I’m sure anyone reading this would agree that 2020 has been a strange and difficult year so far. So many people have been affected by the Covid-19 virus across the world. Recently, the tragic death of George Floyd and too many other Black Americans has increased all our awareness of the racism present across the US, UK, and other countries.
I’ve been quiet on this journal and social media for a while, but I think it’s important for everyone to acknowledge the impact that these events have on our society. It’s hard to know what role I can play as an illustrator, a librarian, or just a person trying to do better for others. What I do feels insignificant in comparison to what key workers like those in the NHS (the UK's National Health Service) do every day.
However, I think it’s still important to think critically about our own roles, however small, and what we can do to make things better for everyone. I hope that my work as an illustrator and a librarian go a little way towards bringing more joy, creativity, and knowledge into other’s lives.
The lockdown had the side-effect of making a lot of people adapt and do more creatively. However, I think it's important for us to acknowledge the difficulty of the situation physically, emotionally, mentally and financially. These constraints can both help and hinder creativity. Just because we may have more time at home, doesn't mean we're all jumping into new hobbies and creative endeavours. For the first part of lockdown, I was just managing to cope with the changing situation.
Although I haven’t been pressuring myself to do much illustration work lately, I have been busy with some other creative projects. The first is a long-in-the-making journal article, based on my masters dissertation in library science. I started writing the article a few summers ago, and it never seemed to be at the place where I was ready to submit it. Therefore, it felt like a real achievement when it was finally published in the Art Libraries Journal a few days ago. The title is ‘Inspiration’ and how it is found: Exploring psychological and information behaviour theories, and the full-text of the article is available for those with a subscription here.
Abstract ‘Inspiration’ is a concept that comes up frequently in the Library and Information Science literature on artists and designers. But what do we mean by ‘inspiration’? This article discusses a selection of the psychological research on creativity and inspiration, as well as four information behaviour theories that help in finding inspiration - browsing, information encountering, satisficing, and serendipity.
My full MA dissertation and my related paper and presentation from last year’s ARLIS (Art Libraries Society UK & Ireland) conference in Glasgow are all freely available to download from my Humanities Commons page here.
Last but not least, my main creative project of the past nine months has been a life-changing collaboration with my husband, Alexej. We’re currently expecting the birth of our first child any day now. I’ve been lucky that both me and the baby have been healthy throughout the pregnancy, with only minor aches and pains on my part. In a way, being in lockdown and working from home in my third trimester has helped me to avoid a lot of the stress and strains of everyday life. Now that I’m less than a week away from my due date, Krümel (her in-utero name, which is German for ‘crumb’/small child), and I have been cramping each other a bit. I think we’re both looking forward to having her be external from me.
It’s a bit ironic that the last couple of weeks have been a bit of a creative resurgence for me. Of course, becoming a parent is a huge change, and I don't expect to have much time for anything else over the next couple of month. However, I’ve been doing a lot of necessary, behind-the-scenes work on my Etsy shop and website, as well as creating a new greeting card design.
It’s not a coincidence that this new design features two emperor penguins looking down at their chick. The inspiration behind the name of my Etsy shop, Owl & Penguin Prints, was Alexej’s affinity for penguins, and my affinity for owls. We’re looking forward to welcoming our own chick to the family!
Penguin and chick - greeting card
Now available to buy from my Etsy shop.