Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing markedly less of the studio hands-on portion of my job and a great deal more of the paperwork, proposals and organisation aspect. This is normally not the part of my job that I prefer, but recently I’ve been taking a rather strange pleasure in it. Most artists and craftspeople are creative first and business-wise second and I’m really no different than the rest in this regard. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred I’d rather dye fabric than do taxes; working through the creative process on a new piece or series usually seems far more appealing than does revising my contact lists, promotional literature and business plan. Lately, though, I find myself drawn more to the database and spreadsheets than the design wall, so I’m going with it.

February is never a good time of year for me personally and I suspect that winter is hard on many artistic types, especially those who get their inspiration from landscape, light and the outdoors. Simply getting the energy to do anything can be a bit of a trick, which is why I’ve been allowing myself to switch gears and do paperwork for a change.

The book-keeping and proposals are necessary parts of the whole picture, of course, but they always seem to be needed right when I’d rather be designing or working on new pieces. Having a bit of breathing room now, before the rush to fill orders for shops in the spring, allows me the opportunity to do the following:

  • finish off any outstanding book-keeping from last year (done)
  • do taxes (done)
  • write up proposals for shows (ongoing)
  • plan submissions to shows (get prospecti and entry forms) for the upcoming year and budget time for them (done)
  • review bio and other promotional material (done)
  • update C.V. (done)
  • review website content and design (ongoing)
  • update contact lists (ongoing)
  • finish up any outstanding correspondence (mostly done)
  • plan workshops (ongoing)

Last year was a busy year and I think I’m only just now feeling able to pick up fabric again with any sense of purpose. There are deadlines approaching and I have pieces that have been started for them, pieces that I can now bring myself to approach with enthusiasm. Or, for some of which I’m not entirely enamoured, with something more than grudging tolerance.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the aspects of one’s job that are less than inspiring can actually serve a necessary function. They allow us to step back from the creative, hands-on portion when weary while still moving forward with our plans and career. Switching gears and allowing the artistic impulse to lie dormant or fallow for a while can often stimulate a burning desire to get back to the drawing board.


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