CREATING ART IN THE CRACKS
Creating Art. Is it possible to create art in the small cracks of time between family commitments and a full time job? Over the last nine years I have been on a journey to create a body of work inspired by a sense of place. I did not know I was going to create this work, but sort of stumbled upon it. I was searching for some sort of creative expression and had the idea to create ideas for paintings on the computer from photographs. This is how I fell into creating art pieces from photomontage. I didn’t know that’s what they were at the time, but looking back they were the sum total of everything I had done up to that point – my training in textiles, the ways I liked working, the things I had always been attracted to and my family situation and our need to escape the daily quandry of what to do with young children in Dartford. Our answer was to escape to anywhere else, and most times we went to the coast and I documented our trips with my camera.
I created my work along side lecturing at college and it created a lovely balance between giving as a teacher and creating as an artist. More recently our family/work situation changed and I took on a full time job at a school. There are lots of good things about my job, namely the people I work with, but in my naivety I thought I could keep going with the photomontage, and hold onto the idea of being a working artist, because in my heart this is what I am. I have managed to create work during that time, and the galleries that I am so fortunate to show in, continue to exhibit and sell work for me. However, more and more I feel like I am losing my way with something I have built up and something that is a big part of me. This makes me deeply sad.
I find myself trying to work in the cracks, trying to grab pieces of time here and there, to steal guilt ridden time when my sister can kindly look after our kids, or hours in the evening after cooking and making packed lunches where I try and ignore everyone and get some work done. It never seems to be enough and that access to the most precious of all things – Time, is so elusive. I am sure I am not alone in feeling like this, and I am not looking for sympathy. It is just how things are at the moment.
I have always thought that big things start with small steps and in talking honestly about my practice and acknowledging this, I am hoping to find a way of reconnecting in a humble and authentic way with my work. I want to find a way of working in these cracks of time to create something bigger and more lasting. My aim today is to begin this journey and to devote at least half an hour a day and hopefully more to working on my imagery for 365 days in a row. ( I know half an hour is not much, but 365 days in a row is scary and it is a starting point!) My aim is to share what I have done on instagram, Facebook and the occasional blog and just see where it goes. Please feel free to check in on my progress, to comment, to share your own experiences, maybe to see even if it is possible to create work in the cracks!
I can’t believe I started writing this three days ago – not very decisive!
Anyhow my day #1 is today. It’s a Sunday and uncharacteristically I find myself with three guilt free hours of time to devote to my work. My son has gone to a birthday party and will be gorging on ice-cream and I have booked this time to myself with all other loved ones.
Suddenly it feels a bit daunting to actually commit to this challenge and I am realising there are loads of housework things that need doing, coffee that needs drinking, chocolate downstairs in the cupboard. Get a grip Claire. I am going to press the publish button and turn the internet off and just get started. I will report back later.
I came across the quote ‘You can’t make Art in the Cracks’ in an interview with Jessica Bell in a book entitled ‘Creative Block’ by Danielle Krysa. Jessica Bell was quoting an Artist friend of hers, but the phrase stayed with me, because it was exactly how I felt about making my own work. This is partly what inspired this challenge