TIME.... What did I do with my time before I had children? I find nowadays I can get more done in half a day in the studio than a day in the studio before I had my daughter, June. This is probably a really good thing for my printmaking practice - I find I have to be a lot more organised and prioritising tasks is key to making deadlines.
I'll be totally transparent with you here, my husband completely supports me - both financially and emotionally with the career path I have chosen as a working artist. In return I completely support him in his career, which in itself is no easy path. We are a military family which means moving around the country more times than I would like, and long deployments where I am temporarily solo parenting.
We are currently about 3 weeks into a 3.5 month deployment, the first since I have gone back to work. Luckily we have managed to find a childminder for June two days a week, which is what we can afford with our combined income. But also this is what we are happy with, I love spending time with June and personally think it's important I can do so while she is young and not in full time education. So that's it, that's all I get, TWO DAYS. Not counting the evenings I have enough energy to get back into the studio and do some carving or admin.
At this point in my career, it's no money maker. I am constantly chasing the goal whether that is posting reels on social media or contacting potential clients for a commission. It can be quite soul destroying when all you want to do is make the art but first you have to document every aspect of it for the gram... I think I probably do a lot more than what you see online, but having the time and energy to post it all is so hard.
I don't want this to come across as negative, I completely love what I do, and for the first time in a long time it seems to be working well.
A typical 'working day' for me... we get up when June wakes up - more often than not this is before 6am (ouch) but today for example she got herself back to sleep till after 7. I get us both dressed and fed for the day, not forgetting Wilson* of course he needs fed at 7am, not a minute later. I take June to the childminder and usually get back in the studio for 9am. If I am really organised I have written a list of things that need done that week and I always prioritise open orders first over a cup of tea.
Next I print! This is the best part because I love printing. I love cutting the paper, mixing the ink colour, prepping the block, everything. I can pop on music or a good podcast and just go for it. It's always good to get the printing done at the beginning of the day because there, you've achieved something. And deserve a tea and biscuit.
Then I get to commissions, either replying to emails and queries or carving new blocks ready to print. My next blog will focus on a new commission for a friend's home! Another tea and biscuit.
By the time I know it, it's time to pick up June. I usually wizz around the house with the hoover and nip to the shop on the way to get anything we need. At the moment, June needs a nap when she comes home so sometimes I can squeeze in some more work before dinner. But I never like to rely on that because she is a one year old and they have their own ideas on naps. Make tea, goes cold.
At the stage in my life, I see a lot of artists I follow and admire having children and can't wait to see how we all change an adapt to that new life. It's so huge that you can't ever imagine anything being bigger than being a mum. Please, if you have tips and advice SHARE. Either comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Wilson is our gorgeous black labrador.
- Summer with June, an image from instagram segment 'what June Says'
- My home printmaking studio