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  • Writer's pictureSue Bulmer

starting all over again

Way back in 2008 when I first moved into my studio I started to make lots of different kinds of art. I was interested in textiles, printing, free machine embroidery, illustration, landscapes. i wanted to do ALL THE THINGS and spent several years after completing my foundation course just playing with art materials and trying out ALL THE THINGS - having lots of fun in the process.

I joined a creative business scheme in 2010 as I knew by then I wanted to try to make my art into something more than a hobby. the creative process gave me a sense of purpose and I loved the satisfaction that making something from nothing gave me. The scheme was run by Nottinghamshire County Council and myself and nine other artists spent a six months attending workshops, working through our business plans, sharing experience, collaborating and eventually exhibiting our work together. It was an amazing experience. During that time my work was critiqued and I decided instead of trying to do ALL THE THINGS I would concentrate on one thing - my black and white bird illustrations.

Over the next four years I built up my business going on to exhibit and sell at national events and taking part in mentoring schemes, artist in residencies, school workshops and even being a panellist at a Creative Question time at Nottingham Trent University. I wrote a regular blog which began to attract a good readership and I found myself saying yes to all of the opportunities that came my way. I travelled away to Art Fairs and Trade Shows and it took a lot of time and energy.

By 2014 I began to feel burnt out. My enthusiasm waned and I started to lose interest in making art just to sell, I felt it lacked soul and I began to feel like a machine. As much as I loved my work, my heart wasn't in it, everything seemed to be a huge effort and I felt like I'd fallen out of love with it all. I dropped off the blogging and began to take things a bit easier, life took over and I took some time out, instead concentrating on my NHS job. I was still sketching now and again but it took a backseat to life.

In 2016 Rebecca Kirk, a business consultant whom I had worked with a few years previously contacted me with an amazing opportunity to work with her as part of her life coaching business. I jumped at the chance immediately as something about it piqued my attention. Maybe I secretly realised I was ready for a change. I didn't foresee what a huge change this would bring about for me on so many levels.

During our time working together Rebecca helped me to distil down my passions, interests, skill set, knowledge base, ideal work life balance. She got me to question my own thinking and helped me to dismantle the self-limiting barriers I had built which were holding me back from living my true authentically creative life. Through working with Rebecca I discovered the profession of Art Therapy and went back to Uni to study Masters in Art Therapy. During my studies I felt a shift in my art work as I began to think about my creative process in a totally different way. As a result my work changed immeasurably and became more expressive, colourful and 'me'. I graduated in 2019 with a Distinction and as well as my art I now work as an Art Therapist.

This whole journey has helped me to realise that we sometimes stray away from our true creative path but unexpected opportunities come along which help us to realign. Small shifts can herald immense change and I will forever be grateful to Rebecca for coming back into my life when she did. I truly believe without her support and input I wouldn't be where I am now doing what I'm doing.

If you have ever thought about a mid-life career change but don't know where to start maybe you could check out Rebecca's Free Workshop or perhaps you wanted time to chat and ask questions about how it all works, in which case you could book a Coaching Taster Session to explore working together for a longer duration. I can't recommend it highly enough.

So that brings me to the here and now, working in a new career and taking my creativity to the next level, making work that makes my heart sing and makes me feel like this is where I am meant to be and this is what I'm meant to be doing. I feel like I'm back at the beginning, but I've done it before so I know I have it in me to do it again. I'm happy that you're joining me on the journey.

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