Some days in the studio just work. Flow, you come home exhausted but feel like you’ve really achieved something. Finished something; found greater understanding of something; worked something out. Found a short cut – or a long cut. But you managed to arrive at that place you set out to find.
Do you know what I mean? Feels great doesn’t it.
But then other days feel like I am starting and stopping all day long, where there dots just don’t connect. Days where I need to leave the studio a hundred times, just to organise all that I need to begin; when life’s appointments and logistics get in the way. These days inevitably end with feelings of failure, dissatisfaction, restlessness, annoyance and a sense of over whelming questioning; why am I here again? Why am I doing this again? Why bother?
I think these push and pull feelings, these up and down moments are exactly what studio life as an artist is all about. At least that’s what I try to tell myself on those, not so successful days. After all, at least for me – I know my work is much more about the journey – than the destination. Perfect finished products are wonderful, but if I didn’t enjoy making them each and every time, let’s face it – I wouldn’t be making them anymore.
Being a full time, albeit professional artist is by no means the easy way out. Some see it as a luxury – but you get to paint, play and crate all day. You don’t have to go to work. Ah but I do.
I work for myself – which doesn’t mean facing up to the studio day in day out is always easy or even pleasurable. I am my greatest critic, with the greatest of expectations. I am plodding through unknown territory thus far – creating something wholly unique. There are no instructions for what I do. I am continually trying to improve, perfect and invent the new.
But, as Artists – we push through, don’t we?
After a frustrating day, I tend to come home and try to shake it off – ready for the next day. I am usually thinking about new tactical approaches, trouble shooting new ways or materials in my head – sometimes to the point where dinner starts to burn on the stove. Artists don’t switch off.
We’re constantly thinking, dreaming, imagining, inventing, wondering, pondering and trying to grasp those little moments in our minds, working out how to make them a reality. Being an artist is hard – but it’s also a privilege. One I am grateful for every day. I am privileged to live the phrase ‘Do what you love what you do‘. Which I do. I love what I do.
When I arrive back in the studio – sometimes a little studio spring cleaning helps to clear those cobwebs, bogging me down the day before – both physically and cognitively. Clearing the desk, organising supplies, finding better approaches for tasks often performed (like creating a packaging station or light-box area for consistent photographing of products) help me feel more organised, thus energised to tackle something I am struggling with. It may not be resolved by the end of the day – but a few steps closer is better than nothing.
So without further ado, there’s nothing more fun than to share my new creations with you! These poor little guys waited months to be completed, but the wait is over and they’re all gorgeous!
This is generally how they start to pile up next to the sewing machine. They have been cut and their faces prepared by hand – but all the main seams are sewn with care on my machine, to give them that extra oomph they need to withstand all those lovely kiddy cuddles.
The next step is stuffing and hand sewing all their appendages on by hand – there are 6 for most of the toys I make (including my label), before they’re finished.
They are then named by me and my trusty book of baby names (no name is ever used twice) and priced according to their size.
They are then lovingly photographed – including their bot bots to show off my labels – and depending on how many are completed at the same time – sometimes also photographed together. This is how they ended up!
Top row are Quniby and Lila.
Bottom row are Oskar and Benji.
Lila was chosen and bought before she was even finished and has found a loving home in Würzburg here in Germany. Oskar is only the second monkey I am keeping for myself. When I found these jelly bean socks (and only one pair) I decided he would be mine. But Lucio, Klaus, Benji and Quniby are now all available in my Etsy Shop 🙂 Go check them out – and if you love them, share them with your friends. They can’t wait for the adventures that lie ahead of them.
Another monkey born this week was christened Murdoch. Isn’t he fantastic! I just love polka dots – but this dotty, spotty, black and white pair of socks are so eye-catching! Wouldn’t he look great on a bed, a shelf or by a window for the world to see?
My latest sock haul is a colour extravaganza – thanks to Happy Socks and their amazing designs! Whenever I visit their website, I find it so hard to choose – or should I say, stop choosing! The little ones, the big ones, the spots, the stripes, the limited editions – they’re all wonderful and make the softest sock monkeys. So I go a little nuts. Can you blame me? So I organise them in the studio by colour of course!
Well, once again thank you so much for reading my waffle – for following along on this studio adventure. I look forward to sharing the next one with you too.
**Disclaimer** I am in no way sponsored or affiliated with Happy Socks or their company. I buy their socks retail, just like everyone else. If this ever changes, I’ll let you know.