After a long hot Summer I am pretty much giddy with excitement at the prospect of Autumn, by far my most favourite time of year. Roll me in leaves and feed me pumpkin spice everything, it’s time to get on with the serious business of fattening up for the festive season!
Now the school holidays are a distant memory in our house and normal service has resumed I’m back in the print zone, ready to crack on with lots of exciting new ideas.
I took a total break from lino printing while the kids were off school, for everyone’s sake. I need peace to concentrate and nobody wants a screaming banshee of a mother for six weeks. The enforced break was the perfect opportunity to reflect on the year so far and think about what’s in store for Ink & Folly going into the last few months of 2018.
I also gave myself a good talking to about practising a more healthy mindset and as a result I’ve adopted a shiny new approach: behold The Holy Trinity of Positivity!
Firstly, I promised myself that I’m going to stop comparing my work to others – it’s such a buzzkill. The number of times I’ve finished a piece of work and within two minutes on social media I’m convinced its terrible and should be burnt immediately! (My inner critic has a field day feeding off those pretty little squares). Theodore Roosevelt summed it up in six words: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Well things are gonna change from now on, d’ya hear?
Secondly, I am going to have faith in my own ideas. Creative style should evolve naturally, through not being scared to experiment and as a result, learning and growing along the way.
And finally, I’m going to keep the balance of over-excited rainbow brain and sensible business brain. This can be really tricky when you’re creating something that you hope other people will love as much as you do. Obviously I want to be able to offer my customers something special but it’s too easy to slip into people-pleasing mode. I know from experience that ultimately that kills creativity. Eventually the spark will die out.
In my previous life as a baker I created all manner of goodies from wedding cakes with cascading sugar roses to miniature pets, characters and even people’s houses. Creative right? Kind of. Replicating things in edible form does require skill but ultimately you’re working to a specific brief. Although I was lucky that my customers trusted me to do this, really there was limited room for creativity. In the end I lost the love for cake decorating, so much so that I completely stopped baking for fun anymore* and I knew it was time to hang up my apron.
I realised I was starting to fall back into a People-Pleasing mindset with my lino prints too. Ideas would get shelved before they even made it to the experimental stage in case they were a disaster or other people didn’t ‘get them’. Whole subject matters, mediums and even colours ruled out for fear of being too risky. Growing requires space and I was shoving walls up left, right and centre.
So, with my new and improved approach (and trusty Post-It note reminders) to keep me on the right track I’m excited to see where it takes me:
Keep The Balance
*I’m happy to report that baking has become a regular just-for-fun activity in our house again. We are back to licking raw mix off the spoon and burning our tongues on goodies straight from the oven.