In previous editions of my Studio Notes, I’ve talked about having a period of self reflection to think about what went well last year and what not so well. Then I use that information to decide what I want to focus on for 2018. Remember, this is very personal and obviously specific to me. I thought about not even including this in my blog. But I realized when you read about other people doing this kind of pondering exercise, it makes you, the reader, reflect on what you would choose as what went well and what did not go well and hopefully, what are your goals for this upcoming year. So, I include my State of the Union as an example for you to think about the possibilities.
I was inspired by Paul Jarvis's State of the Union in his weekly newsletter to write my own. I’ve written about Paul Jarvis before and have followed his work for years. His honesty and humor gave me a good example to follow. I find this high level bird's eye view of the past year very helpful because sometimes you get so caught up in the every day routine, you don’t take the time to step back and see what has happened in the past year for good or bad.
Keep learning. I spent a lot of time over the past year learning in an Art business class which I found very helpful. I learned all sorts of new things like maintaining inventory spreadsheets, commission agreements, copyright law, etc. The most important thing I learned is my creative purpose to focus on the good in life and how I can share that mission with my customers to help people reconnect to how they feel in nature through my EcoMemory art.
Pivoting to Eco Art. In the fall I realized, based on this art class and thinking about what I really like to do, I would focus on nature themes. It seems obvious given my science background and love of the outdoors but just making that decision was really clarifying.
Be a better boss to myself. I realize deciding clear goals and putting specific tasks with specific milestones in a calendar has made me more productive. It gives you a sense of completion which is a wonderful thing. Otherwise it's going to be a never ending to-do list. Setting up time boundaries between my personal life and creating life has made me feel more balanced. I have always been a hard worker in my creative life but my boss lady self was being kind of a bully. That stopped in 2017.
What did not work?
Quilting the Every Day Project series. I had a backlog of Daily Squares that was a serious bummer because I just didn’t want to take all the time it took to quilt the entire piece together with the three layers; the pieced top, cotton backing and backing fabric. It took a lot of time and it was not super enjoyable for me. I like the design work and I want to move on to do more design work for another piece.I love the new technique of wrapping the Every Day Project series on three different sizes of stretch canvas.
Every Day Project. I felt a little overworked this past year and first decided to give up making the Daily Squares on weekends and being a better boss to myself. Then I decided I really just wanted to focus on eco themed art as a whole canvas instead of individual daily squares sewn together. So I made the necessary changes and I’m really happy.
Time tracking. I thought it would be great to account for every minute of working and what I did exactly. However, it soon became a huge burden. I learned that I am a hard worker. I spent a lot of time learning from this art business class. I learned my maximum hours of productivity for the day. And now that I’ve become a better boss to myself, I respect that time. So it was a useful exercise, but I’m not going to continue with time tracking this year.
Play in the studio. I look forward to being more free form and just playing in the studio a bit more. I know that is a double edged sword because sometimes it’s easy to go in the studio when you know exactly what you are going to do. I will learn how to deal with this and use the design challenge of each new weekly series and EcoMemory commissions to keep it exciting.
Create weekly Eco Art. Still coming up with a better name then Eco Art. But it makes me excited to think about starting this next week.
Continue Studio Notes . I thought about writing only every month or bi- weekly but I find writing about my art and creative process helps me in the studio. So as long as it keeps helping me create more art, I will keep doing it.
Add prints for sale. I am trying to simplify ways that customers can purchase my art. So I plan to have three types of art for sale: prints of my originals, weekly eco art pieces, Eco Memory commissions. I’m looking for a system that is simple and easy to understand.
This post is a little longer than usual. Hope you found it helpful. Sometimes just being clear on what you plan to do is the best way to make it happen.