January 21, 2011

A shift in perspective

My BA is in Ceramic Arts. I had visions of opening a little storefront, where other artists could rent shelf space. I would sit behind the counter, sculpting and playing with my art while I tended the store and my children. I would set up painting and sculpting classes in the back. These visions lasted until about 6 months before graduation, when the relationship I thought would sustain me fell apart. 
My first piece, and what got me hooked on ceramics
There has always been an emotional component to my art
Improvements were made
Abstract. My senior final piece.
Functional art.
I could have been a starving artist, but there was no way I could make my children starve for my art. I put my dreams away, pulled out my computer knowledge, and went to work for corporate America. I still dabbled in clay, but when I hurt my back it became impossible to lift and knead anything. I stopped creating.

Several years later, I found polymer clay. I started creating again, and dreamed of at least adding to my income with my art. Turns out while I love to play, I suck at selling.
Guess I'm not alone in that...
The only place I ever sold anything was the holiday craft fair at my job. Creating became a yearly rush, to make Christmas presents for my family and stock for the craft fair. I would try to carry the impetus forward into the new year, but would always find myself burned out by January. I would stop creating, until September or so, and the mad rush would begin again.

Last year, I carried my momentum forward into February, with the help of Facebook. You can find my page here. On it I posted pictures of my ornaments and the new pieces I was making. Then, I'm not sure why, I stopped creating. When I was fired in August, I had no impetus to create for a holiday craft show. When I thought about pulling out my clay, I made excuses about shakey hands (my thyroid condition), and I denigrated my talent.
Dave Kellett @ sheldoncomics.com has it right. I should buy stock in Krispie Kremes
I'm telling you all this because of an encounter I had today. I met a potential new friend who has me thinking about my art again. She makes a living as an artist. She's not rich, but she's living the dream. She talked about maybe having me (or someone) help her with a mural she has a bid in for. She talked about having me (or someone) help her with another project. She called me an artist.

I haven't called myself an artist in a long time. I didn't consider the ornaments I make, art. I considered the other pieces I did, crafts. I know I'll never make a living making ornaments.

She woke my dream. I'm dreaming again of being paid to play with my art.

It's not a dream I believe in. It's like the way you dream when you buy a lottery ticket. Do you really believe you'll win? No. Do you plan what you'll do with the money, anyway? Yes. Right now I'm buying the ticket, and the ideas are starting to form. Not what I'll do with the money when I'm rich, but what I'll do. What I'll make.

I feel like creating again.


Amanda@runninghood said...

This is fabulous! You do it! Reminds me of my mom. She gave up her job at 54 to move to Oregon and live her dream of being an artist. It hasn't been easy but she is amazingly gifted...no formal education for her. All from her soul...she wakes up with these visions to paint and they are amazing. She now has her art in several places around Oregon, included a gallery in Cannon Beach. She just sold a $1600 painting (2 of them) to a couple families for Christmas gifts and she continues to amaze me every day. I try my best to support her and help her live her dream and use her gifts and passions. This is when we feel the most fully alive! When we are following our passions and using our gifts...I believe that this is one way God uses us to let our light shine. So, I say go for it...do it here and there and Yes, you are an artist! You've got a gift that not everyone has. Use it! You only have one life to do so.

Teamarcia said...

Good for you! You are so talented. I am thrilled you feel like creating again. Who knows where it'll lead? At least you're putting yourself on the road!

Amy Boukair said...

While I fully support the Krispy Kreme backup plan, I support your art more. The ornaments you made that I hang on my tree always bring the most attention - and the most compliments! You do have a true gift, and you SHOULD use it. Like my writing - motivation isn't in steady supply, but when it's there take full advantage of it. I look forward to seeing your new creations, and hope that you can become a part of the mural project. You ARE an artist - functional or not. :)