As most artists know all too well, November and December is the busy season, holiday sales carry many of us through the rest of our year. Months ago, as the end of summer approached, the deadline for deciding in which holiday shows to participate came up, and I had to make a decision. In past years I have had open studios, inviting the public in to my atelier to see how and where my products are made. Last year, I took part in the Designers Fair (juried entry) at DogA, the Norwegian Center for Design and Architecture on Hausmannsgate in Oslo, 10,000 people in 2 days – exhausting but worthwhile! This year, the invites for various shows came in and I realized that regardless of what options I chose, the workload would be pretty much the same, long hard days in the studio working on new series and collections, evenings back in the studio polishing silver or ironing textiles, display work, pricing, labeling, packaging supplies, being away from my children on the holiday weekends, and stressing out my poor husband!.. whom I have to say is the most supportive, adoring human being.. and by far the best man I have ever known, hmm.. can you tell I love him to bits! but I digress. October, for me, is dedicated to FeltUnited, it is a lot of work, and a labour of love; I usually roll straight into holiday production mode and life gets a little hectic right until January. Well this year, I have decided to take it a little slowly… and I am thrilled with my decision.
I turned 40 this year, and no.. no midlife crisis, I could not be happier with where I am in life. I simply did a little thinking, and realized that my children (4 & 7) will not be children forever… sometimes we have to look at our priorities and see the big picture. I am fortunate to have this option. I will always be an artist/designer/craftsperson (I couldn’t stop if I tried!) – I carry a lot of titles, but none are as important as ‘Mom’. Being a parent is where it is at! Nothing is more fulfilling. So this year, I am focusing on family.
.. how am I doing that? Well, as I said, the artist in me is pretty hard to stifle. Inspired by the school work of my australian felt-friend Elizabeth Armstrong of FrostFair. I have just come off of an entire week working with my son’s second grade class to produce a wall hanging as part of the Art and Culture Event. An amazing initiative where the school has put aside it’s regular curriculum and dedicated two entire weeks to immersing children in music, poetry, dance, art and more. This Thursday the school will host a ‘Culture Evening’ where all of the work will be presented, I am really looking forward to it. Events such as this, are near and dear to my heart. I have a true belief that the current school model (worldwide) needs an overhaul (or at least a good re-thinking). What was created in an effort to teach a population how to function in an industrial society has neglected to foster the natural creativity in our children – if anything, it suppresses their inherent abilities. Setting aside time for ‘The Arts’ is more valuable than most people realize. Many do not see the big picture.. that the Arts (in all of its variations) fosters creativity (with the body and mind) that can be used in all aspects of life and education. It is creative thinking that sparks the passion that has produced the biggest breakthroughs in science and medicine. Technology?.. where we would be without the creative minds who ‘dreamed big’? Creativity.. it is the future, and if we teach our children that anything is possible… just imagine the possibilities! ok.. I am rambling on. Suffice it to say, I have had a solid week of quality time felting with children, all the while talking to them about how reading and math and the other skills they are learning in school today are all part of what I do as an artist every day. They were amazed… cross-curricular education through art – you just can’t go wrong with it.
If you have not seen the enlightening and humourous talk given by Sir Ken Robinson at TED, about education and creative thinking, make yourself a cup of coffee and watch it. Worth every minute of your time!
– and for the Mom in me.. that week, spent with my son and his friends.. priceless!
Speaking of Moms. As some of you may know, I moved to Norway 10 years ago from Canada to be with the man of my dreams. I never looked back, but have, of course missed the close contact with my family. This year, my mother, who knows all to well how that is (she moved from Australia to Canada when she was 21) will be joining us here in Norway for the entire month of December, it is going to be lovely! An entire month of making presents, baking goodies, spending quality time with my family and enjoying all that life has to offer. I know I made the right decision.
and .. a final note in a somewhat discombobulated post: Remember to buy handmade this holiday season… for ohhh so many reasons ! You can read my post from last year about a Handmade Holiday right here.
EDIT: As per usual, I always have selected works available in studio (most work never gets online) – you can also find items in my online shop, so feel free to contact me if you are looking for something special.
Such a wonderful post, Cynthia. What you say is so, so true. I could say more, but shall leave it at that. I now face the day with some excellent reminders. Hugs from Canada.
What a thoughtful blog post…Such clarity. Calms me just to read this and gives much food for thought. So happy that you’re taking the time to enjoy this season of life with your family (including your mom…how wonderful). Enjoy your baking and all of the fun family events that you have planned.