Janna van Hasselt on creative practice and new motherhood
Looking back on Aliefka’s first year in this world, it has been truly joyous and also the most challenging of my life so far. I am still learning to slow down and let go of parts of the independent lifestyle I used to relish.
I have shifted focus towards a more meditative practice; perhaps inadvertently saving energy for my new physically and emotionally demanding role. When glazing or painting a repeating pattern, one part of my brain is freed up which allows me access to a deeper state of consciousness. It feels amazing to focus on just one task. I’ve been working on a smaller and thus manageable scale and feel more relaxed making work which can be stopped at a moment’s notice and picked up again easily.
The porcelain forms can be poured quickly and left to thicken on plaster slabs between naps. While I can’t control their shape, I impose regular patterns onto their fluid forms, a juxtaposition of structure and randomness; a little like an average day looking after a baby! The introduction of precise watercolour backgrounds is a continuation of my research into mimicry and camouflage with some glaze marks more successful than others at blending and mirroring their surrounds.
I have been really productive since Aliefka was born; I savour any moment I get in the studio and am learning how to truly maximize my time. Gone are the days of procrastinating– naptimes are unpredictable and precious and I have discovered a new level of creative energy, focus and pure enjoyment in what I am doing. I hope all mothers have some kind of outlet purely for themselves alone; keeping up my creative practice has kept me rational and given me renewed energy to be the best Mum I can be.