I will skip the usual ‘Sorry it’s been so long’ preamble, not even my fabulous mamma reads this intermittent blog and She She has world enough and time. So I’m crashing on with an opener for a new direction for www.crazyhappygorgeous.
Je suis une artiste manqué…
Well dayumn! That feels good to write out loud.
Having neglected my writing and walked away from the gasping fish of my last paying gig, I have languished in a ‘lady who doesn’t lunch because it’s far too expensive when you are not earning’ kind of a way for far too long.
As this is by way of a confessional, I will tell you that I spent my considerable leisure time flopping about listlessly on the couch feeling crappy, bored and useless. We are designed to be productive and we are trained to link our worth directly to the amount of productiveness we demonstrate, preferably in hourly increments.
Hands up all of you who have at some time or other, dutifully dragged yourself into work to be sat behind your desk at a particular time, which got earlier and earlier as you scrabble up that well greased pole. Keep them up if you then proceeded to achieve bugger all until after your fifth coffee and a catch up with Jenny from marketing about the weekend… But you appeared productive right? Job done then…
NO NO NO! Job very deffo NOT bloody done – number on your psyche done. For sure but there was no doing of job. There was only pretending and feeling shit…
Well programmed, I found myself jumping up and tidying the coffee table in a bustly, Miss Busy is terribly busy, action as my lovely chap bounded up the path – home from the actual coal face.
‘Hello Darl. How was your day?’
The soul deadening question from a well meaning partner to his housewifed, home alone spouse leading her to smile weakly and whitter on about washing up and big plans.
My days were all the same, chokka block with daytime T.V., a trot to the café on the off chance of a chat with a human… lonely and a bit sad. I didn’t have the heart or the push to chase contracts, my last client had been lucrative and consuming – my local network shrunk, my reputation remained unestablished. I chastised myself daily for being lazy, stupid and unproductive. That word again. That bloody word that drives us to feel so badly about ourselves when we are out of work, or poorly or old or asleep for too long on a weekend or doing something we like but that isn’t considered work.
If you write a blog or fiction you are expected to monetise it, publish it… do more with it, be disciplined about it and for fuck sake don’t do it in your PJs… get up, get dressed – go to work to do that thing that gives you joy… which sets up another set of problems.
If this too must be driven by productivity and your success is measured by whether people will give you their hard cash for it – then how do you justify how rubbish you are at most of it?
Oh oh – here we go!
I can’t start now – it will take me years to be as good as X or Y who has been doing it since they were 7.
… and there’s no room for me and, and and… artists, writers, bakers, woodworkers, dressmakers, designers…. dah dee dah look like that, know this important secret and work for that company.
I am too old, too ordinary, too dull, too rubbish but above all TOO BLOODY LATE!
In fact what we are is too damned scared.
So I figured all this out in one of my ‘pull yer socks up Luli’ moments and decided to give myself permission to dream and plan and have a go at things.
I am a dilettante which is another thing your not supposed to be. I collect doings, I flit from one thing to another, I am attracted to many things, skipping about willy nilly – my restless mind needs variety, stimulation, NEW shiny THINGS. I never have just one book on the go, I don’t have one style of apparel, I leap about in conversation, littering my chat with parentheses and wandering off topic wildly.
I realised that I was starved of company and stimulation and this was crushing my spirit. Set free from the need to turn up and crank out detailed reports based on often cantankerous and difficult, all day assessments – I was squandering my time. Time that most people would kill for and certainly they would envy me.
Yet there I was – feeling depressed and staring at the wall.
Then along came Janome.
A terrifying digital sewing machine, gifted to me by my not-mother-in-law. I didn’t go near it for several months – I swear this thing could make a three course dinner if you left it to its own devises. Eventually I stumbled across the brilliant sewist and vlogger Stitchless Tree who’s excellent Youtube tutorials enabled me to make things with my scary machine. Tree is a fine woman and a generous teacher who would personally respond to my rookie questions and encouraged me and introduced me to new techniques.
I made soft toys, zipper pouches and clothes. I had a go at advanced subtraction and T.R. cutting techniques, I even had a personal, day long, workshop with Tree and made an amazing coat. Tree introduced me to print on demand fabrics and I had a go at making my own. The results were pleasing but clunky.
I felt that pressure to make money, so I tried markets and Etsy and local craft shops and I got precisely no-where. I felt like I’d left it too late, that the success stories for Etsy are historical and that my stuff just isn’t good enough. In fact there’s a fancy business term for it – late majority – but that’s another blog…
I abandoned Etsy and markets and I kept on experimenting with new techniques and I began to draw.
I’ve always doodled and drawn in the margins, the small spaces… I have always thought of them as crude and without worth. I think of myself as a writer, a wordy durdy birdie.
I labelled myself a non-artist and by doing so locked myself out of my artist’s heart.
Sewing has given me permission to make mistakes, to accept a process of learning and the joy of creating my own things. Limited only by my imagination. I realised that all skills are aquirable with practice. All you have to do is break it down and get on with it.
Doing is the thing.
Doing it a lot is the magic.
Just doing it. No judgement – no end game. No PRODUCT.
This post has gone on far too long – all the advise on writing a blog post will tell ya… keep it short, keep it focused. Pepper it with calls to action… blah blah blah…
Yes yes! I know – I do. Except today – this is my rambling journey.
So shall we leave it here friend?
Next week I will post some more – about how I stumbled across Jessica Swift and fell in love with creating patterns and discovered Surface Design is an actual thing.
We’ll delve more into creativity – colour and being an artist or at least allowing my artistic heart to flourish despite the dark misgivings of my mean spirited, inner critics.
Once we’ve got all caught up – then I will post shorter shit about my progress. Learning Adobe when you are over 50, going back to college and turning your kitchen into a print studio and how I do it my way – without worrying too much about the right way.
I will post more in my portfolio and journey further into wordpress doings, Procreate, Adobe Draw – and using 3rd party apps to create digital work.
I will also share my tentative steps into print making, textile design and if I EVER get around to it – my upcycle makes and sewing projects with my own fabric.
OK HERE COMES THE CALL TO ACTION | PAY ATTENTION AT THE BACK!
I’m pretty sure somewhere on the page is a subscribe button. I’m also fairly sure that this will keep you in the loop when I post. If I was a whole lot better at this nonsense – then I would be sure that you’d get an update when I post.
I’m not producing any kind of other thing – so don’t worry there won’t be endless emails.
If you fancy leaving a comment – I’d be bloody over the moon.