with people – even people who obviously care about and support my work. I collect emails, and I think about creating a newsletter or something to connect with others, and every year I don’t follow through. I reach out to curators, which is terrifying for me, and then after the first contact or two, I loose momentum. I realized this is really holding me back, and I know over the years I have let opportunities slide through my hands. This year I am resolving again to try and work on this a little more.
Then I saw that SARK was giving away a week long seminar on succulent business practice. FREE – SARK. Yeah I was blown away. So I signed up for that too. On the second to last day there was a session on money. Like many artists not only do I struggle with connecting with people, I also have a love/hate relationship with money. I have to say that the week long seminar has really shifted my attention. I had a really powerful experience during that money seminar. I hope that I can keep building on the energy of that experience. And in what I am sure is really a coincidence but sure feels like divine manifestation, an unexpected series of checks showed up in my life this week. (Unexpected only in that I rarely check in with galleries who carry my work, and I had sold some work at several of them over the holidays – yeah those people skills again). I decided to invest a little of that money in one on one business counseling through the seminar. And yes, I am terrified!
As usual over the holidays I also got way less work accomplished than I thought I would. I really need to manage my time better this year as I have two solo shows and several group shows with new galleries or artist groups coming up. (Again, maintaining those relationships, those people skills need to be a focus) I also want to spend part of my summer back home in the UK, so I have taken on a lot of workshops and an extra course at the college where I teach to help offset all the costs of traveling and the lack of summer income. Just writing that is making me . queasy.
Okay. I really have to get back to work now! If you have any tips on connecting with the people who support your practice, send them my way. And as part of this “people” revolution this year – I pledge to actually post a little more often. Or at least to try.