Stick to the plan. Always follow through. State your goals then go out and achieve them. Uh-huh.
How about… follow your heart? Now there’s a classic.
So why am i spouting these cliches? because after reading Lydia Muell’s blog post from a few weeks back about being perceived as a “snotty, selfish arteest”, i finally realized why i’ve been so blocked!
In case you’ve been wondering why i’ve been so quiet: until our November show, i hadn’t torched at all for the past several months. Why? because i’ve been stuck. My mind would either be spinning with ideas – so many i couldn’t single out one to action or i’d think i had one and then sit in front of the torch and watch it flit away. I thought maybe i was in a creative slump… yet i still had lots of design ideas so i couldn’t understand why i couldn’t get myself to torch.
Looking back now though, i realize that maybe i was trying to force myself into being something i’m not. Since i started selling my beads last year, in the back of my mind there’s always been that practical little voice that would remind me of: 1. how much money i’ve invested in this art form (my most expensive hobby ever!); 2. my initial goal for it to bring in a certain amount of money each month; and 3. to be practical so i could recoup my investment as soon as possible. THEN and only then could i let myself relax and just make… ART.
But unfortunately it’s just not that easy. Life – at least my creative life – just doesn’t work that way. I’ve been trying to make beads to fit what i thought i would have wanted as a former jewellery designer and it’s just not working. Why? Because i can’t stand making practical, wearable beads. I can’t stand making repeat beads. I can’t stand making little beads. And i especially can’t stand the beads i make when i try to make beads to fit that perceived market.
I had myself on an “acquire specific beadmaking skills” schedule: ok, good donut beads? check. good pressed beads? check (sorta). heat control? check. basic technique #1: stringers? check. Basic technique #2: florals? check… etc., etc. The problem? B-O-R-I-N-G!!!! Plus, i don’t even like making any of those beads: i don’t give a damn about fine lines, dots or flowers. I’ve been able to easily encase since my first attempt but how often have i ever made encased beads? I could count the times on one hand.
What DO like? Easy… frit, powders and big chunks of hot sculpted glass.
So what now? i think i’ve decided to become a “snotty, selfish arteest” – not literally of course… Just that i think from now on i’ll only focus on making glass art (beads or otherwise) purely for my own pleasure regardless of whether or not i think they will sell. I’m just going to make whatever tickles me and see where i end up on this creative path. Of course I hope i’ll continue to have buyers who appreciate what i create but if not? so be it…
Don’t worry, I’ll still accept custom orders – they’re so challenging and fun i doubt i’ll ever stop taking them. On my own time though, from now on i’m stepping completely out of the traditional glass beadmaking mold. I will concentrate instead on just exploring my creative side through hot glass and making only what my muse directs regardless of how mundane or bizarre the result… should be interesting!
I hope y’all stay with me for the ride…
4 thoughts on “A “snotty, selfish arteest”.”
Just after I posted my previous comment I ran across this quotation on one of the many other blogs I read. I thought it was particularly apt:
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”—Judy Garland
Excellent post! I think most of us do our best work anyway when we follow our own path regardless of what we think other people will like. As long as we have a care for quality while we do that creative piece, we just need to look for the right audience for that creation — someone whose heart and soul sing a song similar to our own.
Interesting post – an so true! You know I think it really shows in what we make whether we are creating what is truly in our hearts. I had a request for some sets to put into collaborative pieces, and I thought it was a good idea. But my mind just blanked, the beads were sooo boring and I didn’t enjoy making them. I have decided I am most definitely NOT a set person – for now anyway!
I seem to find too that when I am on the path that feels best, life starts bringing things to me that encourage and feed my imagination and send me down paths I didn’t know even existed!
Follow your dreams ;o)
I just got a ping back on my blog from your link and came over to read your post. . .I COMPLETELY understand your woes. There was a time when I was 4 weeks booked on custom orders and NEVER had the heart to say “no” to a customer. I was just so grateful for those customers that it seemed wrong to turn them away. The stock market crashed and the custom orders pretty much came to a screeching halt. Bitter-sweet, I suppose but I honestly am enjoying this time to do some soul searching. I have found that when you throw caution to the wind, it comes back to you, only when it returns it smells like a sweet aroma. For in those moments of creative freedom, your arm seems to almost grow and as it does, it’s reach into your soul can extend to depths beyond your imagination.
Be a little selfish and do so without guilt or compromise. . .It enriches your soul and makes you smile. When you smile, you make other people smile. The next thing you know people halfway across the world will be smiling just because you took some time to be a “selfish arteest”. 😉