Old year, new year

I have a mixed relationship with New Year’s Resolutions. My mother told me that she always wished for happiness on the basis that everything flows from that and it has taken me 30 years to understand what she meant, and will probably take another 30 years of trying to achieve! On that basis why wish for anything more? It makes having more than that single resolution unnecessary. But…

…I do find lists slightly seductive: my life is shaped by setting goals. Having no faith on which to base anything I have to find a reason to do everything and lists become a fall-back on the days when that is difficult. I tend to chop everything up into bite-sized, one-step-at-a-time pieces and then try to out-do myself by achieving more than a single step at a time, storing up all the extra progress for the days when everything is difficult.

Over the last few years I’ve found it useful to set a few goals for the New Year. In 2008 I started doing a drawing every day; in 2009 I got fed up with being miserable and decided to study being happy over the year which really worked! This year, 2010, was the Year of House-building and I didn’t think I’d have enough energy to anything else… but having achieved that, what will be the focus of 2011?

I think it has to be art. I’m a world-class procrastinator and I’ve been told countless times that I need to be in my studio in order to make anything. So that’s my goal for 2011: to spend MUCH more time in my studio, on the assumption that MANY more hours of creative practice will result in A LOT more work, MUCH MORE of which will be saleable thus achieving the other implicit goal of MAKING SOME MONEY. There are other goals implicit in the idea of spending more time in my studio making art, such as: finally learning how to say no to people who ask me to do things that aren’t directly related to spending more time in my studio, worrying less (ha!), getting less stressed by life, meditating more, learning to live with less, laughing more, spending more time with friends and family… blah, blah, blah. All of which may come if I manage to make more time for art.

Should I define the goal further? I don’t know… I worry about setting unrealistic targets that will set me up for failure. I have got other commitments as well, but looking back at 2010 I think I’ve let some of them take over. Again.


Over the last few days I’ve been making bookcloth from various bits of fabric I’ve been storing up for a while. On the left is a gorgeous cotton sarong fabric from Kuala Lumpur: dearest husband wore the sarong for a while but it ripped too badly for me to be able to fix so it’s getting a second life on some new books I’m concocting… On the right is a piece of vintage linen I picked up in Berrima a year or so ago, hand embroidered with the initial “W”. I think it will also make a lovely book cover… And in the top right hand corner, partially obscured, is the yellow-ochre cotton fabric that lined the linen monogram, which I’ve also turned into book cloth using double-sided fusible interlining and very thin Japanese paper.

4 thoughts on “Old year, new year

  1. Hi Sara – like you I find goals and lists helpful at keeping me on track; but fear the over commitment and stress I can cause myself with setting them too wildly. Sigh. I support your goal of spending more time in the studio 100% – I am convinced that if I am in there, then something will happen even if it's only a tidy up which clears my mind or reminds me of something. Good luck with working out what to do in 2011 – and whatever it is, make sure it involves lots of studio time for making art! Go well, F

  2. Happy New Year, Sara. Lots of food for thought here so I think I'll read it a couple more times and try to take in your sensible advice by osmosis. Your book fabrics are really beautiful.

  3. Sara,
    I can relate to so much of what you've said here! I think there is a secret procrastinator lurking in my persona too. Getting into the studio to make art in 2011 sounds like it will happen. I hope so as I'm still holding out for a view of that fantastic collagraph plate of the horse image you were making. I do so want to see that as a print. Have a great year in your new home…. and studio. Lesley

  4. mmmmm I LOVE love LOVE your book cloth projects…. I think this is going to be a stellar year (I'm happy to share some of my positive energy with you….but I suspect you don't really need it….) I noticed that the public motto (as posted on the yahoo news site) for the year is 'make your mark'….. now that has to be a good omen don't you think?

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