So. 2017, hey?
So much shitty shit shit happened around the world that I kind of didn't realise the (somewhat) fruitful and fun year I had until looking back on it now.
There have been ups and downs to be sure, and I don't feel that I managed to achieve all that I set out to do at the start of last year, but all up I think it was a pretty good one, obviously if you don't count everything that was ever reported in the news in 2017 ever.
On a personal level, the biggest thing that probably happened for me this year was that I moved back to my hometown.
At the start of March, my husband and I made the well-trodden journey over the Nullabor from Melbourne to back to Perth. It's the fourth time we've moved across the country together, and the eighth time I've done it in my life. And it's a move I'm still coming to terms with—it's not one I would have made independently, and it's one I argued against, but here I am.
Not to suggest I was forced into it, at all. Ultimately, the decision to come back seemed to make the most sense financially and we reached it together, but that doesn't make it any less painful. I've spent my whole adult life up to this point searching for a place that really feels like home, and the irony is I found it just before I had to leave it. I left behind the one neighbourhood I ever really felt a part of (ILY, Flemington!), a city that inspires me, a creative scene unlike any other in the country, and a lot of people I love, including all of my family.
I still hang onto the hope that one day we'll move back (honey, you listening?), but for now we're in Perth. We went from renting a teeny little two-bed built in the 1800s that I loved despite its many drawbacks, to buying a 1930s-built home I love despite it, well, not being in Melbourne.
Before we left Melbourne, I took a bunch of photos of my 'hood (also wrote a post about it for Outlier) that I still wistfully look back on. 3031 4eva!
2017 is also the year I started making ceramics. It started as a one-off workshop gifted to me by my husband on my birthday and then progressed to a TAFE course and now a little set-up at home.
It's not something I ever really envisioned myself doing. But I'm finding myself trawling Gumtree for kilns and looking into wheels and researching glaze recipes and buying respirators and discussing wax resist with the woman at the pottery store, and it's ... fun?
Don't let the science degree fool you: I am not inclined towards chemistry or maths in any way whatsoever; I had to use my calculator to add up 29 and 12 the other day just in case I got it wrong. And pottery—glazing, in particular—def requires some basic grasp on this stuff lest your work explodes in the kiln due to a dud glaze recipe. So for me to have an interest in this stuff is indicative of how swept up I've become in the whole thing.
Anyway, I'm still working on my first release of ceramics, which I'll hopefully begin selling from this very website soon, so watch this space!
Unfortuntely I didn't get a chance to travel overseas in 2017 (something that will be rectified in 2018!), but I did manage to get to a few different spots around the country. I went to Sydney for the first time in a few years and spent a few days hanging out with my sister who lives in Coogee, and also attended the Make Nice Unconference, which was so great.
In September, my husband Brett and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary, which rolled around wayyyy faster than expected. We spent it down in the south west of WA in Margaret River, thanks to my former boss in Melbourne who bade me farewell with a voucher for a two-night chalet stay in Margs.
At the time, Brett and I were in the midst of a six-week paleo challenge so there wasn't much drinking or indulging, unless you count the pizza we ate and the visit to Colonial brewery we made. But hey, you only celebrate your first wedding anniversary once.
I met a LOT of amazing people in 2017. Many of them were women, and many of them I met through Outlier. It's so outside of my comfort zone to approach people cold and then sit down with them to ask intimate questions and photograph them, but I sometimes forget that because I've been doing it so much lately. It seems like a small thing but it's something I'm proud of myself for doing. I hope to meet a lot more incredible women in 2018.
I also drew a lot this year. It was sometimes for work, mostly for pleasure (a ratio I hope to tip more in favour of 'work' in 2018). I also plan to draw a hell of a lot more for pleasure, too, as there were definitely times this year that it felt like a massive chore due to my mental state. While we're on the topic, def need to work on my mental health in 2018, too.
One of my fav commissions this year was to create a promotional poster and album cover for a Melbourne band called Lava Lakes. It was a really fun process to bring their ideas to life and I can't wait to see some of the merch I designed out in the real world soon!
I also participated in this year's World Vision 40 Hour Famine campaign. I created an artwork alongside 39 other artists on the theme of refugees and displacement, which is something I'm very passionate about. The whole thing was kind of a 'pinch me' moment—many of the other artists who also worked on the campaign are people I consider almost like my creative heroes, and it was weird and exciting to be part of a campaign that so many people saw and were hopefully moved by.
One of my other favourite jobs was from the start of 2017 when I was commissioned to create a two-page illustration for Treadlie, a really great cycling magazine that I've loved since its debut issue came out a few years ago. I didn't really like the final piece, but it was the first illustration I did that was printed in a nationally circulated publication, which was really exciting!
And here's just a small selection of things I drew for myself this year and actually like somewhat:
In 2017, I also managed to finally get a (loose) handle on animation, which is something I've been wanting to do for a while now. I hope to look back on these this time next year and cringe at how poor they are (translation: be way better this time next year than I am now).
In 2017, I also had a lot of fun doing lots of different things: weddings, parties, doggo playdates, Snapchat filters.
I have high hopes 2018 will be a great year—so many ideas and goals to get started on once my hangover from last night dissipates lel.
Wishing all three of my readers (lollll) a safe and happy new year!