It’s a blizzard here in Seattle. For real. But I’ve been super productive this week despite the weather. Sorry for the brief post, but I gotta get my pj’s on and make some hot chocolate like right now.
Hey everyone, I’ve had an incredible couple of weeks.
At the end of last year, I decided to leave my job at Seattle Engraving Center, and move back into my old shared jewelry studio in the International District. I really missed having the freedom and ability to be there whenever I wanted, make whatever I wanted, and not feel tied down to an employer’s schedule. I missed my friends there and the funky old building, and the convenience of having my own space.
Two weeks ago I moved all my equipment into my new/old studio. This week my dad helped me build a huge new setting/engraving bench for me, and I set up all my tools and equipment. I went to Ikea and bought some drawers and organizational stuff and set it all up. Yesterday I was able to really get started working and it felt so, so good. The last major thing I want to do is put up shelves, so I can have all my tools and materials stored conveniently above me, or in the drawers under my bench. This year, I’m getting organized and want to look and feel as professional as I can. Having a really nice studio set up will really help. Huge thanks to my dad who’s always there for me, loves building things, and was probably more excited about making this bench than I was. I’m so lucky.
It felt so good to set up my microscope (after not having it for a few weeks), and all my other power tools. When I was drawing up the bench I knew I wanted it to be big, but I didn’t realize quite how big it would turn out. It’s truly amazing. So much space to spread out on, and nothing falling off the edges or getting piled under things. Exactly what I needed.
New Years Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. I know it’s just another day, but it symbolizes a lot to me. It’s a chance to refresh everything in my life and say goodbye to the previous year. It’s just an arbitrary day, but it’s full of opportunities. I usually try to do something fun and relaxing on the actual holiday, but I spend the next few days getting organized, planning out my year, and setting goals for myself.
I’ve never been one to make new years resolutions, but for the past few years I’ve been choosing a word for the year. It’s not a goal or a mantra or an affirmation. It’s just a word. But words are powerful and hold a lot of meaning for me. I don’t really like to share them, but here goes. My word last year was generous. I tried to do my best to be generous with my time, energy, and money. I tried to say yes to as many things as I could. It worked out pretty well. At times I was spread pretty thin, but I feel like I accomplished great things.
This year my word is satisfied. I want to feel more satisfied in the things that I make especially. And the choices I make, and the things and people I have in my life. I have super high standards and I want to be more okay with not always hitting those standards. Of course I’m not going to give up my standards or try less hard, just try to be more okay with myself where I am. That’s all. Satisfied.
Of course, I do set goals for myself and my business. But first, I take some time and think over the last year and write down everything I’ve accomplished, big and small, personal and business. I take this pretty seriously because throughout the year I get stressed out and put a lot of pressure on myself, and tend to forget to celebrate my accomplishments. I lived on my own and supported myself all year for the first time ever. I had my work in 7 shows, won a grant and an award, traveled to 2 different continents, did 3 bike races, and ran 2 half marathons. I did all that last year.
After I write down all my accomplishments, I write down all my goals for the coming year. I get really specific with them, categorize them, and set deadlines for them if applicable. I go over my finances for the last year, create a new budget, and set monthly goals for my business.
Two of my favorite things do to are make to-do lists, and then cross things off them. At the beginning of the year I make a weekly to-do list and plan out everything. Blog posts, newsletters, marketing plans, exhibition applications, bills, taxes, budgeting. Everything goes on the list at regular intervals so I (hopefully) never forget to do something important and have to do the last-minute-scramble. I love being able to cross things off, even if they’re easy tasks.
I love calendaring. I make a very detailed weekly schedule. It includes sleep, exercise, meals, and of course my admin and studio time. I give myself specific admin tasks for each day and write them on my schedule before hand, so I don’t have to sit in front of my computer wondering what I should work on. I like to get the most import things done first. As for studio time, I give myself the morning to finish orders, repairs, and work for other jewelers, and then I give myself the afternoon to play and be creative. This creative time is my reason for being self employed. I enjoy working for and with other people, but I’m very independent and don’t like to adhere to other people’s schedules. I need my own time and space and rules to feel creative and satisfied. I need to be making things for myself and for art. I need to make things I love and am proud of. Being able to create my own schedule is so important for me.
Before I start any work, I throughly clean my apartment and studio. I go through all my paperwork and supplies, and inventory all my finished pieces. This way, I know where I’m starting from and don’t have any clutter in my way. I print out all my goals, lists, and schedules, and tape them to my wall. This year I actually moved my studio from the shop I was working at back into a shared jewelry studio.
I’m so excited to unpack, organize, and get creative this year. I’m going to do my best to feel satisfied. Happy new year!
Wow, what a year.
Although I’ve had my ups and downs, overall I had a really great year. I feel like I’ve grown as a person and as an artist. I’ve accomplished a lot in my personal life, such as moving into an apartment on my own for the first time. And I’ve accomplished a lot in my business, like showing my work in several gallery shows, and winning the SMG/Pratt grant. I feel more confident in my skills and my artistic voice. I have more of a sense of what I want to explore in the coming months, and more courage to say no to opportunities that aren’t perfect.
I feel so grateful to all my friends and family who supported me this year. Thank you for coming out to my shows. Thank you for buying my work. Thank you for the opportunities to do what I love. Thank you for being there when I needed to vent. Thank you for all the advice, guidance, patience, and gifts.
I am so lucky that I get to do what I love every day. I try to never take that for granted.
Here are some highlights from what I’ve done this year