Hello Camp Now Campers!
Sophie (aka Captain Wedd) here again, reporting on the evolution. I’m writing to you from my home studio in Ghent, NY a few days after the snow suddenly came down in buckets, mid-April, after an unseasonably warm Winter.
As we near the end of our first 33-day social media campaign marathon, it has become clear to me that my current role at Camp Now has to evolve into something more sustainable. It is vital for the health of my body, brain and business, Sophie Wedd Design, which needs much more of my time and energy than I am giving it. The onslaught of more graphic design work than I can handle (without burning the candle at both ends) has changed my perspective on my freelance work. I am now able to clearly see that working for myself is my passion and my bliss, and that my business is something which I have been slowly building for years and should be my main focus now. It is what I dreamed of when I was young, but sometimes it seems too good to be true...
Working with Maze for over a year now has been wild and wonderful. Learning tidbits of her practice, Crealitation (based on the idea of creating your own reality), has taught me many important mantras, routines and lessons, that I have been able to apply to my own personal and professional life. Some mantras that have stuck with me are “the process is the point” and “love the mess.” Using little facets of the practice of Crealitation has helped me see that I need healthy working hours, boundaries, routines, and I just don’t have time for those at the moment. It has also helped me see that my Gift/bliss is Graphic Design, and that deserves my undivided attention.
However, the decision to cut down on my working hours, step out of a managerial hat, and move towards project-based design work only, was a bittersweet one, because I really have rocked it with Maze and the entire, wonderful Crew for the past year.
I was initially hired by Camp Now to do some web design projects, but then, as is the beauty of working at Camp Now, I was swept off my feet, and just like Dorothy I suddenly found myself far from sepia-toned Kansas. Before I knew it, I was an integral part of an amazing community of artists (mostly some really powerful women). I was in Oz (just to wrap up my metaphor)! Over the course of the year, Maze (aka Lizzie West) gave me more and more responsibilities and put more and more trust in me. Beginning in the early Fall of 2015, Maze asked me to act as the Crew manager for period of time, and I began to dip my toes in the waters of managing people, scheduling, in-office networks, organizational tools, big-picture strategy, and more, for the first time in my life. Maze has described our work together as me being her doula, helping her give birth to the project that is Crealitation, and as Captain Wedd, who helped build the ship that is just beginning to set sail.
I am so grateful to have had steady work, which has given me room to build my confidence, get out of financial panic mode and grow my own business along with growing Camp Now. Between how expansive the project is and how many shifting parts there are, I have also learned about letting go, being flexible and thinking of things as blueprints. I have gained new work skills such as team management, communications, writing, leadership and many hacker girl moves! I am very proud of all of the work we’ve done together. It is truly amazing how many different things have happened on a day-to-day basis since I started, how many different phases we've been through, and how far everything has come.
Another beauty of working at Camp Now, is that you’re constantly asked to research and learn new things that are far, far outside of your comfort zone, and then write up the steps you took to figure something out as manuals for others to use. As Maze says, we’re all sols (students of life) and boy do I love learning! Much of my time at Camp Now has reminded me of being back in college, perhaps because I’m working with young artists all the time and collaborating on a team, but really I think it’s the liveliness, energy and fun, and remembering how to do the constant juggle. As Maze always says, “the pressure makes the kettle whistle.” I seriously missed that pressure and excitement when I left school, and I found it again at Camp Now.
Anyway, as amazing as my year has been, I am currently working to lighten my load and train the Crew in most of the things I have been doing. Even if I weren’t cutting down on hours, Maze always says “no dependencies,” and so it’s best if everyone is ready to rock everything all the time, with or without a cog in the gear. I am now cutting my hours in half (from 20 hours per week to 10 hours per week) for the next few months, with the goal of moving towards project-based Graphic Design work only by the Summer.
Design is truly my passion, my bliss and what lights me up inside, and I really have to focus on it, for the sake of my soul. This is all in an attempt to find sustainability and healthy working hours for myself again, which is so much a part of the practice of Crealitation. It is a scary feeling giving up control over certain things, things I’ve been tending to like a garden, raising like a child. But everything is happening just as it’s supposed to, and I am absolutely thrilled to see how the next phase of the project goes, and how the next evolution of my role feels.
Upcoming design projects for Camp Now, that I am so, so excited about, are wrapping up the design of and seeing all of our promotional items printed, collaborating with a Programmer (yet to be discovered) to bring our Game platform to the next level, laying out the actual books and special edition boxes of Crealitation, and doing all of the packaging and label design for our retail items. In general I am excited about getting back to the role of Graphic Designer/Art Director and having the time to really think about the aesthetic direction we’re going in, what has yet to be designed and brought to market, what we are missing, etc. and step out of the ring of what at times can feel like fighting the clock, and just doing the necessary things to keep the ball rolling with Maze.