There came a visitor to the studio a while back. This is an Apatura iris, a butterfly species where the female has an iridescent blue shimmer on the top side of her wings. This was a male, and he was resting on my window sill in the afternoon sun. I was able to slowly walk all the way up and grab this picture before he flew away again, out towards the deciduous treetops. Butterflies are immensely interesting - like many insects they have a three-part body and an exoskeleton (one of my favourite words!). They also have huge facet eyes and antennae for picking up scent from flowers of dead animals. In Sweden we use the same word for butterflies and moths (day butterfly and night butterfly) but they are easy to tell apart by looking at how they're built (moths are heavier and hairier) and how they hold their wings - butterflies line up their wings edge to edge and hold them high on their back while resting, while moths fold them down over the back, like a little cloak. The life cycle of a butterfly is equally fascinating and grotesque, really, as they go from egg to larva to pupa to adult butterfly. When they pupate, the larva digests itself and turns into... goo, basically. Goo with pretty cool cells in, which in turn over time transforms into the adult butterfly - the imago. Isn't that another beautiful word? This process is of course called metamorphosis, a word from Latin, and a powerful concept in stories ever since humans began telling them.
I wanted to write this blog post about inspiration, about work morale, about discipline and planning, and the life of the butterfly is a beautiful representation of how all of these things work, or don't. Right now I'm at a crossroads. I had a plan, and even intentions to stick to it (at least stay near it, until further notice) - I was going to work hard during the slow summer weeks to build a huge stock in preparation of the three fairs I'm attending this autumn. I was going to carve out a way forward after that, with a hopefully still loaded supply of stock and then maybe, maybe start taking on custom orders. It was a good plan. And then... then I got a new job. I'm a librarian as some of you already know, and things aligned and suddenly there was another path open, for me to take or not take (clue: I'm curios, not good at not taking things, thoughts, ideas). So I'll soon be a university librarian instead of a public librarian, and to make things work, I will start working more hours. I'm careful with my hours because I have a lot of energy but not a lot of patience and doing the same thing for too long makes me unhappy, but I also do commit to things, A LOT, and in this case this means more hours at work. For a period of time, at least.
This brings about questions about who I am, what I want to do with my life, what my options are, what's best for my family, what's best for my sanity. My brain has been working on a high gear, and when the brain is doing her own thing, the hands can't do theirs. I found myself being unfocused, making mistakes, feeling bored, postponing - and, of course, beating myself up about not sticking to my plan. I've also been feeling much more drawn to creating bigger jewellery pieces with stones, which is time consuming, frustrating and wonderful. And then - I really want to stress this - I didn't suddenly have an epiphany about how shitty an unproductive and detrimental it is to beat yourself up. I know this. We all know this, right? So I didn't have an epiphany, but I decided to slowly work on letting my own (sky high) expectations chill for a bit. This is where I could post pictures of myself feeling enlightened and "free" and you'd all be expected to want to by my things a little bit more because maybe you could buy a bit of what it looks like I've achieved, but I will not do any such thing. It's unsound and unethical. Even if I WAS all happy and blessed and yoga toned and on my way to fulfilment or whatever instagrammers tell you they are, you couldn't by a single inch of that. And I'm not anyway, so - please know that feeling comfortable in your own skin is something we work for together, you and me, and that it's hard hard work, and that you take one step forward and two steps back more often than not. And that's okay. It's okay when you do it and it's okay when I do it, because it's life, and life does not care if you stick to your plans. Life has its own screwed up, bizarre, painful, wonderful and enigmatic plan. You might be a shell full of goo right now, but somehow 50 kickass little invisible cells can suddenly start splitting and growing and before you know it you've got wings.
What this will mean for the future, I have no idea. I have ideas to fill ten years of around the clock-work, but not time to delve into them. Know that when you buy something I've made, you're buying the item of course, but also the time I put into designing and creating it, AND - this is the best part for me! - you also buy me future time. Time to let some of all those ideas come out to play. Time to keep creating and be happy and, hopefully, present new things that you will like. I'm a Patreon of Amanda Palmer and she writes a lot about this, what it means when people support you directly, because they not only like what you HAVE done, but want you to be able to keep doing it, and you can be self-sufficient and not forced to rely on and adjust to a world of business and money and profit.
PS: One of the most amazing things with being a public librarian is being close to books and stories all day, and seeing what they can do for people. I will miss that very much, and to keep a good thing going in my life while changes are rolling in, I've started a reading circle. We have a Facebook group you'll find here, it's called • stride book branch thought • and we will start discussions next week. We're starting with the very inspiring and well written book If women rose rooted by mythologist and psychologist Sharon Blackie. You're welcome to join us!