Getting over a major exhibition takes time and something I should really factor into my processes, but of course, I never do. Either I forget about it or assume that this time would be different.
This time was the same as normal. I had put it to the back of my mind and besides, I have so much work to do for the classes I am running I wouldn’t have time for the major low that comes after the high of a successful show. It still happened! It crept up on me last week and suddenly, my work seemed not very good, I felt that sense of being a phoney and not sure where I should be going next.
It happens for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I have been so focussed on one event that afterwards you struggle to refocus, especially if there is nothing as urgent on the agenda. Secondly, there is the exhaustion. For something like the European Patchwork Meeting, I have worked non-stop for months, then travelled, put up the show and spent four very intense days talking all the time to lovely, enthusiastic strangers. When most of my time is spent in the studio alone or in small classes, it is rather different. Thirdly there is all the nervous energy which I have spent worrying about whether the show is going to work, will I be ready on time, what will I wear. I kid you not on the last one! I live in my studio and spend the rest of the time with small(ish) children. Clothes are generally the last thing on my agenda. So I actually have to find sufficient outfits without stains or holes and which say ‘textile artist’. I don’t think it would be such a pressure if I worked in glass! Finally, I arrive home and that’s it. It is hard to gauge if the event was a success in the month afterwards. There are no special emails, I’m not suddenly in massive demand, but often something special will come of it months later. So it all feels rather flat in the immediate aftermath.
Please don’t see this as a complaint about my life – it isn’t. I love being an artist and I love sharing my work through exhibitions and teaching. I sat down to write a totally different blog post, but this is the one that felt right today. I had a fantastic time at the EPM and seem to be climbing out of the trough remarkably quickly this time. The reasons why? I have lots of things lined up, so I can’t really stop fully. Since getting home, I’ve researched Fibonacci and have made appliqué samples for my C&G classes. I have also written three articles. And there are still other things on my list. This has certainly made it easier. I’ve tried to get enough sleep and to keep exercising, something that goes out the window when I get very pressured. I actually scheduled my time before I left, so I don’t need to think too hard about what to do when and that has been very useful too, especially as I tried to be a bit more realistic about how long things take. And I’m trying to make sure I make time to see my family and friends.
So that just leaves two very important tasks to get on with and to schedule in: making more work and lining up some more exhibitions! Long may the cycle continue!