Lately

Well, friends, I hope that you can forgive my failure to blog for the past month or so (I’m pretty sure there are a few of you regular readers out there, aside from my mom:) I’ve been in one of those post-holiday ruts- you know, the kind that happens when the craziness of the holidays ends, and after months of daydreaming about slower days with time for relaxing projects you just can’t garner the energy to self-motivate? I think that this type of dilemma probably afflicts the self-employed the most severely, and January was a bit of a difficult month for this self-employed, super-emotional, highly sensitive person.

As I’ve mentioned before, making books can be hard on my body, and when the new year comes, I like to take a break from that brand of labor. My holiday daydreams included some home improvement projects for our home studio, which has less square footage and holds more than most other rooms in the apartment, and making a quilt (always on my mind these days, it seems), and reading books while lying in bed.

The home improvements and lying in bed reading books did happen in January without much effort. But the creativity and motivation for other projects that needed to happen was just not there. At this time of year, it’s important that I experiment with new ideas and materials that I might not have time or energy for in busier months. It’s also an important time to do my taxes and evaluate the past year from a business standpoint, noticing what was successful and what I’d like to do differently in the year to come.

But whoah, was I having a hard time getting moving. There’s an oft-spoken idea that sometimes we have to get to a dark place before we make a change. And last month, I found myself in that dark place, where I couldn’t think of what to do to get out of my creative rut, to feel useful and empowered, and to do something I could be proud of.

Ironically, for all my talk about making a quilt and how much I looked forward to it, I had to get to that place before I decided, out of semi-desperation, to get started on it. I just needed something to do that felt productive and not too hard. And it worked. It was crazy how much better I felt the first day that I started working on it, and the past two weeks have been easier because I have this new project that I look forward to working on in my spare time.

Now that my head is in a better place, I’m looking forward to sharing some of the other successes of January here, including another wonderful class of beginning bookbinding students and assorted little projects. A friend shared recently that we are gaining about two minutes of extra daylight each day at this time of year, which holds a lot of promise for the days to come. I hope that my buddies all over the land are staying warm, and optimistic, too, enjoying the longer days, and learning what you can from the dark.

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what my mind dreamed up…

What would you envision for a customer who requested a book for an ‘intellectual soul mate’ lost at sea?

It look me a little while to land on a motif for this one, but one of the things that helped my creative process was the obvious passion of the person requesting this custom book, which would be a gift for someone special. He wanted me to incorporate the phases of the moon, and the sea…so after a few weeks of methodical brainstorming, I landed on a big idea, and started to get to work.

I love custom orders because I end up making books I’d never create otherwise. And I loved that I was able to take my time on this one, enjoying all the symbolism that it involved and the subsequent ways that it helped me to make meaning in my own days of late.

A week ago I watched a beautiful Taurus baby come into the world. And though I have wavering interest in the influence of the planets and sun and moon, I appreciated the meaning created around this brand new person’s timing of when to be born and lock eyes with her mama for the first time.

In short, my love of making significance out of circumstance loved this nice juxtaposition of the moon, lost and found companions, and all things beyond our control…each a lovely part of life under the sun.