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An “Artist’s” Hobbies

Since I’ve been spending so much of my time lately not making art, and thus don’t have much new art to share, I thought maybe I’d share here some of the other hobbies I’ve been working on lately (although maybe “working” isn’t the right word). (Also it still feels a little weird to call myself an artist in this sense, hence the quotations.) 

Seed-starting, attempt #2.

Anyway, my biggest hobby lately (if you couldn’t tell from all my recent painting subjects) has been plants. I’ve gradually developed a love of house plants while living in apartments and rental homes over the last few years; it has evolved, now that we own our home, into an interest in gardening, propagating, and seed starting. We had our very first garden last year, in which I grew some tomatoes, peppers, basil, and strawberries, with mixed results (the squirrels and rabbits got to all the strawberries before I could, for example). I also tried growing mint from seeds on a bit of a whim last year, with a 100% failure rate (one seed sprouted, then promptly died; I blame it on the soil I used, which was old and didn’t seem to hold moisture no matter how often I watered it). 

I’ve had better luck with propagation, which is where you basically start a new plant from a piece of the old plant. I started with some easy plants — you can basically just break a piece off of a Christmas cactus anywhere, for example, and stick it in some water, and it will grow roots — and have tried some succulents and such the last year or so. Most recently I attempted a second round of seeds (this time with better soil): I planted some lavender seeds, along with some basil seeds that I harvested from my plants last summer. I also started some tulip bulbs in some containers, to hopefully transfer to the front yard once the danger of frost has passed. The instructions said to plant them in the fall, which of course I did not do, so this will be a bit of an experiment.

These little guys are actually the basil I planted from the seeds I harvested. They sprouted a little faster than the lavender.

Another hobby I’ve been spending more time with is reading. I’ve been an avid reader since I learned how to as a kid, and working in a library means I’m constantly surrounded by all kinds of interesting-looking books. For a while there I was basically checking out books and then letting them sit on a shelf at my house until they were due, but I finally designated Saturday afternoons as my “reading days” and more recently have been reading in the evenings before bed (because what else is winter for?). Last month my book club read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (a reread for me) and I’m trying to get one or two more books in on my own before I start March’s book club pick.

For anyone who was keeping track, I am still taking ballet class as well, though I’ve cut back to one evening per week (I was doing two or three, but it started to interfere too much with Fairy Tree Studios).

I’m a strong advocate of having hobbies that don’t just involve sitting passively in front of a screen — creative hobbies especially, or hobbies that get you up and moving around. Now that much of my art hobby has become more of a business venture, I find it more important than ever to have hobbies in other areas (or at least other mediums) that are completely for my own enjoyment, and not with the mindset of having to “sell” them to other people. (If that comes later, that’s okay, but my initial interest is what sparks the hobby, not the saleability.) 

That said, there is a lavender farm for sale in southwestern Michigan that I wish I had the means and the knowledge to take over… if you’ve been around for a while, you might remember that owning a space to host artist’s retreats is a dream of mine. Wouldn’t a lavender farm be a beautiful place to do something like that?

2 thoughts on “An “Artist’s” Hobbies”

  1. If I were listing my “professions” I’d be gardener first and foremost (I’m actually a retired herb farmer) then an author, and lastly an artist, so we are similiar but turned about. You are young and just beginning and artist first. I’ve always enjoyed painting, but never had the time. I hope to do more now. A lavender farm would be a lovely setting, but lots more work than you can imagine. I had only 7,000 lavender plants in a U-Pick field as part of my herb farm. Beautiful for the weeks it was in bloom, but lots of work. Happy growing…in all your hobbies!

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    1. The herb farm sounds incredible — how did you get started in that? I don’t know if it’s my age, or the pandemic, or the fact that we do own a home now, but I’ve been more and more interested in gardening and house plants and yard work. I’m even taking an online class now on growing and propagating plants. And I hope you do get to spend some time painting; I feel like any form of creative expression is always worth the time. 🙂 Thank you for the words of encouragement!

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