And a change of direction
There’s no two ways about it the last few weeks have been eventful.
The new job
I started my part time employment on the Tuesday after the May Day bank holiday…. everyone was lovely and welcoming. The first day was a little bit of induction, e-learning and a meeting with all the new recruits with a senior manager. I left at 1pm and went for a drive to look at the wild flowers along the lanes. May is so full of colour and fragrance it’s quite a heady mix. The bluebells were rich with their floral aroma and as they were passing over, the new arrival of pinks and whites that signify the change into the pale whites and creams of June were starting to bud.
The second day I arrived and was put into the managers office adjacent to where I would be sitting and hearing the calls and feeling the heavy air of the office environment I started to feel the steady rise of stress and anxiety. Memories of working in the Job Centre flooded back and the 4 hours crept by very slowly. I left with a sense of dread for the next day and the day after that, etc etc.
Coffee with creatives
My mind was taken off my thoughts with the first meeting of the Creative Business Network Cornwall Coffee Meetup – and it was fabulous to meet up with 3 other creatives at the first one. It was lovely to talk about their businesses and hear their ideas and thoughts. It felt like the start of something important for the creatives in Cornwall. No agenda just a good chin-wag with other creative, like-minded people.
Now the Soul Searching
Whilst I’d been starting my new job, Dave had had 2 job trials, he was in the envious position of a choice of two jobs… amazing in 2019! Well he had made his decision and he was really excited about joining Imerys in Par. So on Wednesday evening we sat down and discussed my job. Dave could see there was something wrong and he could see the flickers of anxiety that he used to see when I worked at Lichfield Job Centre.
I was willing to stay for a bit longer at the beginning of our conversation, by the end I knew that was not possible if I wanted to carry on with my creative work. So for the first time in my entire life I sent an email explaining why I would not be returning the following morning. I have always stuck with a job, at least a year before I found another role – never have I left one after just 2 days. As soon as I had done it, I felt a mixture of guilt for letting people down and relief.
They sent me a lovely response later in the morning and I could breathe again. Phew.
As soon as this episode was over I suddenly felt energised and did some much needed sketching and completed a commission for Lazy Jacks in Fowey. I could not have felt more happier than I did standing on Fore Street with my sketch pad drawing away whilst the bustling tourists milled around me. And I got a free ice cream from the shop too!
One of the things I’d looked into in a not too serious fashion was the idea of doing an on-line MA in Illustration through Falmouth university. I’d been speaking to the Course Adviser about it before I started my job but had not taken it any further. I opened up the application portal and started completing it, with no real belief that I would be accepted. I had done the Personal Statement without any plan or process, just typed what came. It was exhausting so I took a break, the Course Adviser called me as he could see I’d opened the application process.
I sent him the personal statement and created a folder of photos of my work (past and present) for him to advise me on both. It’s a nerve racking experience waiting for someone to judge your work but when he came back to me, he had little to advise on the personal statement as I’d covered everything needed and he’d put together a portfolio of 25 of my images. I completed my application and hit SUBMIT.
It was in the hands of the assessors now…
Within a couple of days I received an email advising me that I might need to supply more information on my artistic work. This is because I don’t have a under graduate qualification. My heart sank a little but I wasn’t down for long as the very next day I received an un-conditional offer. WOW. I was over the moon, literally gobsmacked. Reality soon came knocking as now I had to apply for student finance.
I had an image of forms after forms to be completed, evidence supplied in triplicate and a DNA test! I went to the Government website and completed what I thought was a preliminary form and waited for the rest of the questions. Ha! That was it, the application was that simple. I applied late on Friday night and by the end of the weekend I had an email with a break down of the payments I would receive.
So I’m starting my MA in Illustration on 3rd June, as in next week! This week is ‘Freshers Week’ as I’ve called it, logging onto systems and conversing with some of my fellow students online. I am one excited bunny.
On the 16th May I saw that the June edition of Cornwall Today was in the shops, inside was my very first Cafe Column – wowser! They’ve called the column Sally’s Cafes and there was a photo of me sketching outside one of the Lostwithiel Cafes….. but to see what I’d written (edited as I’d done too much… need to do better!) and the illustration of the cafe, The Salty Dog, along with the recipe was just fab. Thanks Cornwall Today for giving me this chance to do this column.
A workshop on workshops
On the Friday I went to an all day workshop run by Cultivator which was all about running workshops. The team leading the workshop had tailored it more for the those that want to work in the community, delivering workshops as part of a community initiative. This was really very interesting and I learnt a lot, however I was not prepared to think along those lines so when it came to a practical workshop session in line with a community project I decided to do an outline of a workshop for my business.
Within the first paragraph I realised that what I was writing was a perfect workshop for the museum and for the wider community of Lostwithiel. I came away really excited for the opportunities that suddenly were on the horizon – thank you Tough Dough for a brilliant day.
In the middle of all of this MA ‘stuff’ was LostFest. I was in charge of Social Media and had done over 60 scheduled Facebook posts over the previous month for the event, updated Instagram and Twitter and shared posts by stallholders, musicians and performers. The day came and it was a fabulous day weather wise, gorgeous sunshine, lots of visitors and plenty of great music. I walked down the town to capture as much as possible for social media and met up with loads of people I know, a brilliant day.
Preparation, road trips and Lemsip
I’ve cleaned the flat, tidied up the desk, done all the washing…. all ready for the start of the MA next week.
Last week I went with Claire of Windsweptgirlie to Hayle to deliver a wholesale order and had lunch at a new cafe Duckies which I’m adding to my list for the Coffee Column. Then the following day met up with Tracey and John for a bbq. Took Dave to Exeter whilst I went to the Creative Business Network Coffee Break he went and had a wander, then we went to IKEA, ordered a mattress and bought a bedside light for me, then voted in the EU elections. In the evening I went to Lost in Books for a book reading and poetry event, Sarah Cave read from her book of verse An Arbitrary Line and Ben Smith read sections of his novel Doggerland. It was brilliant.
Then the sore throat started. So my weekend plans went to pot as I was going to go West and see the Open Studios of Jane Ryan, Julia Crimmen, Becca Williams and Krowji. Now postponed to next weekend. Instead I managed to gather enough energy, timing my Lemsip consumption to perfection, and visited the Narrative Fair in St Austell. It was lovely to see so many of my lovely creative friends and get to know some new ones too.
Oh dear what a parlava! When we had been at IKEA we both didn’t realise that the mattress we had tested, liked and had ordered was in fact not the same size as our beloved bed frame. It arrived yesterday. When Dave came back from a day out with the scooter guys we took the old mattress out and loaded it into the van, crunching and bending it to fit in. We undid the wrapping of the new mattress and manhandled it on to the bed where the additional 20cms meant a bitter blow and a lot of swearing. In a fit of panic I went on line and ordered a new bedframe to fit the new mattress and photographed the bed to sell on Facebook. At 10.30pm we went and retrieved the bent and battered mattress back out of the van and it unfurled itself back onto the bed.
I had the best nights sleep I’ve had for a long time! When we woke this morning we really didn’t want to get rid of the bed, so I cancelled the order and arranged for a replacement of the unused new mattress. Our bed frame is like a part of the family… it has character, it’s French and it’s quirky. We have 3 blocks of wood underneath it as extra legs in the middle and it’s been with us since we got married… so we’re a bit attached to it!
The days ahead
My plan is to revert back to a daily blog, a way of diarying the next 2 years as I go through my MA – the ups and downs, the successes and failures, it’s going to be one hell of a journey and I’d love you to come along withe me. So watch out for tomorrow’s instalment.