Crazy Ass Projects

I refer to myself as The Queen Of Procrastination.

I know, I know, it's not a very sensible self-fulfilling prophecy to land myself with. Pretty blooming accurate though!

I've got a crown and everything!
I've got a crown and everything!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the years, I've learnt that procrastination can have many causes. I was reminded recently that fear can be a big one.

In December, I swapped webhosts for 365 Jars because the original host was overpriced and since the site is basically now an archive, it seemed crazy to be spending so much on it.

I backed up the site onto my computer, bought new hosting, cancelled the original hosting and then... froze. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Every time I opened the new hosting site to install the site, I completely panicked and shut it down again. One time I actually burst into hysterical sobs. I realised that I was blocked by the sheer terror that something might have gone wrong with the backing up process and what would I do if I'd lost more than a years-worth of work? [Apparently in my terror, I had completely forgotten or discounted the fact that The Wayback Machine exists.]

Knowing what was wrong didn't really help: I still couldn't make myself get over the fear and do it anyway.

I finally got myself unblocked by approaching it sideways. In my other role as President of Hebden Bridge WI, I wanted us to have a better website because Blogger's weird formatting issues was driving me nuts. So I've spent the last couple of days replacing this with this. Much better, yes?

Having transferred one website to a new WordPress blog, I realised it was absolutely ridiculous to be afraid of transferring 365 Jars. So this afternoon, I made myself tackle it. And of course - like so many things that we get ourselves in a tizzy about - it was a complete doddle. It took longer to find a decent theme than it did to install WordPress and get the backup working. I'm left wondering what took me so long whilst simultaneously being a bit wibbly with relief that it's OK.

Anyway, that's a long winded way of saying that 365 Jars is back up again.

What are you stuck on this week? Is there a way you could approach it sideways?

Oh, and a friendly reminder - back up your website(s). And your computer. You'd be gutted if that stuff disappeared into the ether.

2 Comments

During the summer my occasional art assistant, The Wonderful Z, helped me get my studio up and running.

I'd already carved out a studio area in my bedroom but because it hadn't been organised properly, it had devolved into a dumping ground. So we decluttered, moved furniture around and made sure that I had everything I needed within easy reach. Although I'm still very unwell, it's made a huge difference and my productivity has markedly increased.

Before:

Studio before
Studio before: Kirsty Hall, July 2013

After:

Studio after
Studio after: Kirsty Hall, July 2013

The Wonderful Z also installed a pole and hung Pelt, a pin piece that I started work on way back in 2007. It's been in storage for two years due to the house sale and move, so it was lovely to see it again.

Here's how it looked when we unwrapped it...

Pelt in progress 01
Pelt in progress: Kirsty Hall, July 2013

And here it is now...

Pelt in progress 04
Pelt in progress: Kirsty Hall, August 2013

Despite my poor health, I've been working on it slowly but steadily, mostly whilst listening to the excellent Talking Walking podcast. It may not look like much progress, but I'm happy with how it's coming along.

I'm going to cover ALL the fabric with pins. I did consider leaving some areas blank because I'm enjoying its present map-like quality but I started the piece with the intention of entirely covering it and I've decided to stick with that idea. Besides, I can always make another one if I decide I want a map related piece.

Pelt in progress 02
Pelt close up: Kirsty Hall, August 2013

Ideally I'd like to get it finished this year but that's probably unrealistic because I can only do between 20 minutes and an hour before I get too tired and sore to continue. An hour's work is a couple of square inches so there's a lot of hours to go. The trick with a time-intensive piece like this is to concentrate on what you've done and not worry about all the work still to come. I just take it one pin at a time.

Pelt in progress 03
Pelt close up: Kirsty Hall, August 2013

Right, that's enough blethering from me, I'm off to do some more pinning!


You know that thing where you're so deeply involved in something that you completely miss the obvious? Well, I've been helping to organise an art exhibition in the shop windows of Hebden Bridge with the Hebden Bridge WI Rag Market. And I was just wondering how I could get more submissions for it when I realised that I hadn't mentioned it here. Well duh!

So here are the details:

Applications are requested for an exhibition taking place as part of the Hebden Bridge WI Sensational Summer Rag Market.

Shortlisted entries will be exhibited in shop windows in Hebden Bridge in July 2013.

Hebden Bridge WI Rag Market

The theme of the exhibition is 'Haberdashery' and this can be interpreted through any form of creative art. Most creative art forms will be considered including craft, textile art, sculptures, paintings, photography, print, drawings, jewellery and fashion. Unfortunately we cannot include video or performance art.

The space available in local shop windows to display your finished piece will be no larger than 50cm square so please bear this in mind when choosing your medium and creating your design; small really can be beautiful too!

This Competition is open to anyone over the age of 18 and Alison Bartram, owner of Heart Gallery in Hebden Bridge, is delighted to have been asked to come along and choose an overall winner. This winner will have the opportunity of working with Alison in the future to create either a 'one-off' commission piece for Heart Gallery or a collection of work to showcase. Heart Gallery prides itself on supporting, nurturing and promoting independent artists and craftspeople; particularly local makers.

