Beyond the Long Week

“In the middle of a difficulty lies opportunity.” ~Albert Einstein

A long week
(August 2023)

Life has a way of challenging any plan. This week and last I have been home with my husband taking care of him after knee replacement. Without going into detail, it’s been a week; a very long week. I thought I would be able to make small pieces, take some photographs of my work, do some writing, and generally be productive between putting on ice wraps. As it turned out, a lack of sleep and increased stress cannot be combined with productivity. 

The life of an artist is not a 9-5 gig. Making is a smaller portion of the artist’s task than one would imagine. At least half of the time an artist is spending marketing. There is also time creating other revenue streams, like teaching, writing articles, or paid lectures. On top of that is social media where you develop a brand. It’s a long to-do list. 

Yesterday I had to stop. Just stop everything and sit on the couch. The interruption forced me to think. Am I selling anything? No really. Not yet. Is that my goal? Do I have a goal? Why am I making stuff? The answer might be to keep my mind going into the  abyss or maybe just a simple distraction. 

The reason I am considering writing as my creative outlet is  that writing does not involve a physical object which has to be stored or exhibited or sold. The output of the process does not require an audience. 

Writing is not what I did in my working life. It’s a new direction without the trail of followers I have in the art quilt world. Becoming a writer that no one reads is me creating an alter ego. I can run away from reality on the page or, as I am doing now; reflect on my current situation. I may be completely naive to think I can just become a writer by declaration. Of course, anyone can be a bad writer……

8 weeks Later….

As I read this post, I am thinking of how quickly change happens and how little I realize the change until I reflect. 

When I wrote “A Long Week” I was in the middle of August when my husband was healing from knee surgery. This was after having a hip replacement earlier in the year. Clearly, I was exhausted.

I mentioned in the “long week”  that being an artist isn’t a 9-5 gig but it is a part of my everyday routine. I am always involved in a project whether it’s a large scale art quilt destined for an exhibition, small compositions stretched on canvas, working in a sketchbook, or greeting cards. That creative routine was interrupted for more than a month. 

Today I am looking forward to an exhibition at our museum. I have had two solo exhibitions. I approached the best gallery in the Kayenta Art Village. At first the gallery owner said that “textiles don’t sell”. Then “we are pretty full”. A few minutes after sharing my Instagram, I was bringing in two pieces for her to see. An appointment was set and I am now showing four pieces. This weekend is their big fall art festival which will bring in a crowd of potential buyers.

I have started submitting work to an artist association in a community 40 minutes south of my home. It’s a much more engaged group than my local art guild. Their building has a beautiful gallery, gift shop, and extended teaching space. I have sold several small pieces and have nine items for sale in the gift shop. In the future there is an opportunity to teach. The association allows me to keep 90% of the revenue. It’s another way for me to expand my revenue stream. 

My plan to write has not been realized, but it has not been forgotten. Writing has to find a home in my creative routine. Of course there is this blog on my website which helps me (and possibly you) reflect on my artistic practice. I want to go beyond that limited output. Over the next month I will be thinking about where I can create space and time for a larger project. 

I’ll keep you updated….