November 8, 2010

the evolution of a work ethic


I have been trying to build up my portfolio ever since coming to New York as a way to get myself out of my day job (which has thus far proven unsuccessful, but fingers crossed!) and now, as a way to get myself into grad school and on a new path in the working to live/living to work battle. Each year has become more and more productive and in the past month, it's reached a fever pitch.

My first year here, I snagged an industrial sewing machine from the Upper West Side on Freecycle and started sewing a carpet bag project I had started in undergrad in my tiny living room. But I was traveling across Brooklyn multiple times a week, and I could never get into a rhythm. The next year, I had a railroad apartment and turned the windowless hybrid room/hallway into a studio to better results, although it was hard trying to work in the apartment when there was a couch to sit on instead of the floor of the studio hallway and this couch faced the television. Blaming my living room layout is the easy way out. I had trouble separating life and work and it affected my focus and work ethic. The next year, I moved into a two room apartment and rented a studio about 10 minutes away by walking, 5 by bike. I also became the proud owner of my very own loom which has made me the happiest kid in Brooklyn.

This separation of life and work has been the best solution for me. Almost every evening after the day job, I get on the subway to studio and put in an hour or three. Then I walk or ride home and do a bit of apartment related activities and a bit of computer work. Then tea, and bed. The weekends are up early, off to studio for 10-12 hours, home, eating and bed. The past week has been the most hectic of all and it won't be over until the new year. This is all in preparation for the grad portfolio. It's exhausting. But this is my escape plan, and going at it halfheartedly is just not an option.

Above is a project I've been working on since the hallway/room studio days, and I've finally been able to make decent progress on it. I can't wait to post the finished piece! Patience, patience, and motivation will get me there.

2 comments:

Meg in Nelson said...

Congratulations on being in a good place. So, all according to plan?

Living and working in the same place has been a blessing and a curse, that's for sure. I sometimes escape work and do housework, and sometimes the other way around. And then there is the garden. But with my "condition" I've allowed myself a far less regimented life for a few years. Now that I am feeling better, though, I would like to have a... ummm... a <> big mid-to-long term goal and work in a more disciplined way. (Especially as long as Husband is happy to provide for me.) I've been thinking about this, but haven't started any research yet. Just trying to get on the loom every day.

Good luck for the next couple of months, then!

lydia nichols said...

Work will get you through! Keep your chin up and your feet moving–the work you've been doing is amazing!