Last year I decided that I would be taking  December and January ‘off’.  After over 13 years trapped in relentless fashion production cycles, I never really had the opportunity to completely take time off and shut down my business (asides from to have a baby), so I thought, this is the year!

It took me the better part of December to switch myself off and tie up loose ends, so that left me with January.  Since New Years, I have barely checked my emails once a week, I have hardly looked at social media, have done a lot of digging in the garden, had a glorious time with my husband, 1 and 2 year old girls, and spent many hours in the kitchen with my latest obsession- a Thermomix concocting every imaginable green smoothie.  I have also started making art again.  Hooray!

This last one came as a complete surprise and has confirmed for me how powerful it is to completely take time out, to really let yourself stop whatever cycle you are caught up in, and just have a break.  It is here that a feint whispering that has been quietly humming along can finally be heard in the induced silence.  I did have this experience not so long ago last year at the big-hearted business conference when I finally heard loud and clear the pull to start Creative Conversation, which has been just wonderful.  And through the work I have been doing for this business, I seemed to have re-awakened another souls-yearning: the making of art.

I had a brief stint before starting Manque Design to really explore my creativity and find out what it was that I was good at (note, that I did not say what I loved to do!).  Painting and picture making was right up there with the things that I loved to do.  But in the end it was jewellery making and clothing that won my attention and became the focus of my desire to create an enterprise, because it seemed the best path for me to make a living at the time.  And thus ended my real investigation of myself as an artist in the purest sense.

But of late, the artist in me has been re-awakened.   She has finally had a enough quiet and calm to get her whispered message across “you need to make art, because the act is beautiful and brings you peace”.  Pure and simple.  Of course my mind jumped in immediately with ‘what do you mean?  This is not what we are doing! We are doing a little bit of Manque and a lot of Creative Conversation, not being an artist!”. Cue argument with self.

But in a session with my coach a couple of weeks ago, it became clear to me.  The art making is not about making a business.  The art making is just for me.  It is an exercise in mindfulness as the lovely artist Romy Sai Zunde continually reminds  me in her eloquent prose and divine images.  It is the act of making art that allows us to come to ourselves in an entirely honest and fresh way.  It is also imperative to my two other enterprises that I give time to this process, as I need it to hear the whispers of inventiveness, originality and honesty.  I don’t want Creative Conversation to be just another business, I want to be artful and special.

I need pure creative space- like I need my garden, my husband and my girls.  So  I will honour that from now on- honour the artist in me.