DSC_0021Sophrosyne (n) a healthy state of mind, characterized by self control, moderation, and a deep awareness of one’s true self, and resulting in true happiness

I read this on facebook, such a lovely thing to come across…

DSC_0023Centering down to do more of what I want/ what is mine to contribute right now means giving up some of the many other exciting and sparkling possibilities available…there is a happy balance between total simplicity and sufficient resources to sustain an artist in many media. Finding a new main medium/ expression for my art has lead to acquiring a lot of materials that all appeal, but are not necessarily viable [certainly not in my bijou flat!]

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Like most artists, I have a tendency to stockpile materials, and as an upcycling artist, the number of POSSIBLE uses I can think of for an individual bit of…tat… are distressingly many. At the height of an argument with an ex he told me I was like a disco mirror ball, to which I replied, ‘Yes, how wonderful, all those facets!’  He  shouted: IT WAS AN INSULT!

Nerts to that!

DSC_0024By nature I have been much more of a juggler and a marathon tasker/ up with the rocket, down with the stick/ all or nothing person and it is a revelation to become seasonal and patient, an ‘enough is as good as a feast’ person. It has grown on me gradually, first of all through agoraphobia, then Daoism, gardening, living with someone with bi-polar, but now mainly having to make a balance that will keep me able to make art at least sometimes in a day/week. Pacing is so central to my management of the pain and fatigue and  weakness of fibromyalgia, and it involves moderation, never one of my strong points till now.

DSC_0025Lately I have had help tackling the studio, and great progress has been made, yay!

I give to a lot of projects, so friends give to me, knowing I can channel things, but it can be very tempting, all that eyecandy! Sorting through boxes always brings a feast of ideas to mind: the trick is enjoying the ideas and letting them go, materials and all!

I am becoming increasingly comfortable with knowing a number of projects ahead and rotating between them – after a lot of work on Wasting Waste, I’ve had a spell of gardening and pink Wool against Weapons knitting, and now I want to work on something else, still for Peace Week, but a different installation, probably the ivy rootballs. I’m going on holiday on Monday [the sea, the sea!] and when I come back it would be great to have WW sorted and stored, easily accessible but not on every surface!

So I’m very pleased some more sorting happened today:

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Zero-waste projects are 1) making strong fabric carriers for the Foodbanks to give food away in, I had a few left over from the ones I made for the Fixers stall and clearing out my work-in-progress/UFO crate has added more.

2) putting all my threads and snippets into the same place so I can make embellishers for the guerilla gardening pouches. I have some see through plastic storage jars that seem just the thing.

I bought some more see through plastic (shoe) boxes and David, who was helping, gave me some ziplock freezer bags he was clearing out, so I am sifting and sorting, and I suspect there will be a lot of boxes of those, but then, they are very handy, so this shouldn’t be a problem, hmm?

DSC_0073Having sorted out the pieces of the duvet cover I am almost ready to finish quilting, I was able to put unwanted cloth into the smaller shoe boxes and colour code it. This liberated a 20litre crate for Wasting Waste yarn stash, which liberated an 80litre crate  for Diversity is our Strength, which liberated the travelling bag so I can pack to go on holiday on Monday! Oh my!

I hardly ever buy fabric anymore, maybe a particular keynote colour, as I am working through the stash acquired by a few years of visiting remainder sales and friends’ clearouts…it does take having access to a large collection of fabric to acquire the huge variety of snippets I love to work with though. This is where SOPHROSYNE comes back in…I seem to have hit the point where I can balance letting go of some plans [making embellished/complex cloth floor cushions, making clothes, printing cloth] and taking on others [guerilla articulture.]

Knowing and accepting what I can do within the limits of fibromyalgia is not a straightforward thing: but then, life is never straightforward, right? Some things suit my face though – the audacity of street art, the gifting and salvage side of what I make and how I choose to share it, these are much more mainstream than they were, more impactful as I can now share them through Facebook groups. I like to be playful in my making, but I am very serious about how stepping out of expectations of what contribution (among others) people with disabling conditions can make to the idea of worth in the community. People living outside the ratrace are necessary to the w/holistics of communities, we model being and doing, not having and buying. Artists/creatives of all kinds can encourage others to think out of the box and work with what we have to make what is needed:

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Finally though, it comes back to living with what works for me, knowing what works for me and enjoying that. Definitely a corner turned.

 

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