It’s hard to put down a year to paper. What you’ve lived through always eludes you in too many or too few words. Trying to write this blog, I’m reminded of the first blog post I created for blueprint 100. It captures the same sentiment I feel today:
Comparing this initial post with the one I am currently writing, there are some notable differences in the content, feeling and author. The person who created the comic above was experiencing a sense of lacking, of loss. She had difficulty acclimatising to the world outwith university, in finding purpose and merit in herself and her work. Seeing my departure from this old self by way of my work makes me happy. Yet, I still commend the artist for utilising visual art as a means of expression when words were inadequate or were difficult to come by. My ability to fine tune this voice and write freely as I do now is testament to how a year can transform a person’s confidence, given that they are provided with the right tools.
Over this past year I have held talks and hosted events at The Stove, The Oven and Dumfries and Galloway College. I have collaborated with artists, individuals and groups within our community. I have been awarded bursaries, rented my own studio space, developed my creative practice and received numerous grants. In short, I have become able to express myself and have benefitted immensely. All of the things I have achieved were dreams or fears I had had for a long time. At times they were both. Surmounting a fear and fulfilling an ambition are oftentimes one in the same thing. It took me a long time to realise this. Throughout this year I have confronted my doubts, my failures and my shortcomings time and time again, each time learning and deriving from them small or large measures of growth.
Perhaps the most important thing I have learnt through my internship at blueprint is that perfectionism leads to stagnation, to fear and, ultimately, to nothing. By extension, it is neither useful nor commendable to struggle through everything alone. Engaging with the community and my peers has helped shape both my creative practice and myself. I thank everyone at The Stove, especially Kat, Matt, Ailsa, Graham, Kevin, Peter, Martin, Kirstin, Katie, Michael, Jordan, Claire and Kyna for empowering me and enabling me to create work –and be a person- that I can take pride in.