Betweenmas / by Tamsin Arrowsmith-Brown

It's one of those through-and-through horrible days in London. I'm looking out of the window at grey skies, soaked slate roofs and big juicy raindrops splashing against the glass. I actually quite like these days, as long as they are relatively isolated and I am in a warm, dry house.

It is 'Betweenmas'; Christmas is over and we're still a couple of days from New Year. I love this bit, it feels like a pause for reflection and rest before we hit the fresh new year as our revitalised and newly (all over again) determined selves.

This year is no exception for me. A bit of fortunate timing has meant that on the 3rd January I will begin a new part-time job which I'm very excited about. The excitement is on several fronts; the job has the potential to be both interesting and satisfying but it will also provide me with some much missed financial security. I'm not sure yet if and how I'm going to talk about it in this blog, but what I can talk about is the anticipated impact on my ceramic work. 

The intention is that having some steady income will free me up to be more creative and take the pressure off trying to pay the bills through selling ceramics. It is a delicate balance trying to make a living from something you love so much and the weights of influence are quite heavy. More than anything I want to make lovely pots. I want people to want and buy these lovely pots, if people don't buy them they are wasted. But I don't want to compromise the work just so that people will buy them. But if people don't buy them, I will have to stop making them, so best to make things people will buy. And the studio rent needs to be paid, and the mortgage and the electric and the clay.... But more than anything I want to make lovely pots. And on we go. 

As I started to try to say in my last post, in this slightly desperate search for income I have found myself jumping from project to project, frantically making work without having time to properly reflect on what I'm making. Don't get me wrong, I'm very proud of the work I've been making and selling I just feel like I haven't had time or mental space to properly consider the body of work as a whole or think about where I want to take it next. I'm also aware that having my head down at the wheel, I have missed opportunities to look around at others' work and find inspiration that way. So I'm very excited to have some freedom to do so.

Progress may be a little slow in the beginning. I am genuinely excited about this new job and want to give it the energy it needs, which at the start will no doubt be extra measures since it's always a challenge starting a new role and this one is new in every sense - they have just created it within the organisation, so there will be some carving out to be done. However, it is only three days a week so there will still but plenty of time for other pursuits. 

But another big project is in the offing - The Shed. I have been talking about building The Shed since moving to Wood Green over a year ago. I should really start to call it The Studio since it's going to be quite a lot fancier than a shed and will in fact be my new garden studio. We have drawings and (since last week) permission from the council but I have done next to nothing about getting quotes or finding a builder to construct it. So that is priority number one now that I have a bit more financial security to pay for the loan needed to build it. 

So, as you can see my new year has a great deal of novelty and potential. Let's see what happens!