planning the plans to plan

I don’t know how other full time artists handle the tasks associated with making a living in the studio, but i’ve decided i have to treat this like a “job”. I don’t mean cut and dried “you MUST do this today” or “from 211:315AM to 32:3719 PM, you will be weaving gnats hair into celestial robes” kind of job, but being serious about what i want to do, need to do and would like to do. It’s too easy to get side tracked when the studio is “in home”! There’s always a dog to walk, a dish to wash and “Oh look! Cat barf! Goody! Gotta scrub that.”

Hours, how do we manage this? It’s easy to say it could be a 9-5 job (Oops better write this fast as it’s now 10 minutes to 9!), but i think a *little* flexibility could work ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I wrote a post last year (gah, last year seems so far and so close away already…) touching on the subject (3rd paragraph) and parts of it will work, but as i mentioned: tangents! possibilities! potential! As a natural dyer, there *are* certain things that *must* be done; scouring, mordanting, dyeing, the winding of thread skeins (running really low on those to use), the labelling and storage of, and the decision on what to sell and what to use.

On my work blog (private, neener neener neener) i have draft posts with each week’s dates, but not so neurotic that any but the first are lists of what the plans are. Sample, this week Jan 6-10:

  • mordanting! (some are pre-tannined already: linen, chenille scarf, get them in alum)
  • new indigo vat needs startingย  DONE ON WEEKEND! โˆš
  • dye with indigo, madder and weld: velvet, linen, trims
  • trees for moon piecesโ€“smaller than done before, and larger
  • ORGANIZE studio better…… UN-ENDING JOB!!!
  • wind threads, scour, mordant, dye, combination colours
  • chair cushions-indigo (there has to be personal things made too)
  • finish chenille scarf (a test, post about that later)

I also realized through December that while i can work in front of the tubage, and don’t need to concentrate fully on what i’m doing in the stitching corner, that it *does* slow me down, just enough that i start feeling pressured IF i feel i have set a deadline. I can wind threads, but not embroider with them with “Stumptown” or whatever onย  …… Instead, i talk to the DogFaced Girl……

But, not all studio work is Work either. There has to be time to make the art, the pieces that are in our hearts, that are sketched out excitedly and that the stash is culled for. Play it by ear: this week is that list above, but the week after can be the Art Part, because those listed things HAVE to be done or nothing gets done.

I do also stop for lunch, coffee refills, bathroom breaks and skritches for assorted animals. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have too, lately, cleaned up the work space every night–not cleared completely of course, but at least organized and tidy for a fresh start the next day. *We’ll see how long that lasts, as i usually end up with “inspiration” and “possibility” piles everywhere! Sometimes there are going to be days when i just go in and “WOWZERS what happened, it was a GREAT DAY” without even noticing what time it was. Sometimes those days are like this:

See the teeeeeny little green buds on the stems? I cut these raspberry canes two weeks ago, thinking it was a futile exercise to save some of the raspberry bushes from the old place. (Remember i live in Alberta and it’s ^%$#ing cold and snowy in the winter. I never managed during the move to dig up even a small piece.) Last night, we noticed GREEN. That’s sometimes how things go in the studio, indeed in life also: hopeful, life affirming, chance, luck, caring.


How do you deal with time management? Any tips?


6 responses to “planning the plans to plan

    • Did that (well, not quite as early ๐Ÿ™‚ ) when i was a single mom–get up at 5, put in 2 hours on the industrial sewing machine making sheepskin slippers, then an hour and a half on my own wearable art business, and then off to my day job, then the morning routine again at night!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. ‘Possibility piles’ – I love that! And man, do I ever suffer from those at times! Right now (after a huge thrift store run this morning) my space actually looks rather spitted and polished. Maybe might last 24 hours (but that’s only because I have a friend coming for coffee in tomorrow and she does appreciate someplace to sit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t really – so I’m not much help to you! Being retired, I don’t have to earn a living from what I do and broadly speaking can choose how much time I spend on my work – though It’s very important to me and a source of great personal fulfilment and pleasure. i can’t imagine life without it.

    However, I exhibit with two groups here in the UK so I do have deadlines and try to keep in mind a general plan of my activities and work periods about 12 months ahead. In general, I have to plan long term to make sure that the pressure times don’t interfere with other things we want to do with our time. That makes me far too unpopular!

    I’ve realised in everything I do that I seem to work much more profitably under a sensible amount of pressure. I tend to approach the exhibitions by winding slowly up to them and then going hell for leather to the finishing line.

    Once I’ve worked out which direction I’m going in it all seems much easier and I can motor – though little else happens around here when that is going on. The slow winding as I work out my approach I find very difficult and it can last for a several months or more. I often feel anxious then and, strangely enough, under the most pressure. This is the time when I have to avoid the pitfalls of delaying and diversion strategies (like looking too much at blogs and posting!).

    That reminds me … there’s new work to be done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, i feel that necessary pressure as well, and often set myself deadlines. A certain amount of that i think *is* necessary or it’s easy to get sidetracked or completely forget what the intent was. I believe too that end goals are crucial, whether in amount of work produced, (not that there’s a specific number that makes it more important) or specific topics addressed!


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