Saying Goodbye to 2017, Welcoming in 2018

Saying Goodbye to 2017, Welcoming in 2018

           

This still counts, right? It’s still January, so I’m still allowed a post about looking back on the old year and looking forward to the new year, right? I’ve had this post in my head for weeks, but haven’t had time to actually sit down and write it yet. So I’m just going to do that now, instead of letting it fall out of my head again.

So, how has your 2017 been? What a year, huh? Crazy politics, crazy weather, nuclear threats hurled around all willy nilly, and lots of other things that got normalised way too quickly.
On the personal level, my year was pretty eventful, too. It was a year of lots of change and crazy, wonderful but also heartbreaking and terrifying experiences.

I started the year by finishing a children’s picture book story (I will get back to that later in this post), I learned to spin art yarns, I found a job outside the home, I opened up an art studio, we visited the Isle of Barra in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides just when the hideous terrorist attack on Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester had happened and, heartbreakingly, the people from the island had just found out two of their girls were hurt in the explosion one of whom died, I painted my spinning wheel and my art studio door with space and sea scapes, I worked a lot, I learned wet-felting, we visited the Orkney Islands for the first time, I found a new job again so I switched jobs, I gave polymer clay workshops to 3rd and 4th graders, we got caught in a fake terrorist attack in London, and I accepted and then turned down a management position at my new job. Oh, and I made Christmas Eve dinner, which was delicious! (she said, modestly. Ahem)

           

The weird thing is though, after 2016 when I felt so stuck almost all year long, you would think 2017 would have been a year where I felt like I was flying because of everything happening so fast. When I made the decision in November of 2016 to go for it and try to get into an art studio, and decided to apply for a part time job to finance everything, I expected everything to take at least another year before I could move my work into an art studio. I worried it might take me maybe six months to even find a part time job. But in February a studio was already getting vacated and I found a job in March. My studio was ready to move into at the end of April and was opened when May started.
But even though 2017 was so busy and eventful, I felt like I was standing still a lot of the year, especially in the middle chunk of it. I think that was because I was so busy setting up my art studio and going to jobs outside the home to make money to pay for it, and also finding my way again in working for a boss other than myself, I didn’t get to do much creating. I didn’t get much time for working out what I wanted my first steps in this new stage of my creative business to be. My story that I had been working on since September 2016 is waiting for me on my tiny laptop and the story I finished right at the beginning of the year, still has no illustrations at all, even though I have them all planned out. I just have not had the time, energy and headspace to get to them. So eventually 2017 felt like the year of ‘set-up’ for me.

But, I feel like 2018 is going to be my year! In finding my feet at least. I’ve spent the end of year holidays’ free time reflecting on the past year and planning for the year ahead. And I’ve made some plans that I’m very excited about!

One of them is to start making small jewelry goodies again and to make them just for my art studio stock and social media selling only. The reason I stopped doing small cute jewelry items for my webshop here, was that it takes literally 10 times (I counted it out, it’s ridiculous!) more time, money and work to get them photographed, edited, listed and promoted than it takes to make them. Which makes me have to price them at amounts I really am not happy with, and also at prices that make them harder to sell. That is not a practical business strategy! It made me not enjoy making them anymore.
During this past year, at events at my art studio, though, I’ve come to realise that my stock for these tiny pretties was really low and that they sell well in my studio. So I will be making them again but only photographing them for my Facebook and Instagram page, usually all together with everything I make on one day. So if anyone wants what I just made, they can just message me to snag it up. Which has been working great so far. Over half the stock of small jewelry pieces I’ve been making the past 3 weeks have found their way to new homes already via Facebook and studio visits. And I’ve so enjoyed making all these tiny cuties again. I hope all that is the Universe’s way of telling me it was a good idea :-D

Another plan for this year is to try to find the right audience in my art studio’s region for my specific artwork. So I signed up for a stall at the Magic Fair this Summer. I’m so excited about it!
The Magic Fair is a fantasy festival that used to be held annually in the Summer at Kasteel Limbricht. After the castle organisation went out of business the Magic Fair didn’t have a home for a year, but this year they’ve found a new home. Namely Kasteel Erenstein in Kerkrade which is quite close to where my studio is (Heerlen). I feel like I will find my people there! I will be working on stock for the fair in the months leading up to it, I will be bringing my wheel for demonstrating my art yarn spinning and Jolanda from Atelier Collazje who is my art studio neighbour and wool sister will be occupying the booth next to me. We hope to meet many fantasy and art lovers there and we will be promoting our workshops there as well. I feel like this is just the place for me, it's local, it's full of fantasy lovers and I get to go in costume! Should be a match made in colourful heaven, right?

I have also signed up for the annual street fair art market in Heerlen; de kunstmarkt van de Heerlense Jaarmarkt, in April. We will be there with all the ladies of our art collective, XCBS.

Just like last year there will be two Open Studios Days this year on which everyone in the region can come and have a look at what we do in our building. And our art collective XCBS will be opening our doors for people wandering in on every last Thursday night of each month.

I have also decided to give myself time for creative outlets that do not have to produce any money. Just because I want to learn different things and I don't want any pressure on them. I think this will help keep my inspiration flowing. One of those things I dipped into in 2017 a bit already: painting. Man, is that fun! I got some cheap acrylic paints and some cheap canvases, just to play around a bit. I think it's important for an artist to keep playing.
The other thing has just arrived for me today, ieep!! I have bought a new camera! A Fuji XT-20 with a 18-55mm lens. I have been dreaming and saving up for this camera for years. Having a photographer dude for a life partner, I guess it was inevitable that I would eventually be bitten by the photography bug as well. Especially as blessed as I am in my life to get to visit such spectacular scenery as the Scottish Highlands and Islands offer twice every year, only being able to snap all this wonderfulness with just my phone was getting frustrating sometimes. I am very excited to see what I can do with this camera, especially as I hope that it will also allow me to take nice videos of my spinning and clay work.


As to my books, I am determined to work on them whenever I can. Which will probably mostly be from this Summer on after the Magic Fair. Because I need a lot of energy and un-interrupted headspace for that, it’s a very different process from making one-off pieces, especially one-off small pieces. But, I have plans for working out a follow-up book for the story I’m still writing, so creative juices are flowing!

Happy 2018, dearies! What are your plans for the new year?

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