It is supremely embarrassing to realize I have not posted here on the blog in more than a month, but that is what happens when I get immersed in a new tutorial. I am only coming up for air now to post a few new pieces in the shop and on Flickr. Some of these are pieces I made a month or two ago, and stockpiled while I worked on the tutorial, so I could add a few at a time as other pieces sold. I try to maintain about 150 items in the shop at one time, so twice a month, I add new things and rotate out some of the older pieces.
Anyway, while I have some "spare" time waiting on the new clay, I decided to get back to something I love to do but haven't had the time for in more than 20 years. I sewed myself some new clothes!
I used to love to sew. My Momma taught me how when I was 8. My first project was a simple dress I made for 4-H. That was the very first thing I ever made with my own two hands, and I know it is what got me started on this artistic path. I can still see it, a little beige, cap-sleeved sheath that may have had 6 pieces. Momma made the pattern for me out of butcher paper. It was beige because we couldn't afford to buy new fabric, and had to use whatever she had on hand.
I need new clothes after more than 30 years as a paralegal, wearing the "dress for success" blue suit, black suit uniform during the work week. A couple of weeks ago, I came to a startling realization: I am never going to be in the corporate work force again, due to my age, which is middle headed toward old; and my health, which is so-so. The jobs I want are going to the perky 20-somethings; and ain't nothing about me is perky anymore.
So, I am now and for the rest of my life will be a full-time artist and jewelry designer, probably below the poverty level. LOL
Am I happier than I was in the corporate world? Ask me on a day when I've had a sale or two and can pay the bills. There is a lot of worry for most full-time artists, and while it is something I dreamed of being able to do, it was only a pipe dream 5 years ago; and even then, I was thinking it was 20 years down the road. But, here it is, and I am trying to enjoy it.
Setting aside the worry, there are wonderful things about my "new" life. The best thing is that each day is my own. I can do whatever I want with it. I am learning not to feel guilty for sleeping in until 10:00, okay Noon, one morning, or staying up all night the next. I don't have anyone to answer to except myself.
The second best thing about working for myself is that I get to spend more time with my best friend, my Mother, Addie.
We have had some great heart to heart talks lately, really opening up to each other. I've never felt closer to her, and I think she would say the same about me.
Any of you who have visited my blog already know that my Momma is an artist herself, a landscape painter. We have had some really enlightening discussions about color theory and design recently. I have become so interested in what she does, that I have decided to take some art classes and see if I have any talent at painting.
Third, if I want to get in the car and drive through the countryside on a weekday to get inspiration, I get in the car and start driving. As small as South Carolina is, I can be on the Atlantic Ocean or in the Blue Ridge Mountains within a few hours' drive in each direction. Inspiration is everywhere around me.
I have also had some serious discussions lately with my friends and fellow polymer artists, Jill Kollmann and Ginger Davis Allman, about stress and pressure and creativity and being successful as an internet seller. We are all trying to figure out the magic formula, and I am learning about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and other marketing strategies. Jill and Ginger (and Ginger's computer Guru husband, Gary), are super smart about all this internet marketing stuff, and have been a huge source of support and encouragement for me.
Ginger is actually a customer turned friend, a co-conspirator in the search for the perfect cobalt blue translucent clay; and I am convinced Jill is a sister from another mother. We have so much in common, and when I need someone to vent to, or share a success with, I go to Jill.
Having key people to talk to is important. It is also a bit of a change for me, as my closest friends for the past 30 years were people I networked with on a daily basis in my paralegal job. Only a handful have maintained contact since I left my old job, and I am doubly grateful for all the friendships I have made through the internet.
Once I had the epiphany about not being part of the corporate rat race any more, I decided I want to be somewhat of a Bohemian. My old "black suit, blue suit wardrobe" has been relegated to the back of the closet. My new, handmade wardrobe is much less restrictive, more comfortable; and certainly bolder and more brighter.
So, if you see me gadding about town in a flowing turquoise and red caftan, or a busily-patterned batik print tunic, don't be saying to yourself "there goes that crazy, old, artist lady again."