In October, I built a new studio for myself. Not a studio exactly. I'm still at a desk in my living room. But I took a chance on myself and invested in my art. And for the weeks following, I received new cutters, a dapping set, sheet metal, files, chasing and repousse tools, a glorious set of hammers, even a loom... just because.
I feel, however, as though I've been incredibly unproductive. No new videos. Very few new pieces. In my defense, I've had two sick children and a sick husband and then a sick me through the entire month of November. Bronchitis and Strep decided to reacquaint themselves with the Hanna household and invite themselves in for dinner. Then, before I knew it, I found them them in my bathrobe two weeks later, using my toothbrush and drinking my coffee. We've all had those guests!
On Thanksgiving, low potassium sent me to the hospital, so I've been dedicating my time to my health and, you know what, it's been good. It's been fulfilling. It's been.... well... downright satisfying. I haven't had starches for two months, and I eyeball every loaf of bread I see as though it's the last I'll see, but I've been biking and eating healthy and my blood pressure is finally normal and I've watched a ton of fantastic movies and spent my evenings talking to my children instead of texting them, and sharing actual meals with my husband, and playing with my cats and visiting the local animal hospital to take photos for their staff and their pets, and I've actually finished my first sketch in 9 months and my bookkeeping for the 2016 tax season.
And I have so many plans! Plans for an amazing contest. Plans for videos. Plans for new work. My head and heart are swimming with potential! Not that unproductive after all!
So what have I learned these two months? That it's okay to love yourself. It's okay to pause for a bit, in this crazy world, and enjoy what life has given you. It's okay to stop working on one thing and improve your life in other ways. And you don't have to feel guilty. Ugh. The guilt! Such a silly thing to hoard. There's a quote, I found appropriate, by Andre Gide "Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better". This sings to me. Though I don't need permission to take time for myself and create a safe space, both emotionally and physically, this captures the essence of allowing the process to occur in whatever way it's pleased to do so. Sometimes that means stepping away from the process all together. And it's okay. Because when we make ourselves better, we make better things.
I'm looking forward to making lots of better things.
I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. And lots of better things for you as well.