Celebrate Process

Words and photos by Jenni Mazaraki

One thing I’m learning as I have conversations with creative women is the importance of self-care.

For some of us, we need to take breaks from creative work and be in our bodies by exercising or stepping away from the work space. For others, the creative work is a type of self-care. It’s different for everyone. The thing that is the same is the need to celebrate our process, not just the final product.

Illustrator Carson Ellis once wrote on her blog about how she relaxes. When Carson was asked by a psychologist about what she does for her own self-care, she replied, “I draw.” I read this some time ago and couldn’t find it again when I looked for it, but it has stayed with me. If you draw all day long for work, doesn’t drawing lose its lustre? I guess for Carson Ellis it doesn’t.

What you’ve shown me

So far in this journey of creating Local Story Space, I’ve spoken with creative women who have emphasised the importance of saying no and prioritising commitments in order to maintain a sense of balance in life (Christina Lew). I’ve learned that for others, the creative work in itself is nurturing, but having time to just be yourself, without anywhere to rush to be is important (Steph Kehoe). Ixia Black has shown me the importance of community and collaboration and the value of inviting others to be part of a creative process, not just for art’s sake, but in order to help build as sense of identity and connection.

Kate Hudson, Jessie Pittard and Mary-Lou Pittard have shown me how they share their skills and process by opening their studios to visitors and by doing so create a culture of creativity in their local area. Linda Detoma has emphasised the importance of having time and space for your creativity. In fact, the theme of time and space for creativity has run through all of the conversations I’ve had so far.

Acknowledging process

I also see how acknowledging your process is important. When we’re in the middle of a project, it’s sometimes hard to see the big picture. But the process is really what it’s about. When we finish creating that painting, article, sculpture, zine, it is done. It is static. The process is movement, it’s thinking, it’s trying and experimenting. The process is alive.

As an artist and graphic designer I’ve produced work for exhibition, for clients and for myself. I’ve agonised over composition and tortured myself over millimetres that in the end looked just fine to start off with. I’ve sat with clients and facilitated groups as an art therapist where the true value is in the moment of creation and not in the final product. I see value in both, but we don’t get to the final product without process. That’s why process is something to be celebrated.

Celebrating process allows us to acknowledge where we are at. It takes a moment to pause and see our progress. Practice self-care by acknowledging your process. I’m taking time this weekend to celebrate where I’m at. I hope you do too.

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