Glass Half Full?
Photo by Andrew Wilkinson, published under a Creative Commons license

I must admit, I kind of shyed away from writing this blog post. 2016 was not a good year for me in many ways. But I have to remind myself that not all is bad, it is easy to imagine how things could have been much worse, and I should be grateful for what we’ve got, I guess.

The last year was a medical year. It started with our daughter spending one night in hospital in January. 2016 is the year my father in law fell down the stairs, broke his neck and – worse – banged his head really badly. It is the year in which I had two miscarriages (well, just one, really, the first one was in fact still in 2015, but I still felt its full impact in January, so I decided to count it in) and a surgery. The Brits voted themselves out of the EU, and expressed in that way their approval of a campaign which focused on EU-members living here, and claimed that was a bad thing. This feels actually quite personal. In the US Trump got elected! – not personal but really scary. Other world news are even less pleasant to watch. How can humans do all these things to fellow humans? – I have no answers.

me with green hair and a selection of messages in bottles

But also: my father in law didn’t die, and is actually recovering much better now than we hoped. Our daughter didn’t need another neuro-surgery (it was just a very bad cold), and also I am doing well now: And not being heavily pregnant, although I would have been happy about another addition to the family, definitely has its good sides, too. The UK are still part of the EU, and although no-one seems to know what they want from the break-up, the economy is still running. And 2016 is also the year in which I dyed my hair blue/green (I still feature with green hair in my son’s pictures, and he occasionally asks me when I will dye them again), somthing I had wanted to do since I was a teenager. We bought our house which we love, 2016 is the year in which I got my first real studio – and I love it! For this alone I am very grateful.

Message in a Bottle No. 85
one of the bottles finished just before the move

It is interesting to me to see how the new location changed my work, or maybe didn’t. I thought it would allow me (and will lead me) to make more books and journals. But although I made some, the making of 346 has been the most important task for now and thus I see more continuity than a new start.

In the first three months, January to March 2016, I made a couple of messages in bottles from my small world series. (The first in this series was finished in July 2015.) These small world bottles were a preparation of the miniatures I started after the move for my model hospital room for 346, the book I have been working on since summer 2014, but more about that in a minute. I experimented with my new heat tool, and made some humble prints.

new thread, new colours

In Febuary I added SoMac thread to my supplies shop. For some reason it is not selling very well yet, but the thread is great, and all who sampled it were very happy. I love the thread and am very happy about selling it now. And I hope over time it will find its admires and faithful users.

In March I closed down both shops, and packed up my studio and stock. – And learned to crochet. After humble beginnings, I am now making crochet lace, made several blankets and toys for my children and nieces.

End of June I finally moved into my new studio, and since then I have been working on 346, mostly. But I also made a book for this year’s “We love you books: Dot / Dash” which got accepted, made a “woman with hat print” (of which I still didn’t take better photos, sorry), and my first ever crude wood cut.

screenprinting equipment

I also bought a Yudu (screenprinting) machine and equipment and am looking forward to a screenprinting extravaganza once 346 is off my table. And with that I am already on the topic of looking out to what the next year might bring. I booked myself into a 16 week “finish your novel” course. – Who knows, maybe I’ll indeed finish my novel in that time. Before the course starts (in Febuary), I want to finally finish 346. – And it currently looks like I might manage. I really hope I will! almost three years is the longest I ever worked on a project (outside my phd-thesis), and it is really time that I get that off my table!

So, I started out with this blogpost thinking this year had been rather bad, half-empty, so to say, but I end with my post thinking it has been at least half full. Or maybe really full: the new studio beats most other disfortunes.

What I would like to do better and improve on in 2017:

  • Blog more, blog better, in particular get the interview series (which I had on here very briefly) going again, maybe also my literature lists, my worktable feature, …
  • finish 346, finish my novel
  • find more time for walks.

And with that I am wishing you a great start into the year 2017 which hopefully for all of us will get better than 2016!


2 replies on “2016 – A Look Back and A Look Forward”

  1. What a year you have had Hilke! I admire your ability to see the good amongst the bad. I think it’s a skill we are losing, and yet it is what will allow us to live happy lives. I’m pleased you decided to sharr your review of 2016 in such an even-handed way. It’s so inspiring to read all you achieved in the context of everyday life for you. Wishing you all good health and over-flowing creative inspiration to you!

  2. Thank you, Amanda, for your comment and your good wishes. May the next year be a good one for you, too. I would love to see you settling down enough in your new home, and getting well enough to be able to share some work. But most importantly: Take care of yourself, and stay positive. Indeed this seems very important to me, to remind ourselves of the good things in our lives and focus on these. Love, Hilke

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