Reflecting wool


I am have been writing all week.  Half of being an artist is making art, the other half is writing.  Writing grants, writing proposals for shows, journaling, responding to emails and updating websites.  And if you teach art we are writing syllabi, course projects, evaluations and assessments. I will note most people do not realize how much writing artists actually have to do.  Okay maybe some artists do not write regularly, but I do.  If you were to open my sketchbook it is mostly words.

Last week I attended an exhibition opening of my work in St. Louis.  This past week I spent hours and hours at the computer typing up my reflections and applying for grants and exhibitions.  I actually enjoy slowing down and looking at the work I just created.  I like dreaming about future projects and partnerships.  Taking a week for reflection is a luxury that doesn’t happen all the time.  I like this word “reflection”.  In academia the word assessment is used for this same process.  Assessment seems so clinical and cold.  Assessment always conjures up numbers and statistics that my mind does not process efficiently.  So I want to make a new movement or change.  I think from here on out we should call assessment, REFLECTION.

In reflection, we can think about the work created, we can think about the comments others have shared, we can think about what was successful and what we could do differently next time, we can make a plan for the future, we can look for collaborators and we can relax and enjoy our accomplishments.  Assessments are cold.  Reflections are warm.  YES from now on I will allow time for reflections after each assignment.

In The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, he suggests identifying your routine.  By identifying the routine, one can become more aware of triggers and rewards.  (I finished listening to this audiobook on one of my many drives to St. Louis this past month.)  As soon as I heard this idea, I carefully and blindly jotted a note in my sketchbook while I was driving and knew this needed to happen when I got home. My reflection this week was a type of identifying my routine.  Identifying my routine documents my work habits, my thoughts while making the work and my life. Reflecting on my life through the process of making and exhibiting this latest work is cathartic.  My life seems more balanced when I am in making art mode.  I exercise every morning, I make art and I make healthy meals.  I leave the safe haven of my home and my life turns chaotic and completely out of balance.  How do people maintain this healthy balance when they leave the house?  Sometimes my life is thrown out of balance when I drive my son to school in the morning.  Maybe everyone struggles with this? Maybe I am being too hard on myself?

So maybe I should always stay at home and never leave?!?!?!  This wouldn’t be such a bad idea, except that our air conditioning just went out and it’s flippin HOT in the house with 100 degree+ weather.  Have you ever touched itchy wool in 100 degree heat?  It’s not pretty.  So yesterday I left to watch a movie in the ice-cold movie theater.  Lucas chose the movie “Shaun the Sheep” and it is sooo relevant to my life right now.  Speaking of itchy wool, Shaun the Sheep was a wonderful claymation movie about a sheep that is tired of the daily habits of the farm.  Shaun tries to take a day off and in an attempt to change his mundane schedule creates havoc and chaos.  All of the sheep and the family dog work hard and are extremely creative to get their schedule back on track at the farm. 

I don’t live on a farm but I am more peaceful and productive when I am at home in my routine.  I have more reflection to do.  I have more bad habits to change.  I will do more reflecting and try to identify routines.  But now I need to leave this HOT house, maybe tomorrow the air conditioning will be fixed, maybe tomorrow I will get back to my healthy routine.  


~ by amyschmierbach on September 8, 2015.

2 Responses to “Reflecting wool”

  1. I too thrive on my routine. When my plans go awry so does my sanity. After having my baby the first two weeks were the hardest. I was so disappointed in my lack of finishes to do list. But part of her joy is and will be teaching me patience and flexibility. I have found it helpful to stay in my healthy routines to ask for and accept help. To tell my husband what I need. To accept help when offered. To allow myself to take two hours off work to "catch up" and feel sane again. It helps!

    • My whole body and mind revolt routine. The only routine I do well is drink coffee in the morning. However I am better at everything when I have a routine. Lucas teaches me so much about patience and flexibility……I need to follow his lead!!!

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