Workflows

It’s been very interesting – and more than a little challenging – to begin the process of translating aspects of the creative process into consistent workflows. My background is in administration and management, so a process-orientation has been pretty firmly ingrained by years of experience – but I’m finding myself so completely enthralled by the simple act of creativity that I am resisting structure when it comes to things like inventory, expenses, cost of goods sold, and production. I wholeheartedly understand the value – and importance – of getting into production mode and making things in series to increase efficiency, but my brain is so full of ideas that I can hardly manage to finish one thing before I’m eager to move onto the next.

Fibula Pin Sweater Pin Scarf Pin by Francesca Watson Designs
So photography has suffered – my little photo area in the living room is littered with completed pieces that desperately need to be either cleaned and stored or photographed and listed or both. The software I purchased three months ago to help me get organized with respect to supplies and sales has been unopened (except for an early peek to confirm it worked). It hasn’t helped my focus that I made some major changes in the studio layout – everything is in a different place now, and although I really, really believe all the changes were for the good, it’s going to take me time to get accustomed to them. And then there’s this website, which is gearing up for some major changes – again, all for the good but it’s a project that takes time, thought, and energy.

All this means that while I am genuinely enjoying the unlimited time to be creative (and another huge thank you to my husband for giving me that space and freedom) there’s a looming tsunami of administrative minutiae threatening to overwhelm me if I don’t turn my attention to it very soon. Workflows seem like the most sensible way to keep things orderly in the long term, but I’m not really sure how to tackle it from a creative standpoint – the last thing I want is for jewelry-making to become an administrative exercise. Partly, I think, I’ve been reveling in the genuine pleasure of creating things every day, and taking classes, and tending to my physical and spiritual needs (that’s a whole other post!), but it’s really time to get more disciplined and add a little structure into the mix. I realized this morning that it has been almost three months since I left my job, and that’s long enough to begin raising the bar for myself a little bit. The relaunch of the website seems like a good marker for a new season – and that gives me another week or two to prepare and ponder and experiment a bit more.

Pearl Drop Earrings by Francesca Watson Designs
In some ways, though, I have been working harder than I’ve ever worked in my life. This is entirely new “head space” for me – and eight to ten hours a day in the creative zone, completely alone, is both wonderful and exhausting. I made a very sweet little necklace a few days ago (said with the utmost modesty), but it consists of tiny little garnet squares individually wire-wrapped to one another. It took me about three hours of non-stop, detailed hand work, and I still have the polishing and finishing to do – my hands were so tired at the end of the day! I have everything out on my worktable for a similar piece using pretty blue freshwater pearls, and even though the pearls are larger than the garnets, my hands are so far resisting the mental urgings to get started on it. Sometimes, I have such a hard time getting past some of my usual physical limitations and my morning headache that I just throw in the towel and take a break from everything. The mind is willing, but the body needs rest – and the really interesting thing is recognizing how resentful my mind gets about it. I am beginning to piece together that my grumpy moods most often coincide with days when I’ve been denied time in the studio – or as much time as I’d like – for one reason or another.

So there’s plenty to do – and that’s a really good thing! Nick and I talked through some ideas over the weekend that helped me focus in on the things I need to tackle first, and I’m filled (mostly) with gratitude, contentment, and a sense of peace and hope. God has been leading me through a place of facing things in my life and my heart that need to be rooted out, and has been extraordinarily faithful and loving in equipping me for it. Although they crop up now and again, the old patterns of striving and control mostly seem like they belonged to another person and on the rare instances when they make an appearance they are mere shadows of their former selves. God is good and merciful, and I’m humbled by his patience with me, and I find have no anxiety about what comes next or how our needs will be met. God’s in this, and where he is, all is well.

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