Interview by Madeleine Dore
Photography by Bri Hammond
From quirky props to worlds made of felt, Melbourne based craft artist Kitiya Palaskas is known for her bright and cheerful, colourful and bold creations.
Possessing the charming and bubbly personality you'd expect, beneath her pursuit of play Kitiya holds a deep fascination for how we can approach creative work better while keep stress levels in check.
Kitiya shares how she has gamified her morning routine – because even the mundane should be fun! – as well as proves that it is possible to stick to the changes you make to your daily routine, most of the time.
My current routine is based on learning from the most awful routines I had in the past. I’m not saying it is all perfect all the time, but having a routine makes me so much more peaceful. If anything happens, it is easy to deal with stuff when life isn't so chaotic.
Some days I work at RMIT, other days I’m in the studio, so I have a few different routines that run throughout the week.
On an average day, I wake up at 6.30am, but that only happens if I go to bed at 10.00 or 10.30pm the night before.
Sleep has become very important – maybe because I’m older now, I dunno, I just can’t spring out of bed at the crack of dawn anymore feeling really fresh. If I want to be able to do things in the morning, I have to go to bed early.
I started doing morning meditation last year for ten minutes to start the day and help with my stress and anxiety – I have over 12 apps but I usually use Headspace because the guy has a calming English accent! I also have a growing collection of incense in my cupboard and so I’ll choose a different one each morning.
After I meditate I pick my outfit for the day which is a big deal, I have always enjoyed doing that. I try not to wear the same thing twice in a week so that it becomes a fun game – I feel like if you just wake up in the morning and go straight to work, it can be such a bummer so I like to treat myself a bit.
It’s important to do small things to treat yourself every day so life doesn’t feel like a chore.
It is actually amazing having a full two hours before I even leave for work to make breakfast and see my housemates. I usually have just a smoothie and boiled eggs, or I’ll prepare a frittata on the weekend or something. I usually make myself a tea or coffee and sit outside if it is a nice day and just have my breakfast in a really leisurely way.
I’ll probably check social media even though I am trying to cut down on that. It can be an endorphin rush, but sometimes I find it can also set you off on the wrong foot for the day if there is too much noise.
Part 4: Day job
If I’m working at my day job, I’ll leave the house around 8.00am and walk to work. It takes around 45 minutes so I’ll listen to a podcast. I’m really into Lore, Criminal and this weird aromatherapy one.
Part 5: Studio day
A studio day is usually a bit more relaxed. I will usually start off by putting on some music that is going to pep me up for the day, and I've been listening to a lot of bluegrass recently. Then I just do a refresh of the studio and tidy things from the day before.
In the olden days when my routine was awful, I used to never tidy anything until it would get so bad that I was working on a tiny patch of my desk and it would take me a whole weekend to clean it!
I then sit down and answer my emails. I try to stay on top of them even though I do find that kind of work dull, but it is obviously important to respond to everything in a timely manner. It’s also helpful to set myself a time for social media and emails so that I am not constantly checking in all day long.
I’ll then write a to do list based on what I have coming up and prioritise it. If don't have that big of list I might procrastinate and doodle around for ages.
I used to beat myself up if I didn't finish everything on my to do list, but I’ve become a lot more Zen because what good is that going to do for me? It just makes me go to bed feeling like a failure and feeling upset that I hadn't achieved everything. It just spirals into a super bad vibe, so I just let it be okay because there is going to be another day tomorrow.
The rest of the day is just me methodically working through my to do list and occasionally procrastinating and getting distracted by something.
Getting distracted can be fun, but it often leads to things getting really chaotic because you have to squish it all into the next day and it snow balls. But I think it happens to everyone and I can’t fight it because I have made some really amazing stuff whilst being distracted.
If I have a whole bunch of pressing deadlines my routine usually falls apart and it feels like I’m just chained to the desk in the studio, eating crumbs off the ground.
When it rains it pours – sometimes you’ll have nothing and you will just have your personal projects that you work on, sometimes you’ll have small jobs that are easily achievable and sometimes you’ll have a huge massive job. Once it is over I usually need an entire day to decompress and then it will just go back to normal.
After work I go straight to the gym because otherwise I won’t ever go. I usually meet up with my boyfriend so we can motivate each other.
We might go to his house or back to mine and make dinner, which I have usually pre-prepared. I pick a recipe and make it for the week. I love eating whatever I want, but I am trying to be healthy because I feel better physically and mentally.
My housemates will come home and we will just hang out for a little bit and catch up on what we did that day. Around 8.30pm I will pull out my computer or work on a small project I can do on the couch. I try to do something creative every day even if I’m not in my studio just to keep momentum going.
I love having lots of different stuff on the go because I am the kind of person who needs to be working on different things, otherwise I get so sick of something so fast and then burn out completely. Variation is key.
Around 9.00pm I will have my shower. I’ve been getting into natural products and have made my own soap, shampoo and face oil and slowly transitioning to products I have made myself.
Once I get all beautified I might watch a show in bed but I am trying not to do that because it wakes my mind up too much.
I’ve had to train myself to shut off technology half an hour before sleep, and so I do meditation at night as well. Reading also helps to make me tired as does doing some exercise in the afternoon.
"I think I definitely need to have a routine otherwise I feel out of control of my own life. I found having structure in my day helps to minimise stress and because I’m quite prone to procrastination making my work a daily habit minimises all that kind of craziness that can usually occur in my creative life." – Kitiya Palaskas