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These last few years have not been easy on anyone, we haven’t seen so much upheaval in the world and our future is as uncertain as it ever was before. We artists strive through this by bringing a relief to the world's rhetoric, bringing light to people's imagination and wonder. We strive to express ourselves, improve our arts and crafts despite self-doubt and cynicism. To bring creations to life hopefully creating beauty, joy, and wonderment to those who spend the time to embrace it. But when one's personal life is in crisis, how do we continue this journey?

To say this year has personally not been an easy one is understatement. I had a bad reaction to the second Covid shot that contributed to having a heart attack (at 40) and on-going shallow breathing health issues. My father also died, and my mum became gravely ill needing two operations. On top of this, we discovered three floors were rotten in her home when I fell through the floor leaving tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damages as well as to injuries to my feet and back. Then my own flat flooded, and all my furniture and most of my art supplies were destroyed. For the past three months, I have had to ‘couch-surf’ at friends while my landlord promises just another week required to make repairs. So how in so much chaos does one continue to create? I know life is not easy for anyone, so I thought I share some things that have helped me through this chaos. Keeping the artist’s creative dream alive

  • Keeping a Visual Diary – Most artists use some form of visual diary. During my time as a vagabond, I have found my brand-new sketch pad that I carry around with me to be a good pick me up in troubled times.

  • Since I'm in different locations and different hospitals, I have tried to draw something each week which provides a sense of accomplishment.

  • Keeping in touch with what inspires my creative side, which for me is being in nature e.g., like going to the beach and getting my hands dirty.

  • Giving back to the Community - Helping the kids out at the Mahurangi East Library to do art on a regular basis.

  • I also find going to see other artists’ art exhibitions inspirational which helps to keep my own art practice going.

  • Looking at my own previous achievements to keep my morale up. For instance, last year I made a bust for Marvellous Mannequins which was auctioned for $2,000 at the Wearable Arts catwalk and this was donated to the local hospice.

  • Watching YouTube videos on art.

Getting any actual creative work done

  • Scheduling the time in, when possible, to work in my studio.

  • Adapting and learning other skills that were possible to do at this time, like making mosaics. Resurrecting old floristry skills kept one creative buzz going when I made School Ball corsages.

  • Working on stuff usually left till later (because I find it kind of boring to do) like website and Instagram.

  • Giving product to my friends to sell at markets when I had no time to attend.

  • Revamping ideas for gallery display.

I thoroughly enjoyed running an awesome Community Project earlier this year and was disappointed that I could not lead this into another follow-up Community Project. My biggest creative hurdles have been these disappointments of not being able to follow through on planned events. I had to accept and learn to let myself off the hook and give myself a break. This realisation was the best thing I could do for myself, lowering my expectations of what I can actually get done during this time and accepting what I could do eventually, helped me the most. Being overwhelmed and creative blockages were easier to face when I accepted the fact that this is just a season and like all seasons, it will pass, and productivity will return.

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