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  • Writer's picturesarahhawley

The Importance of Hobbies

I love fine art and photography. Both interests started out as a hobby before developing into what is now my art practice. Initially, I was drawn to art as it allowed me to communicate visually, and as a young, shy introvert; it was a way to communicate without speaking or even being in the same room as others. This form of communication also broke down language barriers which was of interest to me later on in my art practice.

I love being creative and finding new ways to create. Not just within my art practice and with photography, but in many other ways in my life too! It’s important to have other hobbies outside of an occupation that you love and enjoy doing. It helps prevent, boredom, creative blockages (like writer’s block), and becoming sick and tired of doing something that you once enjoyed.

In my art practice I make art in many different mediums including collage, silkscreen printing, painting, paint pouring, photo transfers, mixed media, photography and more. When I feel stuck on a project, it is sometimes best to step away for a while and do something else. That is when I usually turn to one of my many hobbies. As a welcomed distraction, this allows me to continue to be creative using a different medium or form.

I enjoy a variety of hobbies such as sewing. I often make curtains, quilts, pajamas or other garments that when I am finished and I use these items in my daily life, I get a real sense of accomplishment and pride to know that I made this with my own hands. Items that I have made can also make great gifts to give to others and when they know that you have made it for them, they seem to appreciate it all the more.

Baking and cooking is another hobby of mine. When I was a young girl, I used to do a lot of holiday baking with my grandmother for Christmas and it is something that I continue to do. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and I was unemployed, I spent a lot of my time at home, mainly in the kitchen, baking everything from goodies and desserts to breads and pizza from scratch. Again, I like the idea that I made something from scratch and that I can enjoy these foods with my loved ones. I am also becoming very health conscious as I get older and I like to know what is in the food that I am eating. It gives me peace of mind knowing that I am eating healthy, home cooked food.

I enjoy art and history and I often attend museums and art galleries to learn and be inspired by art and artifacts. I enjoy attending art exhibitions and artist talks or lectures, where I can

learn something new or be inspired by the work or life stories of other people who share a similar interest. Some institutions offer free entry, while others have an admission fee. This along with my availability, dictates how often I am able to attend exhibitions and other events. I find visiting museums and galleries very inspiring and educational and it is a great way to spend the day with friends and family who also enjoy this activity.

Travelling is one of my favourite things to do, but it is also one of the most expensive of all my hobbies. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that I don’t travel as often as I would like. Generally, I try to travel once every three years. This gives me plenty of time to research, plan out my trip and to save up some money for the holiday fund. I love discovering new places, meeting new people, leaning about other cultures along with the lifestyles, foods and recipes associated with that culture. Documenting these experiences is where I first discovered my love of photography (and photography is now a major part of my art practice).

Education and learning is something that has always been important to me, especially learning new ways to create. I have studied many subjects over the years and at this point in my life, I consider myself a “Student for Life” or a “Lifelong Learner”. I think there is power in knowledge. Subjects I have studied include Cosmetology, Esthetics and Makeup Artistry, Fine Art, Museum and Gallery Studies, & Photography to name a few. My Education has led to many different jobs and experiences that I would not have had otherwise. This includes working with people as a Hairstylist and as an Artist Instructor (Teacher).I have worked in a variety of roles at museums, galleries, an auction house and a historical site. I have had internships as an assistant in curation and collections management. I have lived overseas for a few years where I gained many life changing experiences. As an artist, I have participated in an artist residency, I have been commissioned to make art and I have exhibited and sold my work in many places around the world.

I don’t list all of these accomplishments to brag, but to make the point that education has led to many great things in my life. Having said that, I would also recommend volunteering

to gain knowledge and experience, which is not always easy to do, but it is what has also helped to get me to where I am today. Currently, I have an art practice on the side where I make art and photography and as a day job I also work as a Preparator for a few different art galleries. A Preparator, is someone who works behind the scenes in a museum or gallery to install art exhibitions, prepare the gallery spaces for exhibit, as well as pack and unpack artwork. It is something I have done for the last ten plus years and I still love it as much today as I did upon first discovering it. I consider myself to be very fortunate.

Overtime, I have learned that hobbies can become intertwined with many parts of your life. They have informed my art practice and they have led me to a career, life experiences and so much more. They have helped create a unique perspective that is mine and mine alone... and your hobbies could do the same for you.

As I have illustrated in this blog, I have lots of interests and hobbies. As a word of warning though, you must be careful not to stretch yourself too thin between hobbies, a career, life, etc. There is a delicate balance. I don’t practice all my hobbies all the time, just whenever I feel inspired to revisit that particular hobby. I think it should also be said that dedication and hard work is involved if you want to see significant life changing results ….. But in my opinion, the reward that can come out of a hobby (or hobbies) outweighs the effort.

Here is an example where several hobbies have come together. I baked a coffee cake and took photographs of it to add to my food photography portfolio. This was a delicious project!

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