priority push-me-pull-you

30 Jan

WEEK FOUR (january 23-29)

For quite a while I’ve been trying really hard to come up with ways to use my time wisely and consistently, but a continual priority push-me-pull-you of tasks and projects that, like toddlers, demand my attention straight away, have me feeling like I am continually going around in circles.

Trying to refine my working week, my days, my nights and my priorities is ongoing. Some things are working, others not.
If I have appointments I can stick to them but I cannot seem to be held to a set plan day in day out.

I work well from my ToDoist daily list, often treating tasks like daily challenge to tick off but I also regularly end up responding to the daily, weekly, new (and important:) things that somehow need to be slotted in.
That is a good thing.
This is also a bad thing.
I am happy being distracted by the good things and being free for family and good people whenever they need me.
I work where I live Рthat blessing/that curse familiar to many artists.
I also excel at overdoing things and especially at over-committing.

THE really silly thing is that I tend to end up putting ART LAST – a habit, I now realise, formed straight after I graduated – when I worked, married, started (and completed) my family and bought a home in a very short and very full five years.
Three babies within three years and four months….
No wonder my creative pursuits were home related – renovating, decorating, cooking, and entertaining.

The factor that mirrors this is that when Stargazey was roaring and I was travelling and working, more than a normal houred week, was when those three babes were all in high school. Memorably they would catch the bus from school to the studio and stay with me until I was ready to knock off – it was their choice.
I didn’t regard Stargazey as my ART practice, though it essentially was, as the ‘work’ side overwhelmed the one or two ‘real’ artworks I might manage to achieve each year.
Here my work, my¬†art-based business, was separated from home. I could do both but I was also often ‘at work’.

NOW, I find I am easily pulled away from my heartland of making unless I have a deadline that gives it priority.

I managed to complete thirteen artworks last year – some had deadlines though not all.
I only exhibited six pieces though, and only half of those were new.
Though my priority here is obviously my need to make, I am happy with that result for the moment but I do need more/better outputs and showings.

As I profess to be time poor I occasionally think that spending time writing this blog is wasteful. My conclusion each time this thought is considered is that I do this for me.
Writing about my past week, be it good, bad, full of great achievements or the boringly mundane is worthwhile.
It makes me responsible for my week.
My noggin is always working towards bettering my life…..especially since starting to record here…… to mull over why things aren’t working, to work out why I do what I do in every regard, to celebrate the good parts of me and to try harder where I fail.
To be as honest as I can be…..

I am constantly learning about all sorts of things and I get SO excited about this that it feeds my desire to learn more……
Reading – I can’t get enough of it BUT I JUST NEED to transpose this enthusiasm into ARTWORK – the physical consequence of all that research and input.

So this week, the last week of the extra month I gave myself before I start MY new year.
Where do I stand?

The hindrances;
A cold….the bambinos that I carry and cuddle and laugh and crawl on the floor with have shared their germs. My bad back/right hip then sent out the pain flags because I couldn’t swim (because of the leaky nose) and because of age-inappropriate carrying and crawling.

My big printer, the one that I print fabric on, has also been unwell and needed to visit a repairman…I’ve just heard that it’s illness needs a different specialist so I will need to invest more time and miles on its recovery. I am patient but I have at least three projects waiting in line for it to produce it’s digital visuals. Meanwhile I work on stitching more and more ‘Sulphur Crested Cockie’ feathers.

The good-bits ;
I have added, thanks to the advice of the prolific Polly of last weeks post, another set of podcasts to my listening pleasure. has hour long conversations with textile-y sorts. I have listened to two so far – which means that I stitched for at least two hours!!!!

Photos in this weeks posts are of some of the many doilies, tapestries and tablecloths that were ironed ready to be photographed. Six boxes done / photographed. They now await re-boxing with fresh labels.
I still have about eight more boxes to be ironed, photographed, re-boxed and images filed to reflect the contents of the boxes – for ease of access.
I need them all done ASAP so that I can cut into some….I am being held up – at least four artworks await!

I have continued to organise my external hard drive which now contains ONLY photographs. These photographs are now arranged in years mostly, with specific folders within, but I have four specialist folders also (ARTWORK images, FAMILY, STARGAZY, VINTAGE COLLECTIONS). Still more work to do here.

I got to an exhibition!!!!!
My weekly aim has been in tatters of late BUT Unknown Land at AGWA was finishing very soon and I desperately wanted to see what the art of a nascent W.A and Perth looked like. Rewarding.

I am now back working on getting the Quilt and Textile Study Group of Western Australia’s web presence online. This project was initiated, by me, about a year ago. It’s priority is continually usurped. The end of this month was my deadline and I won’t make it…but I am getting close.

By the end of the week I hatched my grand new mini plan to streamline my working day, (insert your own raucous/ironic laughter here please).
Let me tell you about this new fantasy another time….but only if it swims.





Jan Mullen

B. Ed. Art/Craft (Textiles/Sculpture) Living in Perth, Western Australia Artist, Fabric Designer, Author, Teacher, Mentor.