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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's Amazing...

how much time is taken up by things that have nothing much to do with art at all. And I don't mean the housework, here. I spent yesterday working out what to say on a leaflet that would promote my coaching services and tailored workshops. It wasn't easy. In a way, it's a bit like designing an abstract. What you are aiming for (or at least, what I aim for) is clarity, simplicity and an ability to draw in the viewer; pretty much what you need in a brochure, too. But you do have to think, not just about what you want to say, but also what the person reading it wants to know. This is particularly true of coaching; people use the word, but don't really know what it entails. So, in the end, I said this;

I believe we have the answers to our own problems; it's just that we can't always see the wood for the trees. It's my job as a coach to guide you through the wood, paying attention to all the things that are getting in your way. I ask lots of questions, and encourage you to come up with your own answers. Sometimes, I will show you a new way of looking at things. Other times, I may show you a useful technique for doing something, like managing your time better. I will help you to work out what you really want, and plan how to get it. We can work together for as long as you wish, in complete confidence.

Pretty much, I think that says it all. I hope it does, anyway. In the same way, I think that some of my work says everything I want it to say...and then some. Like this digital manipulation of a photograph of a cracked floor tile, which to my eye, expresses all kinds of emotions. What are you trying to say, today? And how are you going to say it?

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Quick Nudge In The Ribs...

...arrived in my mailbox this morning, courtesy of the Universe, or The Explorer's Club, site of motivational writer and speaker (and who knows what else...)Mike Dooley. I like these daily reminders (well, okay, weekday...even the Universe has the weekend off...). For all that they are random, they regularly hit an issue that I need to be encouraged about.

I went for an interview for a full time job on Wednesday, as well as doing some coaching. Yesterday, I did nothing much about anything. I used all kinds of excuses to justify it. I was tired. I had done a lot the day before. I was allowed to look after myself, to rest. I played silly games on the computer, instead of getting on with the things I knew I should have been working on. Today, the message from the Universe was short and sweet (and I quote):

Baby steps spark miracles, marion.

Miracles do not spark baby steps.

The Universe

Ouch. Today, I'm back to work, and feeling much better about things than I did yesterday. I'm writing leaflets for my coaching services, sending images to someone who asked for them and generally getting active. I'm working for my own, personal miracles. What are you working for today? Or are you having a lazy day, like I had yesterday? We can't work every hour of every day, but we can focus on what we really want, and bring it to fruition. I firmly believe that we get what we focus I'm off to focus on coaching today. I want to help people express themselves creatively. First, though, I have to explain to them what that means...hence the leaflets. And then I'm going to make a coaching blog, so that this blog remains as my creative work blog, and people who want a different kind of encouraging can go to the new blog, instead...or as well. Watch this space for new developments!

The image, by the way, is a collage on board, called 'Falling'.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Coaching and Writing...My Other Hats.

Ever wondered what a creative coach does? Well, I have tried to explain here, but there is nothing like hearing it from someone other than the coach! I'm featured on Anna's blog, Serendipity, here, so if you would like to see what I do, click on the link and find Anna's story.

When we get stuck, I think it is because we lose sight of what is important to us. Sometimes it takes a conversation with someone else, someone unrelated, to help us to see what is in front of our own noses. When I work with people, I remind them that they are the expert in their own process; I'm just a sounding board. Any answers you come up with during a session belong to you, not to me. I'm delighted that Anna got so much from her session with me. I'll be following up with her in a week's time, just to see how she is doing. I think it's essential, when you get an injection of enthusiasm, that you follow it through. Support is something we all need.

Of course, you don't need to be stuck to work with a coach. You might just have the feeling that there is another direction you could be taking, if only you knew what it was... Talking to a coach about your work can show you that hidden path. Or maybe you aren't sure about the direction you are going in, or just plain what direction to take. A conversation with a coach can clear that up in your own head, which, of course, is all that's needed. Or maybe you need to learn a particular skill, like managing your time, or how to motivate yourself. Working with a coach can sort that out, and help you to create a process that is tailored to your needs.

I've been asked about the book I'm writing currently, too, so I thought I'd mention it here, as it is related to the coaching. 'Extending The Zone' pretty much covers all the things I've mentioned here. I wanted to write a book that combined my art experience with my self development management experience. All the tools I've used in business, like time management, apply in the art world, too. It's just a question of tailoring them to suit each individual, and the book is written in such a way as to encourage you to work in your own way, in your own pace, and tailor the process to meet your needs. I hope it will be out in the's nearly finished! It will appear as both an Ebook and a printed book, so you will have a choice.

So, that's what I'm up to at present. Working on the book, and working with other people, as well as making my own work. And of course, working on Exquisite Evolon, the follow up to Lovely Lutradur. I'm having a really good time, I have to say, combining all the things I love to do...just like this coach recommends!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Proving Myself Wrong.

Don't you just love it when you do that? I find that if I ever say 'never', the chances are that I'll be doing whatever it is in about six months time. I'll never buy an embellisher...(silly girl...that took less than six weeks, never mind six months). I'll never work in mixed media (duh...). Those, of course, only affect wee me. I'd just like to apologise to anyone who actually listened to me about this next one. Printing with paper bags. I dismiss it on a regular basis, or rather, I used to. Yes, the dyes are the right kind for transfer dyeing with, it doesn't always work. So don't do it, right? Wrong.

I was in Jill's studio, working just before Christmas. I was working with Evolon, which, because it has a small percentage of nylon in it, can get a bit tetchy when it comes to being ironed with very hot irons... so I always cover it with something before I do, usually greaseproof paper. As none was immediately to hand, I used a very pretty paper bag, instead. Didn't even bother turning it outsides in, just thought, och well, if it transfers, it transfers... As you can see from the images, it certainly did!

The piece is called 'Dragon Island'. It may turn into a series, called 'Map Of The World', but I'm not sure. Problem is that everything I make has the potential for a series, no matter how slim. When I worked as a Self Development Manager, my manager at the time said despairingly that when asked to do something, I always produced a Rolls Royce. Why couldn't I just stick to creating Minis, instead. Much simpler, easier, faster, cheaper... I still think she was nuts. I believe in doing your best, all the time, no matter what the task. Exploring all the avenues. Thinking, researching, reflecting, designing. How else do you achieve the possible, instead of the easy solution. That is nothing but a state of mind, a decision to explore, to take risks. It can be learnt, and it is, in my opinion, a big part of creative thinking. Scary? Sometimes. But I'm happy enough with how my Evolon piece turned out... At the end of the day, my favourite question, or one of them, is 'What is the worst thing that could possibly happen?'. In this case, not a great deal. The dye transferred or it didn't. The Evolon melted, or it didn't. I liked the design, or I didn't. It's only cloth...

So what risk are you going to take this week?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year...

..and thank you to everyone who reads this blog (we're now into Year Three!), and my other efforts. I'm very grateful. It feels like having a network of friends all over the world. I love my friends wholeheartedly; many of them have been through thick and thin with me (you know who you are...), and I'm always delighted to add a few more. This year, I added some family to the mix; my sister and I had been estranged, but we're talking twice as fast to make up for it. She and her family are beloved...finding her again has changed my life. So, I have a great deal to be thankful for.

This new year will be as busy as last, and I'm looking forward to getting out and about to meet new people, run some workshops, do some demonstrating, that kind of thing... I aim to do everything I'm doing now...just a little better! May you, too, have a joyful New Year, full of learning and love.