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  • Helen English Artist

Mission with an 'R!'

In previous blogs, I have delved into who inspired me and why I have ended up working for myself in various forms as an artist. These are my first responses when someone asks me why I work as an artist and that feeds into my mission in life. It really occurred to me during lockdown – when there was a lot of time to think – that I should be aiming for a more responsible and less stressful life.


The first part of that was to really focus on some self-sufficiency. Now, I don’t mean that I want to give up shopping completely and stop using the internet – there is much joy to be found in both of those activities! I mean that I want to be more responsible for the products that I buy, the way that I use those products and other resources, and also the work that I produce.


The first steps along the path began to receive commissions last year. Although I was previously using products that I was happy with to create art for myself and for teaching which I expected to last a few years, commissions made me really think about the quality of my products and upgrade them. They were quite a bit more expensive but I found that the colours were better and were often created to be more lightfast. I didn’t want to sell work which I thought would fade or not last a maximum possible time. As I used better products, I notice that they really went further and remained in much better condition, which was the result of their quality but also because of how I treated them.



This thinking has extended itself over 2020. Because of panic shopping and the resulting shortages, I really began to be a more careful user of my resources by necessity. That behaviour had an impact on how I felt about myself. I was already recycling, but slowly this became about composting and eating free range food where possible. In the course of these changes, I noticed that my stress levels had also dropped. Of course I am not a paragon of virtue but I feel like 2020, with all of its challenges, has improved the way that I do things and I am hoping that as the world settles into its next challenge that I take those behaviours along with me. Saying it out loud is a good first step!

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