Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A Word About Challenges (or Be Careful What You Wish For)

Believe it or not, this blog post has been rolling around in my head since, oh, say May because that's when it started to become apparent that participating in challenges, as I'm wont to do, can become overwhelming when combined with "success."
The quilt top for our Hand of Craft show in progress
Okay, let me back up and give a quick overview of how this past year has gone for me. This comes without a dissertation on politics and the state of affairs in the world and predominantly focuses on me and what I learned.
Our billboard, Domestic Brew: Craft Beer Garden, on the cover of the Hamilton Spectator
First off, I knew that Shake-n-Make had two major shows in 2017, both of which were labour-intensive (our favourite kind of work). One opened at the end of August and the other at the beginning of November. These shows were not originally scheduled for the same year, but some things you can't control (like the finishing of a courtyard, for example). On top of that, the ladyfriend had a major show that opened in May.
Domestic Brew: 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall at The Hamilton Artists Inc.
So that's three shows in one year. More than once over the course of the past 12 months have I used the expression "victim of our own success."
Managed to ride my bike on a beer run in April
Despite all this (or because I'm a procrastinator), I thought I could participate in a few challenges like the #30daysofbiking in April, #MeMadeMay, and a 30-day yoga challenge at De La Sol (April/May). A lot of this comes from the end of the semester; when the term ends in early April, I suddenly feel like I have loads of time. But this is a micro-view; the macro is often where I get tripped up.
A #MeMadeMay post featuring an Alabama Chanin top I made
Think of it like those transparencies that you find in medical books - you lay one down, and then another on top of it, and then another and another until there's a whole lot going on (not a medical term). So you have our shows, the challenges, and then things like another roof to be done and travel plans made.

Despite all this, I also wanted to participate in Fringe Association's #summerofbasics. I mean, c'mon, couldn't I make three wardrobe staples over the course of three months? I'm sure you can already see where this is headed.

Suffice to say that of the challenges, I was only able to really participate in #MeMadeMay. My biggest challenge for the year was not falling apart constantly.

After all that, all our shows went well (even if I thought they'd kill me), and we're happy with the work. I'm trying to incorporate what I've learned about my ability to juggle multiple projects simultaneously (less is more). There was a frenetic quality to last year that I'm hoping to eliminate from this year.

Nonetheless, I've set up a few goals/guidelines for the coming year:
  1. The ladyfriend and I are not undertaking any new art projects this year (we'll see how that goes). Instead, this year is labeled "Project Life," and we're trying to take care of things in our life that got shunted to the wayside last year. We'll also be working on getting the work we've made shown elsewhere.
  2. Each month will have three goals. Firstly there will be a project to finish (all those WIPs!), something to make or do (e.g. start pickles), and something to fix/remake/let go (e.g. a vintage dress that's not fitting properly). This should help me clear the deck of lingering projects as well as moments of panic about not being prepared/ready (where's the fruitcake?!).
  3. I can only start a new project (knitting or sewing) if I've completed one that was already in progress (see point 2). 
I have some writing projects/goals set as well (one of which is to blog regularly again - just figuring out my schedule now), but integration is what I'm aiming for this year - my interests/inclinations/etc. integrated and peacefully co-existing.

I'll let you know how that goes.

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