Terry D.

Dismantling the committee/ the rules

I missed doing week two due to lack of internet and eventually lack of time, so it has sort of rolled itself in with week three in my thinking. That may not be a good thing! This week I had started scribbling thoughts before I had even got to the middle of the essay. I added to them as I read more. I'm posting only my reflections on that writing, not the actual ramblings themselves.

I've come to the conclusion that my committee doesn’t stop me from working when I get in the studio: it stops me from ever getting to the studio in the first place. I found it very hard to identify people on the committee. Once I am in the studio working I don’t see faces or hear voices which stop me – by that stage I am usually confident in what I'm doing – and there is usually a deadline. However going back a stage I can see that the rules I have made for myself could be said to stem from the committee. I wrote reams about these (and surprised myself) - here's a precis of the rules and my thoughts about them:

1.       Art is not as valuable as a ‘proper career’. That from my parents, principally my father, who was himself an architect (and a watercolour artist after he retired), and my teachers at secondary school. This will be why I now try to make a living teaching rather than by simply being an artist, and why I still have a proper job for half the week.

2.   The house has to be clean/ washing and ironing done before I can have any time for me. This might stem from my mother, and I recognise that it is just an excuse not to make work! My house is never ‘finished’/ as I want it. Therefore I must not waste time in the studio . . . I should be decorating/ doing the garden etc

3.  I (personally) have to keep our business going: my business partner suffered a bereavement and is not up to par. She was always the ideas person with enough energy to carry them all through. She is still the ideas person but no longer has the focus, so I end up completing her half-finished tasks as well as my own. We spend a lot of time running to catch up, and I feel responsible for making sure everything gets done. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. I really need to tackle this.

4.  Everyone else’s needs are more important than mine. I think that stems from my mum whose attitude this was (and still is). Why do I still believe it???

5.   I haven’t got time to play in the studio because of all the above. Actually it’s because I keep making excuses not to go there, and 'wasting' time doing other work and on the internet. What am I afraid of?

6.   The work I make has to be worthy of my position as a teacher/ someone who has won prizes. As a teacher, I should set an example and enter shows and exhibit my work. Consequently it is not OK to make stuff for the sake of it to use up fabric I bought just cos I like it.

7.   My AHA!!! Moment:  ‘STOP – don’t do it like that – you’re going to spoil it/ waste it/ waste money! This is the right way to do it’. From my ex-husband: one of the reasons I left him. But I think this is still ingrained somewhere deep down and I let it stop me from creating.

BUT – I’m not sure that any of these people are on my committee – it’s just me and my thoughts/ hang-ups. I suppose that’s the point really.

I have no idea how to use my rebel to stop myself from using the committee’s excuses as my own. I’m not even sure if I have a rebel. In thinking about why this might be I realise I'm quite laid back and I dislike conflict - anything for a quiet life - but nothing much bothers me for myself. 

However, this week I did manage to suggest that my business partner and I let ourselves off trying to run a set of classes this term that neither of us really seems to have the time or the inclination for – we were both relieved about that!

Come to think of it, I am typing this whilst sitting at my desk in my day-job, so it seems that the rebel does exist – she just needs to be taught that creative time is legit and worth fighting for.

I am quite familiar with the Notan squares and love the monochrome complexity (or simplicity). It has never occurred to me to break the fundamental rules of these (although I often do them with a colour and black). So I'm going to find time to deliberately break some rules and observe the process and start the rebel on the learning curve . . . Whoever she is, she's got a tough job on!