MATS Bootcamp: Wabi Sabi

 

During April for MATS Bootcamp we were asked to create a magazine illustration that could sit alongside a magazine article written by Beth Kempton the topic of Wabi Sabi.

Wabi Sabi is a Japanese view that nothing is perfect, everything changes, that that’s OK – and in fact there is beauty to be found in that imperfection. Beth’s article, which was an extract from her book Wabi Sabi:Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life, focused on how it’s helpful to accept change in order to be more resilient when change inevitably occurs.

It took me a long time to work out what I was going to draw for this assignment but in the end I decided to illustrate the bamboo that Beth referenced in her article. I also came across lots of examples of cyanotype photography online, which inspired the textured background and white leaves.

I don’t know if it was coincidental or not but around the time I made this illustration I kept coming across quotes and articles about accepting imperfection, including a quote from Stephen Hawking, which was on the front cover of Flow Magazine (issue 29). I think maybe this was something I needed to be reminded of and it was helpful to have it reinforced.

There’s one more assignment for MATS Bootcamp but in the spirit of being comfortable with imperfection, I’ve decided to give myself permission to skip that one and continue focusing on my current 100 Day Project, which you can follow along with on Instagram.

In letting this go I feel like I’ve given myself some space to think about and plan the next pieces of work I want to make. Is there something you can let go of that would help create space, either physically or mentally?

2018 in Pictures

At the end of last year (and at least once before) I’ve shared a series of 12 photos – one from each month of the previous year. Here’s my selection from 2018.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Looking back through photos and choosing your favourites from each month is a nice way to remind yourself of what you’ve done, where you’ve been and how things have changed. Sometimes it sparks ideas of things you might want to do more of in the coming year. I purposely chose images that weren’t things that I’d drawn, as a way of stepping back from my sketchbook and looking at the bigger picture.

Could you scroll back through your photos from this year and choose a favourite (or 12)? What are they? Are there any pictures that you’d forgotten about?

2017 in Pictures

I remembered the other day that at least once in the past I’ve created a blog post at this time of year showing a photo from each month as a sort of review. Although I haven’t made much time this year just for taking photographs I still had a lot on my phone and in my camera so I thought I’d share one from each month – most of which I haven’t shared before –  to round off the year.

There’s also a little update at the end of this post so don’t miss that!

January

Emirates Airline January 2017

February

Barbican Centre February 2017

March

Barbican March 2017

April

Squirrel April 2017

May

County Hall May 2017

June

St Dunstan in the East June 2017

July

Liberty of London July 2017

August

Rose August 2017

September

Gothenburg September 2017

October

Still Life Copenhagen October 2017

November

St Paul's One New Change November 2017

December

Wentworth Park December 2017

From midnight tonight (New Year’s Eve 2017) there’s going to be a big sale in my Etsy shop. Everything’s included apart from digital downloads, so the special deals I’m already offering on prints and cards will be discounted even further.

I won’t be replacing anything that sells out because I’m planning on creating some brand new products for my shop in 2018. You can bookmark your favourites before January 1st to make it easier to find them once the sale begins.

How I’m Experimenting With Scheduled Rest

Planner

Over the past few months my energy levels have been quite up and down. Every so often I feel like they’ve stabilised but after a week or two I have another slump. Earlier in the year I realised that one reason for this was my 100 Days of Hand Lettering project.

I worked on 100 Days of Patterns last year with no problems but this year I didn’t set any boundaries for my project, which resulted in me trying to create a finished (often digitised) piece of work every single day.

That would have been exhausting for anyone but it’s a really bad thing to do when you live with a chronic illness that limits your energy. I was planning my weeks and making sure I only did 1-3 things each day but sometimes just one of those things would take hours to complete and I wasn’t taking that into account.

So from this week I’m doing 2 new things:

  1. Planning my days in 1 hours chunks of time
  2. Including rest time in my plan

One hour chunks seem like an easy way to divide up the day, and it might be that some things that I do don’t take a full hour. But it creates a bit of breathing space so my plan doesn’t feel too regimented. So I might put ‘drawing’ into one chunk of my day but only spend 20 minutes drawing, giving me the rest of that hour to potter or pack my art materials away. I’m working on the assumption that things will take much longer than I might assume and creating room for that.

Something that I’m not very good about including in my days is rest. Now and again when I feel tired I’ll decide on the spur of the moment to take a nap but I don’t take pre-emptive rest. In other words, I don’t rest as a way to avoid overdoing things, but only when I feel like I’ve already done too much.

So my focus this week is to schedule (and take) one hour of rest every single day. That might be a nap, sitting down with my feet up, doing some very gentle restorative yoga (lying down) or something else that allows me to take a break and relax. 2 boundaries I’ve set for myself with this are:

  1. My rest has to be for at least 1 hour
  2. It cannot involve any screen time – so no watching Netflix, or scrolling through stuff on my phone.

I’ll re-assess things at the end of this week and see what worked well and what could be improved. Right now I don’t have a planner so I wrote down all the things I want to do in my notebook and then created a wall chart for the week.

Scheduled rests feel like a good way to take better care of myself right now. Rather than trying to produce as much work as I possibly can, I’m focusing on trying to keep myself as well as I possibly can so that I’m able to live and produce work in a healthier, more sustainable way.

What could you do to take better care of yourself this week?