Tag Archives | goals

What I’m aiming for in 2014

After much reflection I have finally decided on a set of goals for 2014. Most of them aren’t ‘check box’ goals (either I achieve them or I don’t); rather, they’re more about making progress in a certain area, which makes sense, given that my growth in these areas won’t be restricted to just one calendar year. But I think highlighting a few things that I want to focus on will help me be more mindful of what I’m doing and will help push me out of my comfort zone (a little bit, at least).

The motto for the year is: Just ask. Admittedly, this will probably be the hardest part for me. All too often, I’m content to sit back and let the universe propel me forward, taking a kind of “if it happens, it happens” attitude. But really, at some point I have to start making things happen for myself. Hence the motto. If I’m successful in applying it, I expect I will hear “No” quite a lot, but hopefully “Yes” at least a few times.

Drastically easier than sticking to my motto will be my only tangible, measurable goal: Keep good records. I am committed to making 2014 the first year that I diligently track all the money coming in and going out, and set up a good inventory system for my finished pieces. Tracking my time… well, that might wait until 2015…

My artistic goals (or perhaps more accurately: the areas I want to work on) stem from a growing awareness of my emerging style. Looking back at the work I have produced over the past 8 months or so, I’m starting to see some patterns or characteristics emerging. I find that I am developing a style that is quite calm and gentle, as well as being simple and stripped down. This doesn’t really surprise me, because it’s quite in line with my personality. I have also noticed that I have a bit of a ‘middling’ tendency – I tend to work within a narrow range of size and colour (if my mosaics were a statistical distribution, they’d be seriously clumped around the mean). Again, this reflects my personality and my tendency to avoid ‘rocking the boat’ at all costs. Finally, I know that I tend to privilege ‘line’ above all else. I like building lines and pathways, and that is reflected in the work I do.

collage of recent mosaics

What I’ve done since the Touchstone workshop. When you look at them all together, it’s easier to see commonalities and an emerging style.

So given my emergent style, I would like to work on finding ways to augment or complement my strengths / preferences. I don’t want to change them – they are, after all, the core of my artistic voice and what make me unique. But I think I can work on enhancing them and drawing them out so that they are more effective. This could include (but is not limited to) working on varying the size and spacing of the tesserae I use, or playing more with colour, negative space, texture, or reflectivity.

The last thing that I want to do this year is rekindle my appreciation for glass. I have fallen fast and hard out of love with glass – I’m all about the rocks these days (as you might have noticed). While I don’t have any aspirations of becoming a glass aficionado or anything of the like, I would like to be able to at least enjoy using glass when it makes sense to do so.

And that’s it! These are the goals that I hope will push me just a bit farther down my artistic path this year and I’m excited about this continuing journey.

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Looking back on 2013

Different kinds of ‘years’ come and go around me all the time – calendar years, school years, fiscal years…  Even though I set goals for myself last January, it feels weird to be doing a ‘year in review’ post now, a full calendar year later. I actually feel like I should be writing this post next May on the anniversary of the Touchstone workshop, when I truly found my path. It’s almost like time should now be measured Before Sager and After Sager.

But if I look back on the 2013 calendar year, I still managed to accomplish most of the goals I set out for myself, despite not really getting going until halfway through. First of all, I fully transitioned from stained glass to rocks, rocks, and more rocks. In line with that, I shed my “Red Squirrel Mosaics” moniker and started just using my own name. In terms of branding and engagement, I also made an effort to maintain a consistent social media presence – here on my blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. I even started a mailing list, although it’s been kind of dormant so far, and I’m experimenting with Tumblr and Instagram (although I’m still unconvinced as to whether Tumblr is worth the effort).

Beyond that, I’ve been slowly acquiring more skills, and not just mosaic ones. Yes, there was Rachel Sager’s course at Touchstone (have I told you how pivotal that was?), but I also attended ARTpreneur and a panel discussion on local business, brushed up on my WordPress skills thanks to Ladies Learning Code, and tried to learn a thing or two about taking better photos of my work.

I had my work in a real brick and mortar store (and the owner even approached me, not the other way around!). Sadly, the store has since closed, so I’ve set up shop over on Etsy again while I explore other options. I even got accepted into my first juried show! To top it off, I started to get noticed in small ways (which were exciting nonetheless). First it was by the guy who designed the software that makes chord diagrams, then it was one of my blog posts that got shared by Mosaic Art Now on its Facebook and Twitter channels.

Total day-maker! That's me! That's ME!!

Total day-maker! That’s me! That’s ME!!

So even though I may have only gotten started in earnest in May, I still feel like I’ve made good headway and I’m excited about 2014. I haven’t set any goals for next year yet, but I think I will – I actually found it to be a useful exercise.

Thanks to all of you who pop by every now and then to keep up with my mosaic adventures – I can’t wait to share both the hiccups and milestones that 2014 has in store for me. And with that, I wish you all a happy New Year … may it be filled with creativity and happiness (and pretty rocks, if you like that sort of thing).

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Keeping myself honest

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions or set goals for myself. So don’t ask me why I decided that this would be the year that I experiment with goal setting. Whatever the reason, I decided to take the plunge. Because I’m a list-maker, I decided that ticking things off as I accomplish them would be helpful for me, so I made myself a little planner. There’s space to check off my weekly tasks as I finish them, and at the front of the planner is a list of all my goals for the year, so I can look at them whenever I need a little push. I’ve also decided to post a quarterly update, to add an extra layer of accountability. This is the first post of that nature.

DIY day planner

Made entirely from reused materials: Cover is from an old Canadian Club “damn right your dad drank it” calendar, spine is from an old university courseware, paper is scrap from work, and tabs were rescued from a binder that was getting tossed.

Some of my goals are weekly, others are monthly, and some are one-offs. I’m pleased to report that on my weekly and monthly goals, I’m killing it! My recurring goals are all related to maintaining an active social media presence (tweet / post to my Facebook page X times per week, blog at least once a month, do a WIP Wednesday every week). I haven’t missed one yet!

The one-offs are all still quite aspirational. The only one I’ve managed to cross off my list is completing the transition from craft to art pieces – I did that when I made my last leaf plate and subsequently switched over to the wall hangings I’ve been working on.

I’m not going to tell you what the other goals are. Probably because I prefer to under promise and over deliver. But I do have an interesting iron in the fire and, if it pans out, I will be very excited to share it with you. Until then…!

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