My work space is a little corner of our open living room in our apartment. From where I sit I can see my sewing mess, dirty shoes at the front door, dishes on the kitchen island and more. In order to keep my focus at my desk I am working very hard to curate my little corner so I can look ahead, detach from the rest and get busy. Part of this is my seasonal mood board and a calendar right above my monitors. They keep me inspired and refreshed. I am exceptionally invigorated by the seasons and the ‘traditional’ imagery and attitudes that go with them. It helps me remain grounded in time and keep things from feeling like they pass in a blur. Pastels and umbrellas in April, bright florals in May, neon sunshine in July, muted leaves in September, warm chunky knits in November.
It all plays a part in my daily creative energy. I enjoy the freedom to control the focus of my mood board, but my calendar is a little more permanent. A decision made that will stick with me for the 12 months to come. I need something that captures the essence of the seasonal influences without being in your face about it, something that gives a jolt of renewed energy each time the page is flipped on the 1st.
Growing up I had calendars filled with images of cats and vintage fashion photography, and while cute and pretty, they felt a little flat. Boring. I began gravitating towards calendars with a more artistic feel, put out by creatives with a unique perspective (Paper Fashion, 1Canoe2). Each year though, my style, inspiration and aesthetic changes, so I need to leapfrog onto the next thing. But finding that jewel of a calendar has never been easy. (Okay, that sentence made me sound a little obsessive. Please say someone understands why I over think this?)
As the search continued this year, the options were less and less appealing to me and I just couldn’t find what I wanted. It took so much time and drained all my energy. When I eventually did find something that got me excited, the cost plus shipping and exchange rate made things unrealistic (this could also be another rant for another day).
A lot of the time if I find something I truly like, I’d buy it before making it. It’s so much simpler that way. But the search to find the perfect office accessory left me feeling burnt out. Plus the new year had already started and I was unable to glance at the date when it was called upon. A fire emerged and all inertia was removed. I said “Fine then! I’ll make my own!”
The process was fun, simple and satisfying. Looking at the pages of past calendars, taking elements from new ones scouted online, and perusing my many Pinterest boards, I sketched and devised 12 simple and geometric designs to adorn my wall. I was able to make it using supplies I had on hand (with one tiny trip to the art store for more pen colours). After 4 days and lots of patience I welcome my new one-of-a-kind 2015 art calendar.
I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that watercolours will never be my medium. I have found I have the most joy drawing with a good pen or marker. There’s no mess, good saturation and total control. But to make sure I felt a little challenged I dug out a mini Blue eye Brown eye Calligraphy kit I got from BlogShop two years ago. I’d been perfecting my ‘faux-calligraphy’ for a while now and felt ready to take the dive into the real thing for the months.
I maybe should have done a little prep work first though. I couldn’t get my strokes to widen because I was too afraid to apply pressure. When I noticed my nib split, I thought I’d broken it! Eventually I went to the internet and got some advice from friends and it was smooth sailing.
I guess the whole point of this story is to tell you to never be satisfied. Never be satisfied with what is being presented to you in stores to buy, never be satisfied with your current set of skills. Be proud of your work, every step of the way, but don’t settle. Always be aware of your ability to go for exactly what you want and do not be afraid try new things to achieve your goals.
Whether it is a calendar on the wall, a dress for a party, the living room of your dreams; go and make it happen. Think carefully, plan, create and execute. You can do it. And you should do it, a little bit everyday.
When you look back on 2015 I can guarantee you’ll see the results of your actions. And I, for every day in 2015, get to look up and see mine.