Last year I moved to Spain. Why? ¡Por amor! I had just finished my Masters after two and half years of studying, so it seemed like the right time to make a change and take a risk. I had no plan, I just wanted to feel free and go with the flow. I couldn’t speak a word of Spanish, I had no work lined up and yet again (I’ve moved around a lot!) I’d have to find my feet in a new city and country. So I knew it was going to be challenging! My experience over the last year has reminded me that nothing happens overnight, something I had previously learnt from yoga…P.A.T.I.E.N.C.E.
It’s one thing knowing you have to be patient, but another thing to actually be patient. It’s impossible to achieve a challenging yoga pose overnight, just like it’s impossible to be fluent in a new language after a year. Everyone is different and everyone progresses at different speeds. Everyday I try to remind myself to have patience, not just with others, but also with myself.
When I first arrived in Spain every other person I met suggested that I teach English. It surprised me! Why would I be a good English teacher? I’ve never learnt how to teach the language! But apparently just being a native speaker is enough, so I did try it for a few months and although it wasn’t my dream job, it did lead me to other opportunities where I can speak in my own language, but also share something I’m passionate about…Yoga in English.
Every morning I like to have time for myself. It’s a luxury that I started to enjoy after I became self-employed and especially after I did my yoga teacher training. I love to get up, have a cup of tea (can’t miss that important step!) and then sit down to meditate and/or practice yoga. It’s my weekday routine that helps to keep me slightly sane!
Sometimes I sit on my yoga mat and just drink tea and pretend I’m meditating, when really I’m just daydreaming or worrying about things! Of course on those days I don’t get the most out of my morning routine and feel like I’ve just wasted time. But I’m only human! Over the last year I’ve struggled to go deep into my asana practice, but I’ve discovered that even just a few simple poses can positively change how I feel.
A regular yoga practice, even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, requires discipline. It’s so easy to find an excuse to put it off. For me the only way to ensure I’ll get on my mat, is to create a routine with dedicated yoga time. Moving to Spain completely threw my routine up in the air and it’s taken me a while to adjust to the Spanish timetable and find my own rhythm that fits in.
Since last September I have been teaching yoga at Poise, a yoga, dance and English academy. It’s a beautiful space that felt like home the first time I visited. And now it kind of is my second home, because I’ve been lucky enough to turn a small corner of the space into my design studio.
I have studied and worked as a knitwear designer for many years, but now I’m living in a small city without a big fashion and textiles scene, so the only way I can satisfy my creativity is by doing something independent and through teaching. Luckily I have had the opportunity to teach on two design courses since I’ve been in Spain, at the Universidad de Navarra and Creanavarra. More to come in the next academic year…
When I set up my workspace in Poise I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do there. I was just really happy to have a place to go each day to be creative. I decided to let things flow and just see what happens.
I usually start my projects by drawing and quite often I sketch people. Sometimes I question why I do it, because it’s challenging to translate them into my design work. Maybe I don’t need a reason for doing them. Maybe it’s ok to just create for pleasure without overthinking what’s the end use. So I let myself have fun. I let myself be inspired by my surroundings. I let myself draw yoga poses just because I wanted to draw yoga poses. I let myself experiment and play around.
Drawing just for pleasure is meditative for me. I love to give myself the time to just sit, closely observe and sketch. The great thing about drawing is that you don’t have to mark down everything that you see. If I wanted to do that I’d take a photo. With a drawing I can be selective and I often like to work over one piece of artwork to create something more simplified, less literal and slightly abstract.
Recently I’ve been interested in emphasising the contours of the body, by highlighting the areas of light and dark. Rather than a gradual gradation of tones, which creates a more realistic result, I’ve been clearly dividing with strong lines to create a 2-dimensional appearance.
These drawings were done over the first few months of having my new studio space. Then I stopped. I started to question why I was doing them. I felt guilty for spending time on something that was just for pleasure.
Right now I feel that creatively my work could go in several directions, but I’m not fully committed to any, because I don’t want to say goodbye to the other options. I’ve never liked these sort of decisions! My head is full of ideas, but my rational thinking and desire for perfectionism usually knocks them down before they’ve even started to grow. So I’ve decided it’s time to just start sharing, even if I’m exploring several avenues that feel unrelated! Who knows maybe the dots will join together in the end.
Learning a new language and practicing yoga requires patience and dedication. You have to do a little bit everyday to eventually see some progress. So I’m going to apply that to my design work and take advantage of social media to keep me focused and motivated.
On my new instagram account (@k.katemawby) I’m going to be sharing my creative projects. I will continue to use my other instagram account (@katemawby), but for things less related to work, it’ll be more like a personal travel journal, or whatever’s going on in my life. I’m also going to be updating my blog a little bit more frequently…stay tuned!