As the world around is returning to normal after the midwinter festivities, it is time to move forward into the new year. This year I feel a renewed need to look at the balance between the old, the new and the continuing aspects of my creative life and work. As an artist and creative person the new is pretty much always the most exciting and interesting aspect of life for me. Indeed being an artist is one of the best ways I have found to spend time making and thinking about new things. Out walking today there was the welcome hint of a new beginning in the slight warming of the air and seeing some green shoots pushing through the soil.

Beauty on the cold shady side of the hill above Whirlow Hall Farm.

I have spent the last few weeks clearing and editing; indulging in a joyful mixture of filing, archiving, recycling and rehoming of finished and unfinished projects, information, materials and latterly of furniture I no longer need. This year, more than most years, I needed to clear away the old in all its forms, in order to (hopefully) make space for the new.

This January I have been musing on what the right balance is between the ever seductive ‘new’, the old and the continuing what a colleague usefully called ‘the administration of life’. I know that each year feels different in this respect, sometimes January is all about new projects, in other years it is more about carrying on with directions already established. The balance shifts every year and it is often valuable for me to consider these three questions at the start of January:

  • What do I want to start this year ?
  • What do I want to stop?
  • What do I want to continue?

I do love a new exhibition. I recently visited Opus Anglicanum at the V&A: an amazing display of opulent and exquisite medieval ecclesiastical embroidery (until 5 February see https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/opus-anglicanum-masterpieces-of-english-medieval-embroidery). The brilliant fully illustrated catalogue is one I will return to again and again for inspiration and to renew my sense of connection to textile histories.

Now for more clearing and stitching …