It's definitely time to start a new collection. Last year I feel like I mostly made add ons to the last big project called Flights of Fantasy - that was a long one. It started as a reaction to the Syrian refugee crisis and morphed into talking about displacement and trying to find a new home. In 2020 I have to say there were touches of Pandemic influences started to creep in. I did work on one piece totally about the first lockdown - All Dressed Up and Nowhere To Go, but now I want to break free from that... and don't we all?
Flights of Fantasy, photograph by Paul Lapsley
All Dressed Up and Nowhere To Go - photograph by Paul Lapsley
For most of January I was playing with ideas, a lot of them influenced by mental health issues. The long and short of it for me is to focus on the positive and the things I do have control over, rather than the current never ending uncertainty and all that I cannot control and have no say in. I generally do try to have this outlook, especially so since my best friend and younger sister died in 2017.
I talk to my sister all the time, and feel she is a protecting force with me constantly. So many things happen that remind me of her, and I try to acknowledge them as much as possible. I read a book called The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield in 1995 whilst travelling, and it had a main message not to ignore coincidences, but to notice them. For me this ties in with positive thinking - to acknowledge things that make me happy, that my sister loved, that fill me with joy, even for a moment, and help keep my spirits up.
So now I knew that I wanted this to be an uplifting, effervescent, over the top exuberant collection - full of moments of joy, that can focus my brain on the positives, and block out the negatives. I decided on the name of my next collection - A Chorus of Angels (working title) - they are figures in my life who have particular traits that help me. They will be large glass domed pieces, with figures and animals. Each of the angels have Joys - attributes that make them unique.
There is an Angel who loves animals, one who pulls me together when I'm having a bad day, one who has a wanton side and says just do it, and one who grows and tinkers in the garden, etc. etc. The animal lover Angel shows me ladybirds in the garden, butterflies collecting round the budlia and the amazing starling murmuration when they dance in unison through the sky, and she encourages me to pick up our rabbit and have her snuffle in my ear. These are all her Joys.
Next is how to translate this to actual creations. That's where the next coincidence popped up. Scrolling through Instagram I came across The 100 Day Project, and decided that posting a Joy a day for 100 days, along with an image of that Joy would help cement the collection in my own mind, and introduce it to my audience.
Joy of Growing, Joy of Knowing Someone Special, Joy of Company
The 100 Day Project is a great incentive to post daily on social media, helps to provide a momentum to your project, whatever that is, and is rule free. It is an initiative to use in the best way for you. It can be play, practice, or produce, and the 100 days don't have to be consecutive - but they also can be. If you miss a day, so what? Its about being manageable for you, and I think that's why it appeals. The idea is that for 5-10 minutes a day you do something creative. Obviously I spend more time than that, but that is about the time it takes to post to social media anyway. I'm adding the 100 days as a highlight to my instagram page, so I can see a daily account of my Army of Joys.
All the pieces in the collection will be available for purchase from my shop from mid March, although I may have a little pre collection sale, if the making goes well!