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It’s About Time

For me 2022 marks 10 years of The Mercerie and it’s a milestone I honestly never thought I’d reach.

That’s a whole decade of a precarious lifestyle built on not much more than a laptop, some yarn and a handful of crochet hooks. Although I never really take the time to think about how my business has grown over that decade.

I’m not really one for looking back.

And I’m not very good at thinking ahead.

I tend to exist in the moment with little time for reflection and lots of time for procrastination.

Living in the moment sounds like a carefree, happy go lucky, existence, but the reality is I can never take advantage of an early bird offer, exhibitions sell out months before I decide to go and I can rarely get a table at the restaurant I want.

Being busy and ticking things off a ‘to do’ list feels like an achievement in itself – but it can also prevent growth and there’s much to be gained by taking stock, taking a breath and planning ahead.

So this year I’m adding these things to my ‘to do’ list.

1. REFLECT

Take time to look back on the first decade of my business and as part of this reflective approach I’ll be revisiting some of my blog posts from 2012. These were generally short and sweet – it’s liberating to write when you think no-one’s looking…..it’s a bit like dancing to Motorhead with the curtains closed. (try it)

This is a post from July 2012:

A CONFRONTATION WITH THE PLASTIC ARTS.

As I sat knitting this evening, and the children were quietly modelling rainbow coloured figures with great industry, my thoughts turned to the subject of plastic art – a term that disappeared some time ago. I was reminded of the sculptural works by Richard and Judith Lang and contemplated the compelling beauty of this work that belies an apocalyptic tragedy.  46,000 pieces of plastic float in every square mile of the earth’s ocean, that’s an estimated 100 million tons of plastic pollution.

I concluded this train of thought with the announcement that all remaining plastic toys would be taken to the charity shop, where they could become someone else’s problem and leave me with a clear conscience. They could easily be replaced by ethically sourced sticks from the garden, a hammer and some rusty nails.

“We’re not doing that, and you can’t make us” said the children.

“Yes I can”

“Oh yeah, you and who’s army?”

I looked up from my knitting to see a troop of multicoloured 2inch figures with weapons striding towards me and I found myself staring down the barrel of a plasticine gun.

2. PRE-PLAN

Make time to look forward and book some events in advance. I’m going to share with you some of the exhibitions that are on my radar this year and I’m going to be super organised and book at least one like a sensible person would.

I used to love visiting art galleries and I’ve almost forgotten that  meditative state of losing oneself in an art work.

In his brilliant book FOUR THOUSAND WEEKS Oliver Burkeman describes the experience of staring at a painting in a gallery space for three hours; a strategy for developing close looking and deep thinking that he borrowed from  Jennifer Roberts, an art history professor at Harvard University.

When I worked as a lecturer at Art School I’d regularly deliver an hour long lecture accompanied by just one image to Masters level students. After the initial disappointment of not being hypnotised by a stream of attention grabbing images we all started to mine our imagination and as we rummaged about in  our heads for meaning our thoughts deepened and broadened. A deep dive is so much more exhilarating than a swim in the shallows.

“In a world geared for hurry, the capacity to resist the urge to hurry – to allow things to take the time they take – is a way to gain purchase on the world, to do the work that counts, and to derive satisfaction from the doing itself, instead of deferring all your fulfilment to the future,” Oliver Burkeman

If I only make it to one of these exhibitions I’ll be happy, and I’ll spend the time looking, thinking and experiencing the work deeply.

Van Gogh: Self Portraits

The Courtauld Gallery:

3 Feb – 8 May 2022

Van Gogh

Louise Bourgeois: The Woven Child

Hayward Gallery

9 Feb –⁠ 15 May, from 10am

Sheila Hicks: Off Grid

The Hepworth Wakefield.

7 April – 25 September 2022

Sheila Hicks

Cornelia Parker

Tate Britain

18 May – 16 October 2022

Cornelia Parker

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear

V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum)

19 March – 6 November 2022

Art of menswear

Africa Fashion

V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum)

From 2 July 2022

Africa fashion

Annie Montgomerie: Hand Me Downs

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

5 November 2022 – 26 February 2023

Anne Montgomerie

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