I've been a mother for two years and I'm feeling ready for a shift in my life, Mothers Day has just passed (my third) and it's put me in a retrospective mood.
I have lately found that fitting in creativity of any kind around childcare and my job has become really quite difficult, I can feel my creativity bound up and aching to burst out.
I run a crafts group every wednesday at the day centre I work at and it is curently my only avenue for creative ideas. We are working on a lovely weaving project- making gorgeous rugs out of old t-shirts on hula-hoop looms, the room is a hive of creative flow as we each weave our strips muttering "under-over-under-over-under-over" it's really quite a beautiful sound, I should record it some time. However it isn't what it used to be, the only council run Day Centre left standing after many rounds of cuts and voluntary severence. We are extremely limited by not knowing the future of our service and the people we work with, there is no longevity allowed to our projects so we keep them small and personal (each person making something for themselves or their friends or families). It's such a shame we are unable to expand and grow further than the walls of the room we work together in. I'm starting to realise that I need a space to grow ideas, this job role is stiffling my capacity, it has given me so much over the past nine or so years but it's time to move on.
A few years back I studied Inclusive Arts Practice as a masters course, I acheived a first, something which I never before thought possible, it was a massive high and I was so inspired at the time but I feel now that I didn't take the momentum that I should have, I wasn’t confident enough and was nervous of starting something new so I fell into the roles and responsibilities of my council job and although I implemented my experience in working in the arts alongside people with SEN and Learning Disabilities I haven't quite had the chance to develop that knowledge and learning into anything exciting.
For a few years I slowly built up my jewellery making business from home, using Etsy, knitting shows and craft fairs as a platform to sell my upcycled knitting needle jewellery. I learnt a lot about promoting my own business, I still had photography skills from my BA and was able to create good product photography of my items and I began to become succesful in finding stockists and wholsesale clients in the knitting industry.
I then became pregnant with River my daughter and since then anything creative has remained small scale and even dormant, I have had to give up my business making and selling knitting needle jewellery because the fumes created when heating the vintage knitting needles is quite toxic and definitely not suitable for making in a home environment.
As you will know if you have read my previous blog posts I had Post Partum Psychosis following River's birth, this was a massive blow to my entirety and has taken a long time to digest and comprehend, however I do feel now that I am stronger for it, If I can get through my brain quite literally becoming my own personal hell then I can do anything!!
I'm ready now for something new, I feel like these two years experiencing mental illness and motherhood have allowed time for rejuvination... Creative small business is still a possibility, I have been experimenting with new ideas but I know I am not suited to be someone who spends her whole working life alone. What I really want to do is combine my interests of small creative business and at the same time go back and follow the path I was taking when I did my MA, working in the arts alongside adults with learning disabilities and now people with mental health conditions too as I feel I have a definite insight into a 'service users' point of view, having had lived experience...... I want to refocus my sights on growing an exciting project with inspirational people from the roots up, I'm just unsure where to start!
Watch this space...