My intention was to work more in the studio and instead I went to Iceland, went to some gigs, helped some friends move, moved my living-room around, saw some movies…
I’ve been taking a stained glass course for about a year and this is something that I don’t have too much trouble getting myself to. In preparation for the glass class I did some designing and collaging with painted papers and looking back now I see that this was a big step forward. I am solely working on my own designs and making things that potentially could be marketable in the future.
I had an idea to make the same designs in different media and now I am weaving them too. They are easy to weave (simple blocks of colour) but they are also a departure (an unusual shape) and as I have been working on them I’ve been thinking how to improve them. They can be worked on for an hour in which time I’d finish one completely, or for just 10 minutes here and there. They are so accessible that I don’t even feel studio-fear approaching the loom. Yes, that’s a real result.
During the move I got a kind of commission from a friend to insert a small piece of glass into a bigger design. That was my last project! I also have an idea for the next project…
It can be invigorating to work with a materials and techniques.
Basically I was pretty busy doing fun stuff outside and not doing fun stuff inside, in the studio or anywhere else. I am also writing this in January/February so to be honest I can’t even really remember what I did! I did spend quite some time towards finishing the apartment. I moved some furniture around to accommodate the new stuff but this has turned out to be surprisingly uplifting.
I did experience an ugly moment or two connected to studio time and that was simply saying yes to something when I should’ve said no. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy what I said yes to, but I can feel the internal scale tipping away from socializing and towards staying in. If I really want to do something, I just do it. If I want to see a friend, I do. I rarely miss a band I really want to see and if I want to see a movie I just go.
What I struggle with more is when I am invited to something that’s happening just for the hell of it or if it’s something I am not particularly interested in. Sometimes it’s great to just waste a day doing nothing or being spontaneous, just like it can be great to drink a lot and stay up really late. It’s simply not something I want to do too often.
Almost everything is fun and nice but that is not always a good enough reason to postpone your own plans. I realise many people don’t struggle with this at all, they just say no without any feelings of guilt or existential crisis!
Just say no, it’s fine! With a little tweak I can spend time with my friends and family, go to gigs, movies, exhibitions, still keep the apartment clean and work in the studio. As the writer Gretchen Rubin suggested, maybe it’s not about balance it’s about filling your life with the things you love. For me this includes time alone in the studio.
I struggle to stick to my own goals and I will almost always default to someone else’s ideas or plans if I am not careful. The glass course works because I have to pay for it and they expect me to turn up. It’s actually studio rental in a way because I can be self-directed with support from a professional. It does count as studio time but it doesn’t replace working at home in my own studio.
This post isn’t so much about studio time, as pinpointing the reasons why and how I postpone spending time in the studio. I can’t use other people as an excuse. The block is shifting slowly, slowly, I just need more time to go by and sometimes I have to say no.
Can you say no sometimes in order to say yes to what is really important to you?
Co-founder, The Clean Sheet