This past October, I decided that I needed to give myself a creative challenge and spend the month of November exploring new pattern ideas. I had tried similar challenges in the past, but none of them really stuck. This one was different, though. And I enjoyed it so much, that I have decided to extend the challenge to a 100 day challenge. Check it out on Instagram!
I think, ultimately, I am ready for a shift in the work that I do. I'll share more as that develops, but mostly that means that I want to focus more on creativity and spend less of my time sitting in front of a sewing machine (which is totally possible!).
When I started selling my work six years ago, I felt this pressure to justify my art by putting it on functional products. And while I love and am so proud of the product line I have created (and so appreciate you all buying it and showing it off!), I have so many ideas trying to burst out of me and I don't know what product to turn them into.
And maybe that means I need to simply create the art and not try to force it to be something else just yet.
Speaking of not forcing things...
Yesterday was one of those days where several creative and general life frustrations came to a head, leaving me feeling, honestly, really angry (and it was actually the first time I can ever remember feeling furious about my creative journey, I am somewhat ashamed to say). I'm usually able to stay relatively positive and see a silver lining to nearly every cloud in life. Something just snapped inside of me. It was maybe the first time that I actually believed all the negative people that say things like "Life is hard, it's just the way it is!". Between the financial challenges and periodic burnout of being a business owner, to the overwhelming and constant barrage of political and social bad news (I was on a roll!), I just wanted to scream or smash plates on the floor or insert-something-else-destructively-satisfying.
But I had work to do...I had to make a trip to Joann Fabrics. And I was NOT looking forward to it. The whole drive there, I was seething. I took a few deep breaths before heading into the store, and when I walked in it was PACKED...and they were understaffed. Great. I made my way back to the fabric section, pulled a ticket to hold my place in line, and grabbed a couple of bolts of fabric. As I stood there, trying to not be in anyone's way or make eye contact, this little girl of maybe 6 or 7 years old peeked her head around the aisle end cap, looked me right in the eye, and said in a very cool and matter of fact tone:
"Hey. Are you okay?"
I was stunned. I quickly said (with a forced smile), "yes, I am okay!" and nearly burst into tears. This child picked up on something and reached straight through my prickly imaginary armor to make a connection. Then, she and her younger sister went on to make everyone at the cut counter laugh at their hysterical excitement over collecting discarded ticket numbers off the floor of the store.
My mom, after hearing the story, was convinced that the little girl was an angel. If not an angel, she was certainly gifted with an intuitive sense that snapped me out of my self-loathing. My mom, by the way, still believes in me. So that helps, too!
Later that day, I was having a conversation with a fellow Virgo about letting go of the urge to control the "how" of all of our creative and professional and personal life desires. Sometimes I cling so tightly to that control that I stifle the outcome. A lot of that comes from the pressure to make money, because I am afraid that if I give up the control that things will eventually spiral out of my control altogether and I'll be penniless. But when I'm pursuing opportunities based on the money and not on how I want to feel about the work I do, I have major flare-ups of resistance and complete burnout. It's a constant challenge to meet my own creative needs, while battling the urge to fit society's rigid ideals around success, especially in a digital age when examples of "success" are pushed in our faces daily. I won't go into the intricacies of what success looks like for me today, but I do believe it looks a bit different for every individual (in a nutshell, I'd like to take a few spontaneous vacations a year, buy myself a nice outfit without thinking twice about the cost of it, and be the type of adult the never runs out of toilet paper).
So swinging back around to the positive effects of my 30 day challenge, I have been feeling some combination of liberated to follow my creative instincts more religiously...and frustrated at the realization that my desire for a slight pivot in my work will require lots of, well, work.
I hope you'll continue to follow along as I explore more painting and drawing on Instagram! Thanks for reading, and have a beautiful weekend, friends!