Balls in the Air

There is nothing exciting to post about the studio right now. I am at the planning and discussing and planning some more part of the process. I need to percolate and second guess myself a dozen times for each step –and I am not going to do that publicly. It is also raining and cold this week so all work plans are paused because I need sunshine and warmth to get excited about pulling up weed trees and cutting paths through the woods or demolishing or fixing anything in my little haunted studio space. I will be finishing up work in my makeshift home studio instead. I need to wrap up a piece for one of the few exhibitions I am scheduled to be a part of this year.

I have declared myself on sabbatical and desperately need some down time away from galleries and art openings and any social art community projects for a while. I have not really taken a break from showing my work–well–ever! I kept working after I was married and bought my first home and started a small business. I never stopped working when I became a mom. I worked through the pandemic. My work saved me and kept me from losing my mind when my husband was ill. I worked even harder after he died. My work is my rock — but I need time to process all that has happened in my life over the past 3 years and I need time to make plans for what is coming next. I am trying to figure out what I want to happen next! I have been so public about everything I have been going through for a couple of decades now. I have written about the adoption process and parenthood, buying a house, learning to tend bees and raise chickens and rabbits, coping with the stage 4 cancer diagnosis of a spouse, the death of that spouse and a parent.–and, I have managed to keep making art, being part of the local art community, exhibiting my art, applying for grants, going on residencies, even showing out of state a little–all while taking care of my family and adjusting to the changes that come with widowhood. It’s time to hit pause and process a little differently for a while. I am giving myself permission to rest and make mistakes and to make big changes and I don’t want to have to explain everything. Some days I feel like I am letting the outside world rummage around in my underwear drawer. Time to close the drawer.

My wedding anniversary is coming up so I need a minute — and I have spring fever and I am building a studio and adjusting to a quieter life and I’m laying awake nights thinking about the gazillion things I feel I have no control over and contemplating how I want to deal with the tasks I am faced with daily, and the people I interact with daily and the insanity of the world outside my little home in the Thicket and wondering why and if I want to keep making art and then wondering how I could even think about a life without making art. It’s a noisy place, my head! I am finding the noise of the internet and the art world is not helping me find peace so I am making a concerted effort to take a step back from social media and the art world so I can reassess and recalibrate.

I will admit that I have not quite figured out how to do this sabbatical thing as a self employed and very public artist person but I am trying to put boundaries in place so I can have some much needed down time and take care of myself and my family and find a way to fall in love with my work again. I am so looking forward to cleaning out closets and drawers and sorting through bins of art supplies and reading all of the books stacked on my bedside table and getting more sleep and taking more walks and spending every moment that I can with my kids this year. I think this will be good for my health and good for my family and I am hoping, hoping, hoping allow me to set up a new creative space and practice that will sustain me for the rest of my days –or at least for as long as I am compelled to make art–which I imagine will be for the rest of my days because I can’t imagine ever doing anything else!

So even though I will be showing less and will be less social this year, I am most certainly working on a plan that will help me return to my work in a few months more rested and more organized and hopefully full of new ideas for new work. I feel like I have been running on a hamster wheel and making the art others expect me to make lately. The constant social media push to promote and share has corrupted my practice and I want to step away from that and reconnect with myself and this wild place I call home. I am really excited about leaving the beaten path for a while.

This does not mean that I am going to stop writing here or posting photos of my studio progress now and then. I’m just going to change the pace of things. I have returned to the old school practice of keeping a paper journal. I write differently when I write in longhand. I tend to keep what I call a visual journal too. I sketch and jot down ideas and paste in found images. I have gotten lazy about that part of m practice and I think Instagram has everything to do with that–so I am shaking things up a little. That means I am juggling a lot of balls right now as I am trying to establish new and healthier habits and there will be some days where I avoid the internet and days that I post half a dozen times in a day so know I will still be out here–but on my terms.

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