I remember how I felt this time last year, sitting in my empty studio, pouring over market applications. I felt desperate. I felt afraid. Full of self doubt. I didn’t know if I could make enough money to support myself and my business. I didn’t know if I would get into any shows. What if I don’t get in? What if I do? Are my photos good enough? Did I say the right things in my bio? Can I make enough jewellery in time? Can I afford to? What if nothing sells? What if everything sells? Should I make more? What if no one comes to the show? Am I spending too much money?
I know now…
Crickets are a part of the process. Putting yourself out there as an artist trying to make a living from her work is one of the hardest things. Growing a business takes time. Waiting is a part of the process. I struggle to sit patiently with the unknowing. I find it so uncomfortable.
Spending tens of thousands of dollars is part of the process. On market fees, on travel, on display, on tools, on materials, on meals, on workshops… it takes a lot of time, energy and money to make this business work.
Connecting with people is part of the process – the BEST part. The moment of meeting a kindred spirit at a market. Someone who loves the west coast just as much as I do, whose heart aches a little when she’s not there. She misses the wind and the waves and the mud and the salt. She loves that she can carry a little piece of the coast with her. THIS is one of the very best feelings in the world, in my opinion.
So far this year I have…
- Given myself permission to relax and ease into this new year
- Watched fireworks from a hot tub
- Sat with a circle of friends around a campfire
- Filled the first 20 pages of my new sketchbook
- Been home to the island 3 times
- Avoided my phone for a good three weeks
- Signed up for a workshop – because learning is a life long practice!
- Started working with a new store that I can’t wait to tell you about!
- Applied to markets for spring and winter 2018!
- Worked on settling into the uncomfortable uncertainty of waiting
- Played with an intuitive painting process* – currently there are 3 paintings on the go and 1 finished
- Hiked a forest trail down to the ocean
- Witnessed a double rainbow
- Listened to the ravens calling to each other while still snuggled deep in my bed
- Finished off the big bottle of baileys (not to worry, it was a group effort)
- Collected seashells
- Ignored my email inbox
- Celebrated Dad’s birthday
- Baked bread
- Started a sourdough
- Collected lichens – lung and staghorn and old man’s beard, oh my!
- Watched a pair of house finches forage in the blackberry bramble just outside my kitchen window
- Felt the creative juices start to flow again
- Read 89 chapters of Still Life With Woodpecker
- Breathed in huge, deep breaths of island air – so laden with damp I could almost drink it in
*If you’re curious, I’ve been following Flora Bowley’s work for a while now. She paints these vibrant, energized paintings. Her work is all about the process and not necessarily about the finished piece – and I LOVE exploring other’s processes, to see if I can incorporate anything into my own practice. I’ve gotten her book “Brave Intuitive Painting” from the library a few times in the past, and her new one, “Creative Revolution” dives deeper into the practice.