Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dormant Gems

My first art show in 3 years opens in 5 days. Working on it has required some attitude adjustments. It's been scary, liberating, exciting, frustrating... There was one drawing that I had to do 4 times because the first time there was a freak accident with a glass of water, and the 2nd and 3rd times my paint was just too muddy. But I persevered!

Everything is coming together and it feels good to make a body of work that I am proud of and that fits a theme of optimism. The pieces are simple, because the feeling is simple.

The show is about something I have a hard time putting into words, because it's just something that's difficult to explain. Last summer I had sort of reached the pinnacle of pretty bad anxiety issues (mix some depression in there), and I just decided enough is enough. Something just clicked. I don't know how or why, but it did. Once I had made the decision to not let outside things dictate what I do and how I feel, well, it was like I had found hidden gems that had been dormant for 30 years. Except gems aren't alive, but maybe you know what I mean. I don't want to say that I am "cured" because I know that it will always take work to keep the gems from getting buried again. At least now I know they are there, and they are mine.

If you are in the Bloomington area, this show will be up for the month of March. The show will be up in Cincinnati at Fabricate in July, and then I will be putting all of the pieces up for sale online and will have them at fall craft shows. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


January has always been difficult for me. It's very gray here in Indiana, and I'm one of those people who have a hard time without a lot of sunlight. For Christmas, I got a "happy lamp" and I have been using it every day. It has helped a lot! But I've still felt really unmotivated, uninspired, directionless, and trapped.

I need to be able to go outside. I need to be able to walk around in my house in bare feet. I need to be able to sit on the porch with my dog, drink coffee and sketch. January does not allow such things. I lay around a lot, catching up on my favorite tv shows that I had to miss out on during my holiday craft show season. I look at Pinterest for inspiration and ideas. I check Etsy to see what things I can find that are amazing. I think about drawing. And then I don't do it. Well, not much. It's like I am surrounded by gray clouds that suffocate my creativity. I know, it's pretty over-dramatic.

Something happens in January where all of my energy (both physical and mental) just gets zapped. Little by little over the month, I gain the strength to "get back into it." It is a S L O W process. At this point I have gone through enough Januarys to know that these feelings will subside, the sun will shine again, it will get warm, and the need to create will re-emerge. After all, January is only 31 days.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Toot your own horn

It seems silly and braggy to write about how many accomplishments I had last year, but I am a firm believer that if you work hard at what you do, then you should be able to toot your own horn. So here, I'm gonna go ahead and toot it.

In 2012, I worked harder than I ever have. When you are a self-employed artist, there are no guarantees. Every day is a leap of faith. I know that every opportunity that I get is important, and I try to make the most of each of them.

In 2012 I did 15 craft shows, which may not sound like a lot, but it is a lot. There is obviously a lot of preparation involved, and sometimes I have to drive several hours to get to the shows. The more I do them, the more I like them, and I've really come to appreciate the culture that surrounds them. I feel like that's where I belong! I was accepted into Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago, which is sort of like the Super Bowl of craft shows. I felt like I had passed some kind of mile mark or something.

Part of my set-up at Renegade Craft Fair
In 2012 I made and sold 262 shadow boxes, 265 calendars, and 653 prints. (These numbers don't include all of the items I sold in stores around the country.) That totals to 1,180 things that came straight out of my head, went into my hand, onto paper, and into someone else's home. Amazing!

One of the tricky things about being a self-employed artist is figuring out how to get yourself motivated and figure out exactly what you need to do and when it needs to get done. I finally figured out a way to make goals and schedule them so that there is some flexibility. It's very simple and probably seems kind of stupid, but it worked amazingly well for me. It involved lots of post-it notes and a wall calendar.

I made my 6th annual Sadly Harmless calendar, which I really love and had a lot of fun working on. It was a big success!

2012 was also a big year for personal growth, revelations, etc... Being in the moment, making plans, having adventures: they are all important. While getting work done is a huge priority, having fun should be an equal priority. I'm still trying to find a balance, but just realizing how important it is for my sanity is a big step!

Visiting a secret beach is very important. Always bring freezie pops.

Thank you to all who supported me and my endeavors in 2012! What an amazing year.