July 8, 2009

Recharging... with Art!

Lately I've been finding myself in need of some serious recharging and renewal. Without really doing it on purpose, I ended up withdrawing from all the things I normally love doing (knitting, spinning, blogging, etc). And I think it's because I'd managed to turn my hobbies into "work" in the sense that I was starting to feel guilty and stressed out if I wasn't doing them almost all the time. I was putting so much pressure on myself, by turning ideas and goals into obligations and deadlines, until I just had to take a break for a little while. For the last few weeks I haven't done a whole lot in the way of crafts for my Etsy shop - instead I've just been letting myself do whatever interests me. And now I can see things from a different perspective and I think this is exactly what I needed to help breathe new life into my shop and my craft. So, here are some of the things I've been up to...

I've been watching tons of videos on YouTube about art and keeping an art journal. There are lots of great videos and channels dedicated to art but the one that caught my attention first and served as my gateway into the world of art-themed videos was Suziblutube. I especially love her Art Journal Playshop videos, which offer prompts, ideas and inspiration for journal pages. Her enthusiasm for art is so infectious that I had to go out and get a journal for myself. Another really great one is Willowing. Her videos weave together art and spirituality and present the idea of an art journal as therapy, which is exactly what it's been in my experience.

I've been keeping my journal for about 2 weeks now and I am surprised at how much I love it! I've never really considered myself an artist in terms of visual art - I never even had much of an interest in making art. But I have been enjoying it on so many levels. Because of the fact that I didn't know anything about drawing and painting when I started this, I had no expectations of myself at all. It has been so wonderful to allow myself to be a beginner again and to be okay with making mistakes! It's shown me that I need to show myself patience and kindness and compassion, which is something I think I've needed for a long time. I've heard it time and time again - if you're not willing to make mistakes you can never make anything original. There have been moments while I'm painting in my journal that I've gotten so absorbed in the process that I don't even worry about the outcome, and that is something I have not felt in a long time. I'm hoping to bring this same attitude to my knitting, sewing, spinning, etc. because I really do love it and I miss being excited about filling up my shop coming up with new ideas. I think that's going to be the key to getting my enthusiasm back. Trying new things, and being willing to make mistakes. I've got some yarn I don't mind wrecking - it's time to get bold with my knitting!

Anyway, here's a little slide show of my art journal so far. There's only a few pages but I thought I'd show you what I've been doing...

Another thing that really appeals to me about these women on YouTube is that they seem so honest and they share so much of themselves. This is something I've struggled with - finding a balance between being professional in my Etsy shop and sharing personal content on my blog and elsewhere. And with the art I've been making I find I'm able to be more candid because I'm not trying to make a business out of it. And the interactions I've had with some of the other folks on YouTube have been so very authentic and satisfying that I plan to bring some of that transparency into my shop and my blog as well. Right now I'm all about integrating the various facets of myself into a whole representation of who I am and what I'm passionate about. Because afterall, isn't that what drew me to Etsy and the idea of sharing my work online in the first place?

So, I'm going to focus on trusting the process, relaxing into it and being patient with myself. I have lots of great ideas and if I don't get around to them all this season, I'll just have to save them for next year... and trust that the time will be right then. When we exert too much control over the direction we take we can end up missing out on some great twists and turns. Basically I'm beginning to realize that if I stop thinking of my life as being compartmentalized into work and play, productive or non-productive use of time, etc. I can look at everything I do as having value and helping me get to where I want to be.

Now I'm itching to get back to "work" on my Etsy stuff with a new sense of perspective. I'm going to start with spinning because it is in itself a very meditative process and I think it will be a great way to gently get back on track and get myself motivated to do more. I'm about half way done spinning some SW Merino that I dyed myself - one of my very first attempts (the green one) and then I'm going to dive into this amazing roving I got the other day from All Spun Up on Etsy. Isn't it gorgeous?

I can't wait to get back into the swing of things. I'm so glad I gave myself this time to reflect and recharge.

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Val said...

Very cool! Another one of your many talents comes to the surface. It's amazing. The video was a real treat to watch. I'm going to go back and watch it again...

Waterrose said...

Thanks for writing that post. I am in about the same place...but have had to step away from creating because we are moving. While I still have fun making has seemed to become "work." It makes me wonder if that is true for those artists that become successful...or does it remain exciting.