A Day in the Life: Sticks + Ink

I’m Kia, a full-time Mum and artist, and the person behind the moniker Sticks + Ink. I live in a market town in the South of England with my husband and two boys age 4 and 7. I start my day at 6.30am so I can get my children ready for school with time to ponder and play rather than have to rush. The school run is a great way for me to start my day; the blast of fresh air in the morning helps clear my mind and gets my head into a creative space. Before I set off on the school run I try and my get my chores out of the way so when I get home I can make a latte, turn up the music and get stuck into painting.
  
I work from home at our dining table in our two-up two-down house. I have to set my space up to paint every time I want to work, but thankfully I have mastered a good set-up; storing all my art materials behind me, and my works-in-progress on the wall beside me so I have everything in reach just a chair’s swivel away!

 


 
I start a painting day by switching on my hot wax melting pot and in the ten minutes it takes to heat I collage a quick composition in my sketchbook. A ten minute window provides just the right pressure to come up with something and force my brain not to overthink things. This is a trick I use to get my mind into a state of flow quickly. When the wax is melted I start with a base layer and then build up more layers with ink and paint. I stop around 12pm for an early lunch (usually a hot salad) and whilst I’m making a mess in the kitchen I get ahead and make packed lunches for my kids and my husband for the following day.

 


 
Around 2pm, I have half an hour left before I need to think about the school run so I go and lie on my bed with the window open, my fairy lights on and enjoy some white space. I have to take some quiet time to transition out of my, often, furious painting headspace, and back into Mum-mode. Reading in bed in the middle of the day is my little piece of luxury!

 


 
Full disclosure: Yes at the top of the bed photograph that is a bunch of laundry sneaking into the shot. I purposely didn’t crop this out out as Instagram feeds are so often curated to look beautiful and inspire the reader, but I feel it’s important to sprinkle in a few reminders that it’s all just curating and good styling. So, when I take some time to myself to relax I often have to shove a giant laundry mountain out of the way to do so. When I eyeball a chore that needs doing right when I’m about to do something for me I remind myself of the quote 'Art before dishes.'* So, whilst I can't ignore all my chores all of the time when it comes to my white space it’s definitely a laundry later situation!

I often put together a hot picnic dinner for the boys and I, and like to get outdoors and eat at the park, forest or beach (as much to do with the fact I believe kids need lots of fresh air and running around, and because my dining table may still be covered with my work!). I then spend quality time with the kids, often doing fun creative things together, and try to give them all my attention. I used to constantly feel stressed juggling kids and work so I’ve grown to be really disciplined that it’s one or the other.
 
Once they are in bed I often start working from my laptop. I tend to use my evenings to educate myself on things that will help my business. From Etsy SEO, to building my own website, or learning how to improve my photography, I read up on just about anything that interests me. Or I paint. Especially if I left all my paints out!  Alternatively, if I need to just recharge I throw Netflix on and veg out guilt free.

 


 
Whilst I try to achieve a slow and mindful life, I don't want to mislead you. About once a week my rebellious nature takes over and I do just about the opposite of the above for the entire day. I go to bed late, wake up late, rush through the morning, drop the kids to school just before the final bell goes, struggle through the day exhausted and go to bed feeling I've wasted my day. The next day I get up at 6.30am!

 

* ’Art before dishes’; quote taken from one of my current favorite books, ‘’Advice from my 80-year-old self’’ by Susan O’Malley. Read up on Susan’s tragic story and inspiring projects - it’s given me a huge shift in perspective.

 

 

To learn more learn about Kia's work visit her websiteEtsy, Instagram, or explore her

along with other artists in the CYL Squad directory.

 

SpotlightGrace GulleyComment