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Lockdown

What you see in social media seems to be telling us that if you're not baking up a storm, deep cleaning your house, writing your novel and learning Urdu, you are just not doing lockdown right. But what about those of us who struggle with this new normal?  We don't hear too much about 'us'.

I admit it - I struggled. I thought that a few weeks of being locked into my studio, being able to concentrate on nothing but 'playing' was going to be fabulous.  What an opportunity, being handed to me on a plate!  And for a while it worked.

I started an online drawing course (you can already tell I didn't finish it).  I dusted off my concertina and played a few tunes.  I sang around the house and vaguely thought of kickstarting my long-interrupted singing hobby.

I made a ring I loved.  The idea had been swirling around in my head for months. So when that was finished I felt good.  Now what?  And that's when it hit.  There was just no inspiration, no drive to create. Frankly, I became anxious.

I told myself to relax and read or something. I'd get it back in time.  But I've struggled almost every day.

At least getting out of bed was never an issue.  We are early risers and most days we are awake around 6am.  I go for a brisk walk for an hour each morning so that was a routine I stuck with.  I know some people who are having trouble dragging themselves out of bed.

Two big orders were cancelled.  One I'd got all packaged up and ready to send and the other I'd made most of the pieces needed to fill the order. They were deep blows. Not just the lack of income from these orders, but wondering if I would ever sell to galleries again. 

The National Folk Festival in Canberra at Easter, where we sold our work during five glorious days last year was cancelled. Floriade (as we know it) was cancelled.  So that's it - nothing until November, if indeed the Tasmanian Craft Fair goes ahead.  Will we ever do these markets and events again? They are such a big part of my life. socially and business-wise.

I made a pendant, sparked off by an unusual stone I'd been 'saving' for a couple of years.  That was made in a couple of days and as soon as it went up on social media, it was sold!  Fantastic.  Now what?

   

More reading.  Sitting on the couch in what sunshine there was and reading, reading, reading.  No concertina playing, not drawing, no studio creative time.  

Sure I made up stock so I would have some for when (if) we ever got selling again, but I was largely making items I'd made before and where was the fun in that?

I tried a couple of online courses, hoping that might give me the impetus I needed to get moving on the creative front.  Well it might have, but everything I tried seemed jinxed and didn't work.  Seems like I need in-person training.

I have largely gotten over it.  I made a brooch for the Tasmanian Craft Fair and that has kicked off another piece that I'm partway through making, and a rather complicated necklace also from our Tasmanian adventures is tickling my mind.  I just need to get one little bit resolved and that will be done. 

I did manage a whole range of work celebrating recovery from this year's bushfires, using recovered silver offcuts, but it was not the easy seamless time in the studio that it could have been.  It was hard work. And I still struggle.  Every day.

  

I'm not reading so much these days and eating less.  Early on in lockdown I worked out that I needed to have at least two, and preferably three alcohol free days a week.  Four if I can make it, but that's still mostly an aspirational thing.

I know I'll come out of this OK.  A bit battered financially, but OK. But I'd still like to see more 'reality' on social media.  Some of the not-so-good stories, so that those of us who struggled a bit can feel not so alone.

Unexpectedly I came to feel an odd sort of contentment.  Not with lockdown.  Not with 'the new normal', but with the general shape of my life, where it's been and where it's(probably) going.  Without the time for contemplation, I might never have achieved that.  And it's no small thing.

What do you think of your lockdown? Was it seamless and easy or was there doubt in your abilities and difficult times?  Or was it a mixture of all of these?  Tell me your story.