Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Taking care of business

Being that it's the holidays it seems that everyone is having a hard time keeping up with all the things that need to be done. When you have a business that requires your own labor and you are the sole proprietor and worker it's even harder to buckle down and do what's needed.

So I have given myself rules to follow that ensure I don't get too far behind. The main rule is that, unless I'm flat on my back sick, then I have to work a minimal 5 day work week. The second rule is that my work is my first project of the day, no putting things off until later. 

My job involves a lot of creativity and the muse is not always there. I also have some physical limitations as to how long a period I can work for, so there are no hard and fast rules for how many hours I work. I may go for just 3-4 hours and sometimes I end up spending about 10 hours over the full day, it just depends on the project and the mood.

On days that I can't really do much physically I turn to the chore of coming up with concepts and designs. I say 'chore' because some days I'm just not in the zone. On those days I look for outside inspiration, I'll go through a 10 year collection of reference photos that I've gathered, I'll go to other art sites to see what wows me and why and sometimes I'll just google images. When I pull an image it's not something that I can or want to re-create, what I'm going for is a feeling or a certain rhythm or movement. 

Sometimes I get an instant idea of what I want and sometimes it just strikes a chord and I add it to my reference collection. But if I'm looking to do a new design then I'll just keep looking until I find 'the one'. Sometimes I have to let the idea percolate for awhile. I have certain items that I make that re-use the same design and I work on these in between new design concepts and when I weary of doing those I'll sit back down and start sketching out ideas. 

The sketches are horrid drawings, I'm just trying to figure out the mechanics of things, rarely does the finished piece look exactly like the drawing because I have to adjust for materials and aesthetics along the way. I also have to edit myself because I always think anything is possible and get a bit carried away with the idea and then have to tone it down so it's actually do-able. 

Luckily I have no deadlines but my own. Commission work was a bit different, there's always a deadline, so it keeps you on track, but, without approaching my work with some discipline, I don't think I'd get much accomplished. I'm not a slave driver though,  I set a goal that I feel I can accomplish each day and if I have other home chores to do that take a lot of energy I may just work on cleaning up my workspace and catching up on paperwork. 

So, today I accomplished what I set out to do, which was finish creating all the parts of my newest design. The plan for tomorrow is to start assembling, would love to finish it, but I still have a lot of finish details to work out, so it'll probably take a couple days minimum. Now, for the rest of the day! I have some laundry and housework to do, some Christmas cards to take care of and somewhere in this week it's time to decorate for the holidays too. 

Oh, yeah...there's gotta be some 'me' time so I don't totally burn out...the wind is howling, the skies are gray...me thinks a lovely hot soak in the tub will do the trick :)



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