Creativity Begins at Home

We began with a slightly unimaginative bungalow and we wanted to make a new home which would ‘fit’ the plot.  We wanted to be sensitive to the needs of those further up the hill to keep their view and we did not want to begin by knocking it down, lock stock and barrel before putting up something which occupied the entire site and disregarded any feelings of those around us.  Instead we took away the terrace, built rooms underneath it and then put it back on top.  View intact, house extended, neighbours happy.  

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It’s been hard work but so worth it!

Now we are in and I have a wonderful studio attached to the house in which I can work at any hour of the day and night but it has taken vast quantities of time and energy and my blog has suffered.

In addition,  I am working towards is a major exhibition in Great Walsingham, Norfolk in May and June and this has taken the rest of my reserves.

 

Jar. Burnham Overy Staithe
Jar for the exhibition in Norfolk using found materials from Burnham Overy Staithe

I am working with  Candide Turner Bridger , to  create a body of work about the North Norfolk Coast Path.  Because we are both very process-led makers we wanted to document our journey towards the exhibition and to that end we have set up a website and a blog on which we are detailing our progress.  A number of people have recently begun to follow me and there are also many others who must be wondering where I have gone. I would hate you all to feel neglected but I am not likely to blog on this site until the exhibition is up and running.  So if you want to know what I am up to for the next couple of months you might be better following me here for the time being.  Let me know what you think.

 

 

All in My Own Time

I have been reading Atul Gawande’s book Being Mortal this week.  It throws a fascinating light on the experience of getting old and I commend it to everyone.  41cD6wyaxLL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_[1]As a window on the world of narrowed horizons and the choices available to the elderly and frail it is fascinating.  I suppose it was a particularly relevant book for me, given my own father’s increasing frailty but I think the main message in it for  me is actually that all of us need to be prepared for this stage of our lives which does not tend to treat us kindly.

There is a section in it which struck a chord with me very loudly.  Gawande talks about the change in how we seek to spend out time at different stages of our lives.  ‘When horizons are measured in decades, which might as well be infinity to human beings, you most desire all the stuff at the top of Maslow’s pyramid – achievement, creativity and other attributes of “self-actualization”.  But as your horizons contract – when you see the future ahead of you as finite and uncertain – your focus shifts to the here and now, to every day pleasures and the people closest to you’. (Gawande, 2014, p.97)

This explains a couple of conversations which I have been involved with over the past couple of weeks.  Both during my mentoring session and during the Bristol seminar by Patricia van den Akker (See my last post) I have been asked the ‘where will your business be 5/10/20 years from now’ question.  I have found this particularly difficult to answer this time around:  I am aware of a definite shift in my energy levels and inclinations recently and I find that my knee jerk response to this question is ‘who says it will be anywhere at all!’  But this makes things very awkward.  If I don’t know where I am going why set off?  What IS the point?

There are still good friends who are certain that what I do is simply a hobby, that I do it to keep myself amused.  I suppose it did begin like that and then there was a stage where I needed an outlet for my work so that, at the final reckoning, my children didn’t enter the loft with fear and trepidation wondering what on Earth to do with all those pots!  But now I have to acknowledge that things have gone beyond that.  I am chasing a dream of it being successful and so presumably I do need to know what success is going to look like when I get there.

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Why does it have to be all about the money?
I find that cannot drift about simply making stuff and hoping that people like it, I need a reason to make in the first place and, for me, that needs to be connected to somebody else wanting it.  But at the same time, I am not sure that I have to be utterly driven by building the business.  I need some aims but they don’t have to be measured in financial terms.  And anyway, what does success look like?  I don’t think that it necessarily has to have a load of pound signs in front of it.  It is something I need to give some more thought to but I do know roughly what it looks like and I will share it as it happens.  In the meantime though, I am no longer sure that we do have all the time in the World!