Thoughts, Zines

Clearing The Decks

Clearing The Decks


Alternative title: The day I deleted my portfolio, and decided it didn’t matter.

I’m not much of a one for resolutions. I’ve lived with my mind long enough to know that change happens in almost imperceptible increments, with continued effort, not by waking up one day and deciding to be different. Nonetheless, I get caught up with a feeling of shiny newness this time of year, and find unexpected energy to, well, attend to things.

When this happens, one of the very first things I want to attend to is my website, which seems to be perpetually two years behind what I’ve actually been doing. Does anyone else have this problem?! Who knows how it happens, but I certainly need to attend to it. And so I began, making subtle tweaks and changes to the look, and barely moments later I managed to delete my entire portfolio. Excellent start to the year!

I spent a few minutes days lamenting my idiocy, and then a wonderful feeling of clarity came over me. I don’t need to sort through those old images, figure out what stays and what goes. I don’t need to get my head around how exactly I tweaked the code two years ago or whenever it was to get it all aligning nicely. I have a blank slate, a fresh start, and it’s no bad thing.

So currently I’m an illustrator with a portfolio-less website. Hopefully I won’t let it sit that way for too long, but no promises. The accidental loss has opened up a lovely blank space in which to think about which piece of work I most like, have most enjoyed, and what I want to do more of. I am prepared to be surprised by what I pick.

Having this unexpected space and freedom to begin again got me thinking about other things that might benefit from a fresh start. In 2015 I so especially wanted to get my zine, The Green Bean, back up and running and I did not. I laboured over several pages because I felt I really ought to: over the course of the year I managed to gather together about three quarters of a new issue, but I could never bring myself to finish anything. There always seemed something more appealing to do.

And then this idiotic thing happened with my portfolio, and I got to thinking: I began The Green Bean almost six (SIX!) years ago in a burst of enthusiasm, and it was filled with energy and joy. Over the years it came to feel more of a obligation and a burden, and I had this sudden realisation that I’ve been trying to keep it the same. In six years I have grown, evolved, changed and so has my artistic practice: no wonder I don’t feel excited by trying to create work that belongs with who I was six years ago. It all seems so obvious.

So as well as deleting my portfolio (accidentally), I have ditched over twenty pages of drawings for a new Green Bean (intentionally). Just plonked them in the recycling. Just like that. I have cleared the decks and I feel relieved, liberated, and best of all excited to afford my dear little publication space to grow and evolve into something new.




It’s been a quiet few weeks here. I spent the festive season mostly offline, catching up with friends, family and most of all myself. The end of 2013 flew by in a haze of excitement and travelling, as Lighter Than My Shadow was published and The Crystal Mirror hot on its heels. It was a huge change of pace to go from my mostly solitary, intensive working lifestyle to being out there speaking, presenting, selling books and telling the world about it. I barely had time to adjust to the transition of my work being ‘out there’, let alone the transition that was going on in the background: just before Lighter Than My Shadow was published I moved away from Bristol, which I’d called home for 11 years. For the first few months I barely saw my new home, but in the last few weeks I feel I’ve finally begun to settle in.

The last few quiet weeks have been glorious, taking time to adjust to my new surroundings, and to no longer having an all-consuming project on my hands. Of course I’ve been setting goals, making lists, all that stuff we all try and do in January. I hope 2014 will enable me to blog more, to hurry the heck up with some new Green Beans, to learn some new skills…but I also hope I can hold on for a bit to this sense of slowing down, settling in and appreciating where I am (which was looking particularly beautiful today).