Monday, April 6, 2009
susannah conway : artists who blog
Susannah's website: www.susannahconway.com
Susannah's blog: www.inkonmyfingers.typepad.com
Susannah's shop: www.unravelling.etsy.com
Why did you decide to start a blog?
I began blogging in 2006 after I’d stumbled into the world of blogs and connected with a few bloggers by email. I was writing a book at the time and working through a particularly difficult period in my life, and the combination of words, pictures and community was very appealing to me. My readership was very small to start with, but that was fine with me as I really just wanted to get some words out there. Writing the blog gave a focus to my days.
How did you come up with the name of your blog?
Ink on my fingers is obviously a reference to the writing life; I’d scribbled a list of possible names on the back of an envelope, and this was the one that jumped out. As my photography path grew more prominent in my life I often wondered if I should change the name of the blog, but now I’ve come full circle and am writing again alongside my life in pictures.
How has blogging affected your work as an artist/designer?
Blogging has completely revolutionised my life as an artist. It was because of blogging that I picked up a camera again after many years of full-time writing; it’s thanks to my blog that I was inspired to create a self-awareness / photography e-course – Unravelling: Ways of Seeing My Self - and connect with participants all over the world. Blogging – and the internet in general – generates so many ideas, it’s impossible not to be in a state of constant inspiration.
What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?
There are so many! Every day i check out the gems Holly has shared over on Decor8 – I love her aesthetic and she always introduces me to artists and designers I want to know more about. I also find Camilla Engman’s blog hugely inspiring simply because I find the lady herself inspiring – I always want to jump inside her photographs.
Do you have any advice for artists/designers who are starting a blog?
Be authentic. Share what inspires you, both in your chosen discipline and the world around you. The blogs I always come back to are the ones where I could imagine having a cup of coffee with the blogger; their personality comes over on the page and that gets me hooked. You don’t have to write intimately about your personal life, but sharing something of yourself with your readers is always interesting to read; I like to know what makes an artist tick.
What has been the most positive and inspirational aspect of having a blog for you?
The people I have met, without a doubt. I’ve travelled twice to the States to meet up with blog friends, and have had bloggers come stay with me here in the UK – I’ve made some true friends-for-life this way. I also love how the blog keeps me in check – it’s been the one constant in my life for the last three years and I appreciate the way it’s disciplined me to write regularly.
What do you find the most difficult/most rewarding part of having a creative profession?
I struggle with keeping my focus. I have so many ideas in my head, way more than i could ever carry out – actually, I probably could do them all, but not in one day. My expectation for myself is always to do everything at once. I’m slowly learning how to pace myself and in turn I get a lot more accomplished in a day. I’m a perfectionist, which can be exhausting!
But the most rewarding part of my job is finding a way to make a living doing what I love. Many years ago I was working in an office and it almost killed me (figuratively speaking!); now I set my own hours and get to work on projects I really care about. With my teaching I feel I am contributing something worthwhile to the world and that makes me very happy, and very grateful too.
Other than your blog, what has been the most effective way for you to promote your art/design?
Word of mouth and recommendations are usually the way people find me. I’m useless at networking, but i find that if you believe in your work and put it out there (this is crucial!) then little by little your business and reputation will grow. I’m slowly learning how to make myself more visible as an artist. Like anything worthwhile, it takes time.
How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
This is something I need to work on this year! I spend way too much time sitting at the computer poised and ready for action when what I truly need is more time at the gym or walking in the park. Working from home means I don’t give myself proper breaks as i feel I should be working all the time. It’s not so bad when I’m out shooting, but the rest of the time is computer-focused and you’ll often find me still typing or editing photographs at midnight.
What are your main goals for 2009?
At the moment all my focus is on my Unravelling e-course which is going wonderfully, with over 100 participants from 17 countries in the spring class; this year I want to develop more online classes and stitch together my Unravelling ideas into a book. Alongside this I’ll continue to fan the flames of my love affair with photography – more prints for sale, a photo book and an exhibition are all in the works. 2009 is going to be a busy year!