New Beginnings and Taking Stock

This month I feel like I have psychologically ‘returned to work’ after becoming a parent. Although my Etsy shop has been open since Etta was 3 months old (and she is now nearly 2!), I’ve not had the energy or the impetus to really dedicate much time or thought to where it is going. Similarly, my blog had become much neglected, with only a handful of posts  made since Etta was born.

Because this was a path I fell into, rather than by design, as I return to work, post-baby, I now feel it is time to really take stock and assess what it is I want to do with my life, and the way I want my life to be day to day. I have got back to work, thrown myself into making things, and started reconnecting with other makers with the aim of kicking my shop up a notch and taking it to a place where I am earning enough to live off.  Weirdly, since returning to this, I have felt somewhat directionless. Is making kanzashi THE thing I really want to do with my life, or is kanzashi just a little waystation on the way to something else? If so, what do I really want to do? Or do I just want to rework my business and the place that it has in my life? In the last month I have been trying to put this question out to the universe!

Perhaps because I really have this question on my mind at the moment, there have been a series of talks, books, people etc that have been inspiring me of late, and I am trying to use this inspiration to identify where I want to go myself.

During this month of creativity Anna Liversidge told me that she had been reading The War of Art and that it had had a huge effect on her – I have now read it and found the same. It has put the fire in my rocket boosters (if that is even a saying) and I feel like I cannot wait to get working every day.

I attended a Meet Up live Q and A with Kat Williams of RocknRoll Bride. Her talk really got me thinking about blogging again. I found myself a little bit jealous of her passion for what she does! I don’t think I have totally lost my love of kanzashi making, but I do wonder whether it is really my ULTIMATE DESTINY (please say this in an epic voice. Some thunder may also be needed.) or if I’ve just slightly lost touch with what I love about making. It made me think about my blog, which I initially really only set up because everyone said that you have to have a blog to promote yourself. That was really how I viewed it, as a promotional tool. I think I’d really like to use it differently now, as a way to explore some of the many things that are capturing my imagination at the moment and to connect with other like minded peeps. One of the tips from Kat’s talk, was to be authentic and use your own voice. She even suggested recording your blogs verbally and then transcribing then, which I think is a great idea if you are struggling to put your voice across in your writing. This has made me look at the way I blog slightly differently and has made me realise that the blogs I really connect to are ones where I feel like the blogger’s natural voice really comes across.

Another key inspiration from the last few weeks came from the Brighton Etsy talk at The Old Market by Zoe from Ladybird Likes. She had a message of envisioning your business and your blog as you want it to be, and then ‘making it so’ by just not doing stuff that you don’t want to do (with the exception of taxes!). I loved her ‘awkward’ sense of humour (her words!) and the way she came across as quiet and a little shy, but was confident that that was ok (if that even makes sense!). It made me consider that rather just drifting around, doing what I thought people in my situation should be doing, I can be intentional and decide what it is I WANT to be doing (and then do it).

At the talk I bumped into Claire from Beetlecherry who is currently planning a relaunch after reassessing her goals. She identified her real passion – endangered animals – and is now working on relaunching her site as a virtual wildlife park! This idea just really spoke to me, as coming straight from her heart. I realised that if you want to really connect with people online you have to talk about what is truly important to you.

So to summarize this rambling and incoherent part: I’ve been having a bit of a creative identity crisis and have come to the realisation that to find out what it is I am meant to do with my life (or at least what I am meant to do next!) I need to keep being creative, keep connecting with people who I feel are on the same wavelength as me, voice my interests and dilemmas of the moment, be authentic and use my true voice, be intentional about the worklife I want to create for myself.

So many ideas whirling round my head of what I want to do right now.....
So many ideas whirling round my head of what I want to do right now…..

To try and think through where I want to go a little further, I did two lists, one  of all the things that I feel I might want to write about at the moment, and another of things I want to try and do more in my life (possibly this idea is rather lifted from this post by Harper and Finch).

Here is my list of things I want to write and blog about:

  • motherhood/ Identity in motherhood
  • Deaf Studies/Sign language issues/Deaf Space
  • profiles of women I know who inspire me
  • art/curating
  • interface between art and craft
  • my experiences with anxiety and what has helped me
  • mindfulness
  • body image/self confidence
  • facial difference (I have a wonky face and Etta has a facial birthmark)
  • collaborative drawing with kids
  • craft/art/messy play ideas (documenting what I do with Etta)
  • child development /language acquisition
  • drawing/life drawing
  • music (I’m recording some things on soundcloud with my sister in law Sam)
  • tarot, especially as a tool for personal development
  • storytelling

Here is my list of things I want to try and do or do more of this year (both business and personal goals!):

