New world: Guest blog post by Helen Russell
What an interesting few months! As most of us saw the sun set on our current way of life we’ve been left to work out what our new normal is and to maybe question how we’re going to live our lives as we move ahead.
It’s not easy, change can be tricky to navigate even when you relish variety, and when the very bedrock that your world is built on suddenly shifts it can make even the most balanced person feel a little wobbly. If I’m being honest, and this in itself has been difficult to acknowledge at times knowing people are really suffering, this enforced period of ‘rest’ has been just what I personally needed. Yes I’m busier than ever, and that’s not with my creative work just everyday life, but the new ‘busy’ is stuff that is slowly enhancing my life for the better.
Having had some dietary issues over recent years, I’m taking the time to cook everything from scratch so that I’m not caught out by random ingredients. This is something I’ve tried to do in the past but not always ‘had time’ to do. I now know I need to make time!
We’re homeschooling a nearly teen who, although he’s been an absolute star, needs our time and attention both with his school work and in the physical absence of his peers. As a result we are outside far more than we’ve been for years and that is just fine by me. I am slowly becoming fitter, more flexible and calmer mentally. We are lucky to be able to enjoy long local walks, sometimes without seeing a soul, and it’s wonderful to be able to show my child all the nooks and crannies of the landscape that I used to explore when I was his age. As a cricketer he is mourning the season, his team mates, the club house banter and perhaps most importantly the cricket teas all in good spirit. As a mum, I have had my eyes opened to a resilience, maturity and dedication to his training/school work/friendships that I might not have had the honour to witness outside of these strange times.
Amongst all of this, a new life rhythm is growing and little pockets of creative time are beginning to open up before me. More reading time has awakened a hibernating idea of creating a range of tableware based on literature. I started this concept a couple of years ago when I did some limited edition mugs for the Royal Exchange Theatre and the 100 year anniversary of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.
I’ve been toying with the idea of developing the range to include other works ever since but not got around to it. Slowly. slowly these ideas are growing. And that’s what I am most embracing about this time. It can be slow! It always could be, but somewhere over the past few years I got sucked into this trend that seems to have developed across the world where everything has to be immediate and bigger, better and faster. Everything I had moved into a creative job to avoid! I had got to the point where my creative passion had just become another chore and I felt no better off than when I worked in a fast paced economic development role.
So, I’m going back to modelling my time on my favourite programme, The Good Life. I’ll post my work out once a week (I’m not Amazon and never will be). I’m going to produce work as and when I can and want to, not because I feel I have to. I am going to learn to say no, I’m never going to please everyone all of the time so there’s no point trying, and I’m going to make sure I spend more time with the people I love as they are the one’s that often spark my best creative thoughts.
What I think I have done well over the last couple of years is team up with like minded independent businesses to create gift boxes and this is something I’d love to do more of going forward. There’s a even a little sneaky peek here at what might be arriving at Heart Gallery in the not too distant future!
All in all some massive changes taking place. I’m not really sure where I’m going from here, but neither am I worried about knowing. It will be exciting to go with the flow, see how the world adapts and respond as things present themselves. We may be seeing the sun set on our current ways of life, but what a sunset it is and what promise it holds!
Helen Russell 25.05.2020