I don't know why I make jewellery. Recently Ive been wishing I was doing something else: Casting about for alternative lives, moving in a cloud of 'what if's?', feeling mired and foggy. Part of this is perhaps the annual February Overwinter syndrome, part of it is the pall cast generally by the imp/3rd child who is completely capable of sleeping through the night but does so only as a hilarious prank/McGuffin/reminder of what you could have. Shes a card generally, but lets not go there. Some of this is to do with a fed- upness with the nature of jewellery as a tangible, product based thing, and some of it is to do with a raft of converging blockades again based around the physical nature of jewellery. The Bio resin I use is no longer available in the UK. I write to websites (that i cant clarify as current) in Germany- hopeful 'Guten Tag!'s' to no response. I found a supplier in France last year and after 15 or so painstaking emails in French, begging a French friend to ring them up, still more chasing, a protracted money order situation as they only accept Le Bleu etc. etc. They finally sold me a litre of Bio resin. I feel exhausted by the process beginning again and they so far have impressively ignored French speaking man ringing them up and a string of emails complete with screen shots of products from their 'selling' website. Not to carp. I feel at an impasse and am searching for alternatives but finding nothing genuinely so non toxic in terms of harm to self and harm to the environment and feel unable to move forward.
January is usually a time for reassessment and alignment. I love the emptiness here and enjoy the process of taking stock, doing accounts- and mostly the space for the ideas. I traditionally order new books and draw and draw. Any studio time I have I spend working on prototypes: Trying, failing, changing, discarding thinking in an unthinking sideways way as I press things together. This year I didn't do any of that, deciding instead that I already had too many strands of new work from the preceding year that needed to be resolved and consolidated before disappearing into the vortex of tangential ideas. I thought I could get a jump on the year. Run the whole thing ahead. Be clear and clean and on top of everything, with perfect workflow in an endless stream of crystalline days.
Aside from the obvious flaw in the plan in that I barely have workdays, and also ending up disorientated and wrong footed from not taking stock and doing usual January things, the biggest problem appears to be a kind of unconscious bodily resistance to my own agenda. I have been mired in illness for the entire month, as have the Children. I have found myself coming into the studio and literally being unable to get on with the jewellery I'm trying to make. A bizarre, heavy refusal. My pregnancy carpal has mysteriously reemerged in silent protest.
I can fall so comfortably into the primacy of a kind of right hand, right brain, right track rushing forward momentum of order and productivity that feels so wholly like the 'right' place to operate from. I resist the becalmed, swilling, nausea inducing periods of loss of direction and movement. I interpret it in terms of the limitation of the jewellery and begin to look up M.A.'s and think it really is time to get back into education. This ripples out across my life: Experiencing where I live equally in terms of limitation rather than expansiveness- Did I really end up in the most under stimulating one horse town in the western world? and so on. It rolls across into my children, or more accurately, their care, and a lowering sense of the extremely part time flexibility being so consuming I can never manage the clear headedness I crave to bring my work to where I want it to go.
A few days ago though, we were all walking together on the wide, beautiful estuary mouth where we live, which is possibly the place I love most in the world. It was perfect and gorgeous in its gloom shrouded openness and the moment of surrender came. I stopped fighting and caved into the process and the understanding that I need to allow yawning, formless time despite having so little. I need to go with the misty gloom of February, and my grand unraveling, no matter how counter intuitive it is to my desire to sort and organise and enact my responsibility as a working parent. The new work, the sea change, and the period of reflection needs to come through, and if it doesn't the existing work won't either. I am at an impasse because I just need to stop. And trust. And do the tangential things (like write this)in the knowledge that nothing may even necessarily come of this gluey fog time, but it is, nevertheless, exactly as it needs to be....