the art manifesto: part 7

The last portion of my artist #manifesto for my #artistresidencyinmotherhood is... 7/7 - SHARE YOUR HEART

glamorous bathrobe
glamorous bathrobe

No matter what, be yourself. Do not let shame or self-consciousness trickle in. If you are honest with yourself and others, you develop trust, fruitful interaction, and growth. This is your life, and it is beautiful, even if it doesn't fit the mold or look a certain way. Live it fully. (And so I illustrate this with a late-night bathrobe-clad sewing on paper, shot by my husband. It's not gorgeous planned natural lit slick... it's how I truly do things.)

the art manifesto: part 6

After a day of enjoying family time outdoors, continuing my #artistmanifesto seemed appropriate: 6/7 - INTENTIONAL INSPIRATION

Garbage in, garbage out.

My creative output will be enhanced and shaped by the stimuli I take in. As much as I can, I will create habits and methods that will help me take in new, unexpected things outside my normal sphere. As much as I can, I will create habits that allow me to plunge deeply into topics and activities that spark my curiosity, scratch the itch for novelty, and that bring me joy.

the appalachian mountains
the appalachian mountains

One of the largest sources I wish to fuel from is the outdoors. Even though an autoimmune disorder has left me allergic to the sun (and, ironically, the UV rays I use to create my work), I will not let that hold me back. Rather, I can find ways and shape my practices so that no matter the season I can drink from the deep well of peace that is the gift of Nature.

the art manifesto: part 5

This part of my artist #manifesto is almost as hard as the fourth (welcoming children), but here goes: 5/7 - CREATE CLEAR BOUNDARIES

In order to create effectively and joyfully, I have to understand where my work begins and where I end. It's impossible not to infuse my work with who I am, but it's paramount that I remember that I am not my work. Establishing this boundary enables me to consider criticism, to evaluate, and to be more deeply honest with myself about where I feel vulnerable in my artmaking.

Knowing where my art ends means I must also remember the things I will not sacrifice for my art. These are: my health, my marriage, and my children. The rhythm and balance between the elements can be in flux, but these must always be protected.

a textile piece
a textile piece

Creating boundaries around my health, marriage, and children effectively happens when I communicate needs, expectations, and policies directly and concisely to others, whether I'm dealing with family, clients, colleagues, friends, customers, or anyone else. It also means that use my wisdom to choose my words, timing, and inner circle with care.

Since the internet is forever (and not truly private) I use social media with these boundaries and the good of my family in mind. My particular policies are free to change as my life & technology change, but they remain under that umbrella.

the art manifesto: part 4

One of the trickiest parts of my art #manifesto is this: 4/7 - WELCOME YOUR CHILDREN

No matter the stage of parenting or artmaking, I choose to find ways to welcome my children's presence, seeing them as assets, teachers, and my greatest creative project. My children benefit from seeing what I do; it enables them to envision their own careers and paths through life. And I benefit from the presence of my children; they are an external force that pushes me to do the things that truly matter.

my children draw
my children draw

The rules: keep your children safe, give them ways to be involved (or not) as they choose. Let them be as they are; do not fight against their natures or needs, but remember that they are not in command. This is a delicate and ever-changing terrain to navigate.

Work and life (children) are not separate things. They are dance partners that together create a beautiful spectacle when moving in rhythm, and then appear as one.

the art manifesto: part 3

The art manifesto, continued: 3/7 - PROTECT & ENHANCE YOUR PHYSICAL SPACE

I'm a particular & territorial person, which does not bode well for many reasons, and can be very ill-suited to parenting young children. But I know that underneath my fierce personal tendency for spatial control lies this truth: you need to protect your creative space.

When you shape a space and make it sacred, you open up TIME as well--time for the particular activity around which that space is shaped. For any creative workspace, one should make it so little else besides your work happens in that space. And it should feel easy and pleasant--beautiful and at the ready (even if "ready" means "messy"). That way, coming to that place becomes an automatic trigger to creatively engage.

a view of my desk space
a view of my desk space

So while your creative workspace matters deeply, it does not matter what size or shape or particular location it takes. I started working on my bed in my room, long ago. Then I had a desk (and would spread out on the floor or bed). Then, two desks. My space could contract or grow in the future for a variety of reasons, but the key is this: I have a space.

And so I protect my space; I stake it as mine and reserve it for my work. And I enhance my space: I resourcefully surround myself with the setup and the tools I need easily at hand.