There are no entry fees for this exhibition but artists are responsible for delivering their own work. The deadline for proposals is 1st June 2013 and finished work must arrive no later than Monday 24th June. For more information, or to send images of your work & details of your proposal, please email kirstymhall@gmail.com.

If you're interested, email me with your submission proposal or comment on here. I am easy to talk to and happy to help if you have any questions. And if you know any artists whose work might suit, please pass it on.

The Rag Market itself takes place on the weekend of 13th and 14th July in the Hebden Bridge town Hall and I will be performing my Pin Ritual piece at various times during the weekend.

So if you're local, please do come along. It's always very popular and the money we raise goes to fund an education bursary for WI members. For more information, visit our facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

12 Comments

Hi there, my lovelies.

As regular readers know, I'm currently hugely busy over on 365 Jars and it's basically eating my life. The project takes at least 2 or 3 hours most days and it's often far more. When I started, I honestly thought I could work it around the other things that I had planned for this year but three months in, it's obvious that I was monumentally wrong about that.

I knew it would be a lot of work but I honestly had no idea quite how all-encompassing it was going to be. That's partly because it took off instantly, so I never got the gentle 'I'll just get up to speed while no one is looking' period that I was expecting. But I also drastically underestimated how much admin it would require. When I was planning it, I sensibly accounted for the making and the walking but stupidly didn't think about the time needed to answer comments and emails, promote it, manage the required databases and all the photo editing and blogging. Let this be a lesson to you, my dears, the hidden work is still work!

365 Jars is an epic project that deserves my full attention and rather than attempting to do lots of other things in a half-assed fashion, I've decided to make a few changes to free up time and energy so that I can concentrate on it.


The art shop

Firstly, I am closing down my Big Cartel shop completely. It's costing me money to run and I'm just not selling enough to justify that expense. More importantly, I don't have the time to make and add new stock and do the constant promotion that an online shop requires.

Rather than having it mouldering away unloved, I'm shutting the shop on Thursday 31st March at 9pm GMT and I'm discounting the existing stock, so you've got two days to get an art bargain.

Smaller drawings like this one are now only £30:

Pencil + gesso 05
Kirsty Hall: pencil & gesso drawing

While the larger drawings are reduced from £75 to £50:


Kirsty Hall: pencil & ink drawing

These are all original, one-off drawings and the price includes postage. It's possible that I may try selling my artwork online again at some point but it definitely won't be with these particular drawings, so you've only got two days to snap them up and then they're gone for good.

If you're desperate for one but can't afford it right now, let me know and we'll work something out.


The business stuff

I have taken down the Artist's Eyeballs. It was an interesting experiment but they proved to be far too much work for the amount of money that I felt I could charge for them. I also didn't enjoy doing them enough - they felt like a struggle. It's possible that they may return in a different form in the future but for now, they are no more. If you've bought one and not yet received it, please don't worry, I've not forgotten about you - I'll be emailing you all personally this week to discuss timescales and options.

It's extremely unlikely that I will be offering any new products or services until next year and I may not continue working in this area in the long-term. But for now you can still hire me to help you work out your internet strategy because I'm continuing to offer Internet Hand-holding consulting. I've also taken this opportunity to slightly lower the price of consulting from £70 to £60. I know people say that you should never lower your prices but it was obvious to me that £70 was too high for my particular client base. Yes, I could go looking for a wealthier client base but other artists are the people that I'm still passionate about helping.

I am also still available for paid talks in the UK, so if you represent a college or an artists' group who need a talk on blogging, social media or the internet, please get in touch.


This blog

I will still be blogging on this site but it is going to be infrequent. However, I definitely don't want this blog to die for a year while I blog like a crazed weasel over on 365 Jars, so I'm considering options like Audioboo, more round-up posts and short videos.


Artist Arse Kicking

I haven't completely decided what's happening with Artist Arse Kicking but I definitely won't be opening it as a monthly subscription art club until early next year. It's obvious that I can't offer people my full attention right now and it would be unfair to charge for something that I can't deliver well. I am still very excited about it though and it will definitely happen once the jars are done.

I would like to do something with the site this year but I don't quite know what. I may ask for guest posters or just post inspiring stuff that I find around the web. I'd like to get some energy and community going over there. Suggestions gratefully received.


OK, that's it for now. Don't forget that you've got until Thursday at 9pm to buy my drawings before the shop closes.


39 Comments

Woah, there goes another tumbleweed bowling past.

A Good One
Creative Commons License photo credit: Claire L. Evans

Yes, sorry about the dusty ghost town feel around here of late. There is a very simple reason. 365 Jars has been kicking my ass. Hard.

In my enthusiasm for starting a new project - 'yay, new art project, yay' - I forgot that new projects are always intense and all-consuming. 365 Jars is especially full on because it is a ton of work: I seriously underestimated how much time it was going to take every day. Plus starting a new daily walking habit has been a shock to the system. Don't fret, I'm OK but between all that and recovering from The Hideous Flu, I've been distinctly overwhelmed and I'm still behind with everything.

