I was bent over the outdoor wash trough wearing industrial rubber gloves and washing resist paste off my fabric in FREEZING cold water as it SNOWED on a SUNDAY and thinking, “how did it come to this?!”ある日曜日、雪が降っていて、教室の外で凍りそうな水に生地を洗っていたところに、「こうゆう作業状況って何なん〜!」と泣きたくて思った。

even the industrial rubber gloves were feeling a bit thin that day. 雪が降っている間、外での水洗い
Why do I always end up finishing things at the last minute? Sometimes it’s even after the last minute, getting extensions, being a pain and asking for allowances. Why do I end up giving up every free day and every waking moment to go to School and work on these artworks? Why do I end up cancelling on friends and putting off social occasions to do this?

Of all the days for it to snow on campus..wash day! 雪の京都精華大学キャンパス
Well, partly it’s because I love what I’m doing. I’m excited to make new works, so I do it. But the pace of that making has been overwhelming this past year and I figured out that there’s a few reasons for that. 
One reason would be the university artwork deadlines, which were set arbitrarily and out of my control. 

Another is that I did too much yes-ing: agreeing to take on too many things outside of school; jobs, exhibitions, applications…

Combine that with taking a too-perfect approach to everything, whereby only the most time consuming effort is good enough…

Then add to that a decent dose of procrastination.

All in all it was a recipe for becoming a manic artwork-producing machine.



最後に、procrastination!! やらないといけないこと以外のぜーんぶをやって、やらなきゃとおもいながら、やらない。っていうのが上手!

2014 was an incredible year. This shot is from a show I was in with my 2 fellow Textiles Masters students in Kyoto in July. 2014年7月、ギャラリーマロニエでの展示
Don’t get me wrong. Last year was incredibly rewarding and exciting and I grew a lot as an artist. That growth is something I could only have gained through all those different opportunities. But there is definitely a point where the benefits are outweighed by the physical and emotional stress brought on by such ridiculous, back-to-back deadlines.
I have this quote hung in my kitchen from a young designer called Imai-san who works in the Chiso yuzen kimono company. He comes to speak at Kyoto Seika regularly as part of a course that introduces students to the many different traditional craft companies in Kyoto (kimono, bamboo, paper, lacquer etc). When I saw him speak in 2012 he gave out a great handout that included these words

“The essentials for creativity are seeing, experiencing, studying and enjoying as many different things as you can. All those things enrich your sensitivity…
Achieving your goal: It’s important to have a strong belief in yourself and hold firm. You need toughness and gusto to accomplish what you want without being influenced by your surrounds…”

“クリエーションに必要なことは、できるだけ多くの物を見たり、体験したり、勉強したり、また遊んだり、そんないろんなことで自分自身の感性を豊かにしていく…目的を達成する: 自分自身の信念を強くもち、ブレないことが大切です。そして環境に左右されず、やり遂げるタフさやたくましさが必要です。”

It’s so true. Notice that he emphasizes the importance of play and seeing many different things. When tight deadlines force out that time for play, we lose chances to think new things, to get more creative ideas and probably, paradoxically, to be more productive.

perfecting swift parrots? Sketches upon sketches. オトメインコのクロッキー
Will I ever get that balance though? Probably not. Since perfectionism and procrastination are part of my personality, I don’t think I’ll ever be someone who finishes early.  I’ve found the idea of just doing “good enough” has been helpful in getting me over some perfectionist hurdles though: ask yourself, what would I do right now if this didn’t need to be perfect? If I could just do “good enough” right now, what would that be? and then try and do that.

Like I said, I’m not regretting any of the experiences I had in 2014 though. I am also glad I made it through it all because now I am part of this huge panel-selected exhibition starting Sat 24th January at the Kyoto Musem! Flyers are on the trains and in department stores and everywhere! It’s part of a string of events to take place throughout 2015 to mark the 400th anniversary of the Rinpa School of Japanese Painting and features about 40 young artists who base themselves in Kyoto. It’s opening on the weekend and I’m super excited!
See more details here and here. Also come along to the artist’s talk on the 7th of February to hear me stumble through 5 minutes in Japanese!

sneak peek at the work “Floriferous” I’m showing as part of the Kyoto Museum show.

2014年、色々頑張って良かったと思うのは、こういうステキな展覧会に選抜されたこと!京都文化博物館で「琳派400年記念 新鋭選抜展」は約40人の作家による展覧会。この週末から開催されていて、ワクワクしています!ちなみに、2月7日のアーティストトークで5分ぐらい喋るので、京都に居る方、ぜひ応援しに来てくださいね!詳しい情報はここから

More to come soon too on my graduation artwork which is THIS CLOSE to being finished! もうちょいだけで終わる修了作品についても近々にアップしますので楽しみにしてください!

Eeep! Graduation will be here before you know it!