Boundaries, Editing, Identity

Today, and other days, I have been thinking about boundaries, editing and self-identity. 

A Tamp Over My Head , watercolour and coloured pencil, 2015

A Tamp Over My Head, watercolour and coloured pencil, 2015

First, boundaries.

I think as a self-employed creative, you have to set boundaries for yourself. I know I do. If I don't, I am always working, but with no set routine or clear definition, day and night. Work, work, work. There's never a 'shop is closed' sign, physically or mentally. Sometimes I allow my work to become a crutch or an excuse as well. I don't commit to events or activities as I should because I am always working.  

This year I have made specific effort to close down the studio at 5:00pm (Uh...breaking that rule right now...5:23!) And unless I'm working on an install or a frantic deadline, I try to have my evenings off from work and do something social, active, or decompressing. I find as I do this, sleep at night is deeper and work hours during the day become more productive, all of which creates a happier me. 

Second, editing.

A very important part of my work is editing. It's crucial, actually. Once a design has been created, and especially when you think it's complete - is when you need to go back and with scrutiny - see what you can simplify or delete. It's a difficult process, letting go of certain ideas, concepts, perennials, trees, and whatnot. But if you really focus in on what you are aiming to achieve and the story you are trying to tell, you will probably realize there are several side acts that don't need a stage. This lengthens out the design process, adding more hours to your project - but I believe it results in a more focused and purposeful design, one with a definite identity. 

Reduction and perfection have been the main goals for both craftspeople and inventors because avoiding the irrelevant means emphasizing the important.
— A Danish architect

This quote is fabulous. I love it. And it reminds me why I need to make a concerted effort to edit each design project I undertake. Avoid the irrelevant, emphasize the important.

Third, self-identity.

I have been through several identity crises as a designer. I have had various business names, various business cards (I currently don't have one, I was so tired of always needing a new one), so many websites, shifting purposes and goals. It seems I was/am always trying to find myself and my purpose - my values and ethos. My year in London was immensely vital in helping me realize and clarify who I am as a designer. I feel like London set me on a more defined life-trajectory. But it's a continual process and I still find myself reaching to find that place I feel most resolved, and most relevant. 

I find that as I understand myself better, I understand my projects better. A clearer vision, a more focused purpose...a solid platform with a story and concept to back it up. That's what each project I create needs. That's what each project I create will have.