We talk so much about finding balance between work and home, but I think there is no such thing as balance.
A few years ago I got to the point where I was starting to get burnt out by the intense pressure of constantly managing the ups and downs of a running business as well as the million other things I do.
I did some reassessing and realised I needed to incorporate creativity and art into my life. For me it wasn’t finding balance, it was deeper than that.
I needed to find creativity that wasn’t about perfection, but more about exploration and play. I wanted think in new ways and use creativity to gain new insights and perspectives that I could also use in my business.
I’ve always been interested in many forms of craft, so I booked into a week-long basketry class. I picked up a vine to weave and was hooked. For me, it’s about the combination of nature, imagination and beauty that attracted me to sculptural basketry.
We have seen noticeable resurgence in creating traditional crafts in the past few years. I think it’s the combination of how virtual our lives have become and how busy we all seem to be, which has resulted in people looking for arts and craft that reconnects them with slower, traditional creative experiences.
I believe many women need to incorporate a form of slowing down into their lives, and creating art helps us slow down, quieten the mind and put us in touch with our inner wisdom.
While some people may think that practices such as meditation are too hard, weaving or knitting are very similar to meditation, as they are such simplistic tasks that force us to do one thing at a time, slowly – the exact opposite of what we all do in our jobs every day.
It’s about being still, and letting the beauty emerge.
Seeing different perspectives
Arts and craft practices highlight how differently we all see things. They help us appreciate that many different points of view expand our world view. They help us overcome business (and life) challenges and different perspectives are essential in dealing with the complexities of everyday life.
They create an environment in which we are combining right-brain imagination with left-brain logic, thereby increasing the capacity for breakthrough ideas and insights.
I have found basketry is the perfect representation of this concept. You can give 10 people the same plant fibre and teach them the same technique and you will get 10 different baskets.
When I’m weaving, no two pieces are the same, even if I’m using the same material and technique, they will all be different. That’s because weaving using organic material is about listening to what it wants to be. I may have an idea about what I’m going to create, and then I’ll pick up the material and start the sculpture and the material decides what it wants to become.
Reframing what’s in front of you
It’s also about seeing potential, which may not be readily apparent. You may walk past a fallen branch and not even notice it, or you can see it as the beginnings of a sculpture. It’s pure joy to pick up a vine, stick or seed pod and imagine what they could be.
We are so disconnected from nature in this digital world that we’re barely paying attention to what’s around us. Walking down the street with your only view being the piece of glass and plastic in your hand means that you’re missing the moments in time that nature gifts us; a beautiful sunset, the sun through the trees or leaf drifting by in the breeze.
These moments are missed because we are no longer looking at the world around us, and often completely disconnected from where we are. It’s about reframing what’s in front of you.
It’s never too late
I’ve always had a secret, unspoken desire to be an artist. I didn’t start truly exploring art until my 40s, and it’s only been recently that I felt that I could call myself an artist.
Slowing down has been the key to my health. It took a very stressful period in my life to force to me find creative experiences that allow me to see new perspectives and have a break from constant noise of a busy life.
I sit for hours at a time on weeknights and weekends just working on my weaving. I’ve spent most of my evenings after work in the last six months sitting on the floor surrounded by leaves and sticks; because of my A type personality is never far away…I set myself the challenge of a solo exhibition at this year.
Putting the exhibition together has been at times challenging, but never stressful. Love.Honour.Cherish is a collection of beautifully woven pieces that honour and worship the earth beneath our feet and the new growth that can emerge from it.
I know this to be true. We all have new growth ready to emerge, and art and creativity can help you reconnect with your imagination, and give you new insights and perspectives. But remember, the key is to slow down and see what emerges.
Love.Honour.Cherish is on from 7-19 October, at Gallery Lane Cove.