  • Try out various printing methods -gocco/screenprinting/monoprinting/lino printing
  • Do more tarot card readings
  • Get more into wholesale
  • Make some more unique/one off fascinators
  • Make some fascinators inspired by this material
  • Finish knitting a mustard yellow shrug I’ve been working on for about 5 years
  • Record more music with Sam and post on Soundcloud
  • Write some articles for a Deaf Studies journal
  • Put on an exhibition or enter some art I made to be exhibited
  • Try out some ideas I’ve had for things in ceramics
  • Try archery, horseriding and fencing (I may have been reading a bit too much Game of Thrones)
  • Write something about parenting and submit to a paper/magazine
  • Get a monofin and mermaids tail and try mermaiding/freediving
  • Start a #creativekickstart hastag where people photograph/photo collage the things they are working on/have been inspiring them/

 

I think putting together these lists helped to crystalise a few things for me, because  I’m feeling quite fired up about a couple of these things (you may have an inkling of one of these if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram ….and there may be a clue in the picture actually…) and want to get started on them!  More to come on this next week! 🙂

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11 thoughts on “New Beginnings and Taking Stock

  1. Go Emily!!! A very lively and energetic post. I always find if you put the questions out there, people and answers start rolling in! So glad I inspired you, and you found the book as profound as I did. I’m watching this space to see what you do next, good luck and enjoy it.

    1. Ah thank you! I feel like this has been a very high energy month! I was really surprised by the effect that putting this question out there had too. You are def a big inspiration atm!

  2. I’ve been feeling very much the same! I haven’t had anything as big as motherhood but I have gone through a lot of personal changes in the last few years and I feel bit like some of what I’ve been doing creatively has been stuck in “how I was before” mode. I’ve done the same thing of doing what I *thought* I should be doing rather than what I was actually passionate about. I’m actually having a little break from making anything to sell so I can work out what it is I want to do, and am just making things for fun.
    All of your ideas sound great, I’m really looking forward to reading your blog posts!

    1. I’m really pleased that you connect with this blog post 🙂 I was a bit nervous about putting my real feelings out there, but its nice to know there are some other people on the same page as me, and who are also trying to find their way creatively! Hope you’ll join in with my #creativekickstart hashtag once I get it going!

  3. Oh you beautiful being you! SO honest and real, thank you for writing this post!
    You have totally summed up the way I have been feeling for a while now, I am asking myself similar questions “is bending plastic really what I love to do?” (the answer is no! I actually have began to quite dislike it!).
    I have so much thinking to do, I really wish I’d been able to go the same inspiring talks as you, I’m so inspired by your post though Emily- I need some time to think about what i really want to do, what I want to make and how I can get there. Time is a big issue though, I wear myself out at my part-time post in a day centre and then try to cram as much making into the rest of the week as possible, I’d like to take more time for ‘me’! I think i’d like to try ceramics again as I absolutely loved that in school, and also some woodwork- that would make me happy, it’s just having the space for these things that can be tough- where can you learn/do ceramics?
    I’ve really noticed the change in you lately (as much as you can on facebook!) all this thinking must be why! Very motivational.
    After this next week in Edinburgh I’m going to try and get some thinking done and make a list like you, I may even read that book, you sound very inspired by it!
    Take care x

    1. Aw such a lovely comment! I *may* have had a slight tear in my eye while reading it! I think with çreating handmade products you can feel that if you are going to be successful you have to become a machine and churn out your creations. I really want to find añother way if there is one!

  4. You should just write about whatever you want to really, I think! In a way; it all comes back to why you choose to do your business (whatever it is you decide to do in the end). I remember meeting you, after I bought my first kanzashi online from you, at a Brighton makers fair and couldn’t resist buying another. I remember asking you, how you got into it and that it was After an illness. I now find myself in a similar situTion. I have been off work I’ll for over a year and still not fixed; but that’s another story and why I am now just venturing into the world of blogging. You inspired me to consider selling my jewellery when you commented on the bracelet I was wearing, and I am now at a point where I am being medicalły retired and will have to reconsider my career. I don’t know if it will be jewellery yet as I struggle with making still but I am hoping to get back to it after my operations. Thank you for inspiring me; I have since followed you on Facebook and Twitter and am always interested in whatever you have to say so be as diverse as you want!

    1. Hiya, I am just SO touched that my experience inspired you. I have been reading your blog, and what you are going through sounds horrific. I really identify with so many of the things you say about living with chronic pain, as although I think what is happening to you sounds far worse than anything I ever went through with back pain, so many things that you say in your blog were also my day to day life for several years. I definitely found it good to have something that helped me keep a sense of ‘me’ going when so many other things that I had considered to be key to my identity were falling away because of pain. Although I could never say I was ‘glad’ to have experienced living with chronic pain, I do think that it has lead me towards a way of life that has (eventually!) made me much happier than my pre-chronic pain life was making me – because I have had to be more aware of what is really necessary and wanted in my life. It sounds like maybe your blog is already taking you somewhere really interesting that perhaps you didn’t expect to go! I am now thinking about doing a blog post about my experience with chronic pain and anxiety, as it is actually such a huge part of the way I think about things now. Thank you so much for your support! 🙂

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