I don't know about you but I live with the pretty fiction that I can somehow Get On Top Of Things.

Let us pause for a moment for the hysterical laugher to subside.

Despite 43 years of solid evidence to the contrary, I persist in believing in a mythical point at which I will be Up To Date.

I secretly believe that it's possible that my inbox will be empty, the laundry will be washed and put away and I won't have any urgent outstanding work. Furthermore, I believe that it's possible for all this to happen on the same day!

There is no indication that this is humanly possible but like a fervent believer in the Loch Ness Monster, absence of hard scientific evidence does nothing to dissuade me. The truth is out there, Scully, the truth is out there.

Surely it's theoretically possible that one day I will complete all my unfinished knitting projects? And all my paperwork will be correctly filed with no missing bank statements and my accounting shall be done to a level that would make the Inland Revenue smile and pat me on the head. And the floors will be clean and I will have cooked in recent memory. And angels shall sing and fairies shall dance in my spotless kitchen and all will be well with the world. And all this shall happen before civilisation crumbles into oblivion, the sun explodes or we are invaded by aliens who eat our brains.

In short, I believe that it is possible that I will be On Top Of Things Like A Real Person.

IMGP1957
Creative Commons License photo credit: Don Fulano

Now, I do not know who these Real People are but apparently they are capable of a mystical level of organisation that I can barely aspire to.

In truth, like many people, I exist in a state of barely controlled chaos.

Recently I had a staggering insight. There will never be a point at which everything is working. Never. There will always be something undone, something lost, something falling off the bottom of the list, something a mere moment away from a crisis. Always.

So what to do with this insight?

I could forgive myself.

Hard for a perfectionist but OK, I'll give it a go. But then I just wind up crying into my cornflakes about how I'm not forgiving myself perfectly enough. Oh wait, I see a slight problem with this approach.

I could seriously cut back on what I'm doing.

Ah, this feels better. Is everything on my list really necessary? Is it all equally important? Will the world end if the laundry is not put away? Ah wait, perhaps this is that mythical 'prioritising' of which I've heard? Why, goodness me, I do believe it is.

But truthfully, right now, even the thought of prioritising makes me want to cry. It seems to demand more competence and energy than I currently possess.

Oh dear, we're back to forgiveness again.

So I'm falling back on that old standby: 'tiny steps'. It's not big and dramatic but it works. I'm not taking on new responsibilities and I'm patiently nibbling away at existing ones like a harvest mouse.


Creative Commons License photo credit: Chris Barber

In the meantime, does anyone want to come round and put my damn laundry away?


2 Comments

Despite still being down with what appears to be Swine Flu, I managed to get out of the house today to start a new year-long art project.

Jar 1 close up
Kirsty Hall: Jar No. 1, decaying roses, Jan 2011

365 Jars is a daily walking project. Every day during 2011, I will be taking a walk to release an art jar into the wild. People will be able to collect the jars and register that they've found them on the website, it will be interesting to see if anyone does. For those of you who don't live in Bristol (or anywhere I happen to visit during 2011), you can follow along on the project website.


13 Comments

During November I'm taking part in the Customer Love Challenge.

Big Heart of Art - 1000 Visual Mashups
Creative Commons License photo credit: qthomasbower

Huh? What is the Customer Love Challenge?

The Customer Love Challenge started in September of this year after Naomi Dunford from Ittybiz wrote this post about how if you needed to make a lot of money quickly, you should love on your people hard for 28 days and then ask them for money on the last 2 days.

LaVonne Ellis from The Complete Flake got all inspired, said, 'let's do it!' and the first Customer Love Challenge was born.

Now LaVonne wants to run another one during November to make use of all the things learnt from the first one.

Can anyone join in?

Of course. At the moment there are at least two other artists taking part - Léan from String Revolution and Melissa Dinwiddie from Living A Creative Life - and I think it would be fabulous if more arty people joined in.

If you're interested in taking part, you can sign up here and download a free e-book. There's also a Yahoo group for participants and the Twitter hashtag is #customerlove (just stick that into the search box on Twitter & you'll see all the stuff people are saying about the challenge).

Do I have to sell something at the end of the month?

Nope. Your goal could be something different like increasing your blog readership, discovering more about your customers, getting more sign-ups to your mailing list or making new connections.

I won't be launching anything new at the end of November for two reasons.

Firstly, I've already got A Super-Exciting Something scheduled for the second week of November. The Super-Exciting Something will go on sale this week and you can expect an announcement within the next couple of days.

Plus I want to run a 48 hour sale on my birthday, which is on the 15th December. That feels like enough to me.

Why are you taking part?

Me, passing up a chance for some hawt internet lovin'? Are you crazy?

I'm doing Customer Love partly because the idea scared me and I like to face things down but also because I want to get to know my readers better and tell you all how much I appreciate you.

What are you going to do?

I have no freaking clue!

OK, that's not quite true. I've written down a few ideas and things are starting to take shape. However, I'm very open to suggestions on this one, so if there's any way that I can help you, please leave a comment below or drop me a line and I'll give it my best shot.