The benefits of cleaning

So. The end of term has reached us already; 10 whole weeks of non-stop study and learning.  How fast time flies! I decided to take the weekend off completely from thinking about any MA work or what my plans are for the next block of 10 weeks ‘off-site study’.  I’m going to be careful not to misname it a holiday – as I know we are expected to continue working where we can. In taking two days off this weekend, I accidently got distracted by something I don’t do very much of – namely cleaning the house.

All through my childhood I remember my mum doing Christmas Cleaning about this time of year.  Tidying up the house, changing the curtains and getting everything hoovered, dusted and polished ready to see in Christmas and the new year all spick and span. There is something oddly therapeutic in doing a proper clean – recycling or removing unwanted clutter, putting things in their proper place and leaving your house ordered. This must apply just as much to our mental clutter as it does to the random clutter you find piled up about the house. Like a full glass of water, you cannot continue to fill your life with more stuff and not expect the glass to overflow. That is what I have started doing over this first term I think – mental cleaning and letting go of the troubles and stress of my last job, leaving enough space to start refilling the glass again with clean, clear water. There is obviously more to go, but once you begin a difficult process it is easier to keep walking – it is the first and second steps which are always the hardest.

So what have I learnt over this term?

There has been a lot of information thrown at us from all quarters, and still so much to look into each bit to understand it in depth, but I am making in-roads into the subject now.

  • I have found how to translate my research skills into an art & design practice, to the point where I can enjoy the research that I am doing
  • I have found a way into interrogating a research topic which encompasses so much and so many disciplines. The research is guiding the way now though, not the thinking
  • I have found I am still full of doubt of my abilities, and need to learn how to gain more confidence in what I can do
  • I have found that I see people I admire and am fascinated to listen to and others who I don’t get inspired by at all.  This is fine – we do not have to click with everyone and everything.
  • I have found that you must follow your own path – you can be inspired and collaborate with everyone, but you must walk alone.  It doesn’t matter what your colleagues do or don’t do, you direct your own learning.
  • Intent: something made when you know why, what and how, can be so much more powerful than making on the go. Improvisation can still be intentional, but winging it will always show.
  • Just because something is there, it doesn’t mean you have to use it; just because something isn’t in front of you, doesn’t mean you can’t find it

There will always be things you need to develop – personal improvement is a lifelong pursuit – and I have a few which I need to address in the run up to term 2.

  1. Confidence / overcoming doubt
  2. Ensuring things are of high enough technical quality
  3. Reading more craft / design books instead of just focussing on books linked to my proposal
  4. Knowing why I am making each object which is made

All in all, I aspire to these words of poet Vivian Yeiser Laramor: “Tomorrow holds no fears for me, since I have found today.”

ANT xx


2 thoughts on “The benefits of cleaning

    1. Eileen

      That sounds like something we all need – I shall re -read again and again – and find more of Vivian Yeiser Laramor poetry to read


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