Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Moving on

I'm pleased to say I have moved on from the stuck place I seemed to be in for quite a while.  I'd guess that blogging and talking about it was one factor that enabled me to move on and another was that I finally got round to starting up my Etsy shop.

In case you'd like to take a look, it's   here.

I have a feeling I started this a few years ago but by the time I thought about being organised back in February, I found I wasn't allowed to call my shop ClothAndClay;  there doesn't seem to be such a shop anywhere on Etsy so I suspect that I registered with a user name and password I've long since lost track of and that yer actual ClothAndClay shop name is in fact mine.  Hence my new Etsy shop is called ClothAndClayShop.  A bit clumsy but at least I can have my ordinary banner at the top. 

At the moment I have only earrings in my Etsy shop.  This is partly because I can make them to order at fairly short notice; even in really hot weather I'd be willing to use my heatgun to make one or two items.  I daresay I'll get round to some other items eventually. 

The same day as I built my Etsy shop we also did some playing around with space and furniture to see if I could set up somewhere inside to paint scarves.  Previously when we've been here I've done them outside.  This has one or two disadvantages: you need fair weather, but in normal weather the sun is too hot and drying on the patio where I worked by about 2.00 p.m. so I was under pressure to make scarves during settled weather and every morning.  The result of setting something up inside (in the cottage which has no visitors for the next two weeks or so) is that I can work whatever the weather and I can do half an hour and then break off and leave things as well if I want.

So, I have made a couple of scarves.  Nothing startling and two scarves do not a complete inspirational recovery make, but it's a start.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Losing my way

I seem to have lost my way, big time.  For some time now I am stuck in a place where I feel I can't do any artwork.  I've been trying to pretend it isn't so, but since I don't really believe in pretence or dishonesty or whatever else you want to call it, it seems time to speak out.  I don't tend to splurge bad stuff on the internet, either here or on Facebook or anywhere else, but on the other hand this all seems important enough to write about.

The problem seems related to where I am both physically and temporally.  Physically I'm in France and temporally I'm at the point of possible semi-retirement, or at least improving the life/work balance.

I think it is the temporal stuff which is the biggest problem.  Having turned 60 I now get a small pension from the teaching work I used to do and I have promised myself and M that from this point I would work less and live more, in the work/life balance.  But I don't seem to be able to do it.  In France I can do textiles work, make accessories and greetings cards, but I can't do any pottery.  And it's the textiles work that is the problem here because I think I need to be totally immersed in it once I start.  I had an idea that I would work on the property (land clearing, maintenance painting etc) and do domestic stuff like washing and cleaning and shopping in the mornings [life] and then leave the rest of the day for textiles [work] but whenever I get to the point of starting creative work I find I can't do it. 

I can't start.  It's like I can't go through the door because if I do I'll be on the other side, the work side, and not able to get back to the life side.  So here I am, sort of attached to the door handle.  Not able to go through but not able to go back and leave the door alone.  That would mean saying that I'm basically taking a four month holiday and I don't want to do that.  Apart from implications of stock levels, I miss the buzz of being in my work. 

I have ideas.  I even have some exciting big ideas.  I got as far as phoning to ask how big the stretcher frames I use go up to.  But then when it comes to it I can't actually do the work. 

I see pictures of new work friends are making, some of them producing several new ranges in the blink of an eye ....   and I feel even more cut off, not only from their physical company but from that part of myself.   You'd think that would propel me into a place where I'd just create, but it doesn't seem to.

The only creative work I think I could do now is making accessories - both the earrings that I have been making for a while (because I am very low in stock) and new ideas I'm quite excited about.  But this work requires a heat gun or hot water and in our part of France at this time of year it's too hot.  September is the time for the heat gun, when the mornings feel a bit chilly.

In case anyone was thinking of commenting that I am being creative with photography, cooking and other things, yes I am.  But right now they're not enough.  They're not the things I really want to be doing but can't.

So, here I am, losing my way.  I daresay it will pass.  But for the time being, it's a bit grim.