25.11.20

The soup of life

 

Another early start for me at 7am and while I am shovelling down my first coffee of the day, I thought I’d take advantage of the dark morning to write to my friends and readers here. The last few weeks have been what seems like an insurmountable challenge to get my depleted Etsy shop updated and restocked - lots of things that I have made over the last couple of years and not listed for sale, lots of new work. My anxiety has previously tied me up in knots over how to put work for sale out there without imposing upon people. This is something I’ve always struggled with, but it had become worse over the last few years. Funnily enough, now that I have my life to myself again, I find that much of my anxiety (despite my circumstances) has dissipated. So I’ve been sorting out  pieces that I made and never shown, all of which needed photographing, such as these little rocking horses that I made in Spring 2019. And to my surprise, things are selling.  


After shutting my shop during lockdown, I am at last getting my wools back on sale. They were due for a packaging make over and so each colour has to be re-photographed. This time I wanted to do it properly, instead of the rather prosaic shots I took back in 2013, so I set a theme of a piece of vintage china/ pottery with a crumpled linen backdrop, which has worked nicely. There are roughly 45 wool colours to photograph, when the light in the morning is good enough. 


With all the other things I’m trying to organise, it means that my studio floor has become a melange of wool and various props, and I am still in the middle of all this, putting kits together and working out how much more wool I need to buy in and how much I can just about afford. (You can see the path I’ve made here, from the door to my desk). 


When it gets too cold and dark for me to carry on in my studio, I take my work tray to to bed and make the most of the rest of the day. Sometimes there is cake. I have so many little things to finish off in time for the Christmas season, but I’m not sure if I can do it (the reason why being near the end of this post). 


I’ve been absent from this blog, as I try to cram what was supposed to be a more gradually paced process into a few weeks rather than a few months. After the initial shock of Joe’s unexpected ‘daylight flit’ has worn off, I have slowly realised the enormity of what he’s done and how coldly uncaring his selfish actions were, without the slightest concern for my feelings or the life we’d built together. Which I thought we both enjoyed. There are a few more details on his side that I won’t go into - it’s too private and not my concern anymore. I still cannot believe what a mess he’s made of both our lives.

I’m usually too busy to dwell on it though and I am finding that apart from the constant worry of trying to quadruple my income in the space of three months, I’m actually ok. I have always been comfortable with my own space, I love being on Instagram every day and chatting to people and I have my dear little old bear Rupert for company. What more could I possibly want? 


Which  brings me to the final herb to be thrown into the messy soup of my life. My next (second) needle felt book. This all started back in the halcyon pre-Covid days before the first U.K. lockdown and I’ve had to wait for months to see if it was even going ahead. All the details were sorted out just before Joe did his vanishing act and I’ve been so busy with all of the above that I have only just started the pattern shooting. I’m not able to reveal too much at this point, save that I am working with two amazing like-minded women (my editor and art director) with whom I’ve worked with before. It’s going to be something a bit different and rather beautiful. 


I have twenty patterns to shoot and make samples for, as well as all the writing and supporting photographs, with an April deadline. My problem is juggling all  the things I have to do and make to earn enough to survive every month, with the enormous amount of work involved in putting a book together. (There are only so many hours in the day, no matter how early I start).  

It won’t be published until later in 2021, and then it should be a huge boost to my career. I hope to be able to get enough new custom from the publicity to keep the cottage going. That’s the plan. My problem - and what is tying me in panicked knots - is whether I can manage to get to that point before I have to sell up.  So if you are reading this and have bought anything from me, whether it be craft materials, art, prints, cards, needle felt work, kits, Patreon support, Zoom workshops - everything large or small - thank you. You are literally helping me to keep the roof over my head, because I’ve just about managed to make the mortgage for the last three months, without Joe’s help. And I feel quietly proud about that. 



11 comments:

Karen said...

As someone who also deals with anxiety, I'm not surprised that your anxiety has lessened since being alone. Being the only person who makes noise, moves things around, and determines the order of things eliminates a great deal of ambient noise and puts more control in your hands -- control which soothes the anxiety some.

I'm glad you are feeling proud. For what it's worth, I am proud of you too. 🙂

Twiglet said...

You deserve to be rightly proud of yourself. Enjoy the stress-free areas of your life and the energy for other projects will blossom. Just popping over to Etsy for a little snoop! xx Jo

Tiffany D. Davidson said...

Gretel this is wonderful news about the book! Your steadfast love of needle felting and persistence in the art has paid off and good fortune comes. Well-deserved! Sorry to hear of this vanishing act. Ah, we humans can be strange and difficult can't we? *hugs* your way and very much looking forward to seeing your creations to come...

Caroline B said...

You can do this - you ARE doing this! Congratulations on the book!

Country Rabbit said...

your makes are really detailed and so unique and beautiful,
like you i have an etsy shop, but since both covid lock downs ive felt deep anxiety about opening again, almost a worry ive lost my confidence in the selling of my art work, prints...although im chatty and do love people i would say im more somebody that spends more time alone than with friends or family...i do tuck myself away in my little shell from time to time when things are building up and getting too much...this year has been so hard for many i know...and im so lucky with what i have but there are days im so introvert...
good luck with your shop and making...sorry i dont always comment ive followed you for years and this post really spoke to me this morning in the way id been feeling,
kazzy ;)

Granny Sue said...

You are really busy! All good things in your life right now, even if a bit stress-producing. I'm pulling for you, Gretel. Why not put a Patreon link here on your blog somewhere, so those who might want to support you can find it easily? Just a thought.

gz said...

Hi, from one of Dru's blog readers.
Beautiful work..onwards and upwards!
All the best x

Sheila said...

Oh my goodness, I admire you so much. With all you’ve been through it would be so easy to just give up. Keep fighting, you will find your own happiness.
Sheila x

School on the Heath said...

Love and very best wishes Gretel

Lyn said...

Gretel I wish you a happy and healthy 2021, as a long time reader of your blog (although not as often as I would like) I know you are strong enough to get through this. Best wishes for the new year xxx

Puddock said...

Just to wish you happy new year, Gretel, and hope that all is well. 2020 was a pig of a year but 2021 WILL be better. Hugs