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What does an artist do all day?

That's not an easy question to answer as every artist is different; some work as a full time artist and some have other jobs. Each artist has their own way of working. Some artists have help to do tasks such as admin and marketing and others do everything themselves.

Whatever the individual artist's situation, one thing is for sure it's not spending all day everyday creating artwork! There will inevitably be tasks like applying for events, sending emails and more that only the artist is able to do. For this blog post the focus will be on how my days and week is spent.

I work full time as an artist, it's the only job I have. Out of those five or six days a week of working time only two days of those are spent actually creating artwork; the rest are taken up with admin, social media and teaching. The largest proportion of my working week is taken up with the tasks I would rather not be doing, which was a huge shock to me when I decided on this as a career path!

Marketing takes up the largest amount of admin time per week, on average two days per week are spent on this. It includes social media posts, sending Textile Tales emails, writing blogs, updating my website and all of those kinds of tasks.

Meetings with new organisations and people to work with are also a large part of what I do. Sometimes they're in really lovely places like Sunderland Winter Gardens, shown in the image here. It also means that I get to know lots about what's happening and events that I may also like to visit with my family.

Another day per week is spent looking at finances and other admin. I do my own tax return, send invoices, chase up payments, order materials and equipment and organise venues for workshops.

I teach many workshops per year, some I arrange myself, others are for organisations and some are community arts workshops. For each one I always take samples of the types of work that can be achieved to inspire people. Very often these samples need doing well ahead of the workshop so that it can be marketed. The sample in the image above was made in January for a workshop in the November!

If the workshop is one I have organised, I will also have to arrange the venue, add it to my website, promote it - making posters and information leaflets is one way of doing this.

Workshops then need to be delivered. I love taking art and workshops to unexpected places, to connect with more people and share embroidery with them. This image was taken just before a workshop at the Valley of Light in Saltburn by the Sea. It was a rather chilly evening and it was an outdoors workshop!

Other lesser known tasks that form part of my working week are developing the Instant workshops and embroidery kits that I have. For these I devise and create the whole thing, including photos such as this one showing people how to create free motion embroidery. I also pack the kits and take them to the post office.

The middle of each week tends to be my studio time. This is when I develop and make work. I always start with my sketchbook and research, then develop samples from there. I refine these until I'm happy with how things look before moving on to creating the artwork. These samples shown above are for a body of work exploring identity and personality, which I've been working on for about nine months so far. In between working on this, I work to commission for people and have created other smaller pieces of work.

Once the artwork is made it's time to photograph the work either to add to my website, for social media or to send to galleries. For now this is something I do myself and the image above shows how I do this. It does take over the whole studio and takes a long time.

Then I edit the photos so that they are suitable to use for all sorts of purposes.

A few times a year a go to events and sell my artwork. I enjoy going to events, seeing other art, meeting other artists and people who come to the events. It's a really good way to see reactions to my work, be inspired and learn about what people would like to see.

My In The Studio membership was developed after many conversations at events with people who were interested in what an artist life was like and what happened in my studio behind the scenes.

Exhibitions are another feature of my art's practice. Not every week but several times a year. It may be, as in the image above, I curate an exhibition of other people's work - in this case as part of a community project. Work needs delivering to exhibitions and sometimes I need to put up my work for the exhibition.

It's certainly a varied week or month with no two days the same. I enjoy the variety of tasks and the option to alter my hours of work to suit what my family need.

If you'd like to learn more about life as an artist you can join my In The Studio Membership. It's an exclusive behind the scenes membership sharing the inspirations behind my artwork and the making process, see inside my sketchbooks, come along to virtual studio tours, receive VIP invites to exhibitions and events and so much more. It's just like being in the studio with me, from the comfort of your own home.

Being a member of In The Studio is the only way to see inside my studio as it won't ever be open for visitors. This membership allows you to ask those questions about the day to day life of an artist through the live Q & A sessions and the forum, see textile artwork from concept to creation as well as explore creative research.

If you have any questions please feel free to pop them in the comments below.

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May 06

That’s a lot…… 😧

Replying to

It is! It keeps the days and weeks varied though.


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