Perhaps I should not be 'posting' during work hours... Here I am at the office, on a Wednesday, a rainy day in July, like so many rainy Wednesdays I've seen since coming to BC. I am already missing the Weekend and working on my leathers, laid out on a dining room table-turned-into-studio.
When you're a starting artist, and frankly, not quite sure where all of this is going, you find yourself all over the place - there's the day-job during the day, there's the craft by night and during weekends, holidays, vacations, instead of family time, etc; friends turn more virtual than real, dates turn into time in 'the same room', floors gather dust and laundry piles up to the ceiling.
Several months into the affair, yet I would not give it up for anything right now, as since I started it, I can feel that my art saves me. While I was traveling and moving around in Lower Mainland, I realize I missed any kind of creative off-load and what was still left of it, was substituted by way too many - disappointing- shopping trips, numerous store re-scans and worthless sale-chasing, as I believed working with mass produced "fashion" will replace actually creating it. I also had depressive episodes once in a while, they would roll in out of the blue, rumble for a week or two - and disappear, like a bad dream - but I was quick to write them off to the S.A.D., till I began to clue in that my S.A.D. was not going away with improvements of weather at all. Something was missing. It's a shame it took me a long time to realize I was neglecting a big part of myself.
Back home I used to play with my mother's sewing patters, pieces of wood, leather and clay. A few years on, made my school graduation dress, as in the early nineties, in Lithuania, it was not an easiest thing to find clothing for tall people. And I noticed early on that the cookie cutter dresses, gowns, jackets and pretty much anything, sold at Chinese and Turkish markets around my home city, did not hit any spot with my taste, or came even close to acceptable, let alone close to personal, close to stylish, close to aspiring. I chose to take different route and make (up for) what was missing. I found great satisfaction in building my own wardrobe of stuff made my me, other local artists with similar beliefs and other quality items that eventually reached the streets of my town in the North of Europe.
My own 'production' came to a halt since I started to actively travel and could not take a sewing machine on trips with me (and why would I subject myself to that?...) But I always missed it, so to fill in the creative needs, I took on photography, some bilingual writing, even scrap-booking (now, that's sad..). And all the jobs or studies I took throughout the years were in one way or another related to arts (except my business degree... lol)...
In Canada, I must admit, I had a harder time adjusting than in other places. My social circle of people was very narrow at first, mostly all work or school related, I lived in various temporary accommodations and soon felt exhausted from moving around, living out of my suitcases and continuosly trying to adjust to other people's house rules, their schedules, attitudes, other people's spaces and lifestyles. Anything undoubtfully "mine", "personal", "my own" is lost once you're a visitor in another country, strange people's homes and lifes. Not only my art, but most of my own life was put onto a back burner, and that shortly caused the depression to be more frequent, last longer, homesickness has on-set, like never before, I struggled with sence of isolation, I missed my friends from back home and other places I've been staying in, I shortly became disinterested in what I was doing in Canada and wanted to get back to my previous life.
As much as I believed that leaving here would fix things, at the same time I felt like I was giving up... I have a couple of plane tickets back to the old world, that I've never used... And there are a few unsuccessful attempts to secretly get to the airport recorded in my bio... I knew I was yet to find my place in Canada that's close to my heart... What helped me - and I would suggest it to all the newcomers - is to disconnect from my previous toxic situations, cut all the unwanted relations, activities and environments; stop it all at once, and start anew.
It was hard at first, but it was worth it. I survived my first years here and finally achieved spiritual - and econimical - liberation. I stopped substituting and focused on the real things, I cut out the people who did not appreciate me, and focused on those who did, and now I am teaching myself to carefully re-build social contacts and make time for more than just work-sleep routine each day.
The art came back naturally, after I was extremely lucky to be given a sewing machine for Christmas last year. My head bounced right back into the creative mode, and several months in I gave up all the uninspiring shopping for things I could not find or afford, my thoughts are now filled not with what's missing, but how can I fill-in the missing pieces; other people like and recognize my work, and that adds a huge sence of meaning to what I do; my depression is at bay and I finally feel at home. I am glad to get my old self back..
So, this bag line, I am developing daily, is an example of what comes naturally. I am thrilled about being able to share it with others - thanks in advance for all interest, and thanks to those carrying my arm candy currently.....