‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that…’

Ten vital facts

I haven’t written a blog for a long time and I apologise. This isn’t so much a blog as a nod to the world of Facebook: ten amazing facts about being self-employed and, more specifically, a self-employed artist.

I’ll write a proper blog soon. I promise.


1. Spiders love studios and the big ones especially enjoy snuggling up to artists when they are doing something fiddly with Indian ink.

2. Moths hate studios and will take any opportunity to kill themselves by adhesion to wet prints, especially if they can achieve this by being chased onto the print by a cat.

3. People are uneasy when you open the door to them mid-afternoon wearing pyjamas, a woolly hat and a large apron splattered with scarlet, but the couriers get used to it.

4. It is entirely possible for an artist who is no longer bound by a school timetable to lose track of time. My clock stopped at 2 o’clock and I believed it was 2pm from about 12pm until 6pm when I wondered why it was dark at 2pm.

5. The people of Radio Four cannot hear you shouting however loud and shouty you get. This is probably a good thing.

6. The Archers are not your friends

7. You can play the honourable game of ‘self-employed poker’. The rules are simple: you call a self-employed friend and say ‘I had an abscess on my molar (simple colds and slight aches are not acceptable) and still taught/saw a client/met a commission’ to which your self-employed friend says ‘I see your abscess and I raise you an ear infection, a high temperature and a class of disaffected teenagers’. At the end of the year the most extreme illness wins.

8. Your excellent sense of colour and composition will make choosing household sundries a nightmare. Hours spent on the Internet because it’s obvious that every ironing board cover you see has been designed by a moron on crack cocaine.

9. Visitors will want to improve your studio for you. In my case they usually want me to add plumbing. I suspect if I had plumbing they’d suggest a fridge or a small kitchen or a Jacuzzi. This causes me the conflict of pride in being as hardy as Bear Grylls in my primitive hovel and tired because I thought through the plumbing conundrum long ago and have decided a bucket is the answer.

10. You describe real days off as days off-off because simple days off always involve work, but in a lesser sense; perhaps a trip into town to buy supplies for students (trip into town yaay!) while the day off-off is a wonderful but slightly anxious time where you take a complete break from work, but know there is something missing. A bit like leaving your baby behind at a service station.

Bonus Fact

Your family will give every appearance of being completely unimpressed by the original artwork you send annually as a Christmas card, but look hard enough and you’ll find the drawer where they have carefully stashed each and every one. Do not mention your find to them, it will ruin everything.


13 thoughts on “‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that…’”

  1. I enjoyed that! Maybe you could incorporate the spiders’ effort with the Indian ink into the prints, a sort of abstract texture?

  2. Oh this made my day and made me smile (a lot) and laugh out loud on several occasions. Keep up the good work you’re doing a sterling job”

  3. Laura Boswell, you may be my daughter-in-law but I love you dearly. I am so happy that Ben chose to marry someone who was so much what I had always wanted. You are funny and clever and thoughtful. Having said all that, if I could afford it, I would happily pay for plumbing and better electricity for your studio and Ben’s workshop because a bucket is not enough and you need better heating. Won’t stop the spiders though. XXX

  4. Well said! I’m glad I thanked you for my Christmas print – always appreciated and kept. Blog is a damn good read too. xx

  5. Hahahahahahaha!!!! My life all summed up! All apart from the special combination tricks we pull off to get ‘the other stuff’ done so we can crack on with the real stuff such the toilet-socialmediacatchup-lunch-email-dogwalk-schoolrun break!

  6. I can relate to so many of these. I’ve often been to the shop in my dungarees covered in clay/glaze, only to find when I get back it’s also on my face and in my hair. No one takes any notice anymore – perhaps they’re used to it ?
    Love your facts – really made me laugh !

  7. Ohhh I love this post, brilliant! I have not (yet!) been a self-employed artist but I have been self-employed, and this made me smile – especially the afternoon woolly hat/pyjamas and the shouting at the radio. Thanks for making me feel like I can embrace my eccentricities! 🙂

  8. Ha ha ha! No 8. And every ‘quirky but cute’ ironing board cover/tea towel/pillowcase/cushion cover has been designed by one of the entire world intake of Emmas, all graduated from the same BA in Surface Pattern…

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