Sunday, November 15, 2009

On the Edge

"Slow" needed a slow edge, so I have been obsessively wrapping small bits of fabric into balls for it.

I know there is some sort of avoidance at work here since I should be preparing for my show in three weeks, but instead I sit and wrap little balls.

Ever since I started participating in shows, I've questioned whether I want to or not. The show itself is a lot of fun, and I do like being able to run with something I'm enjoying making and know there will be an outlet for it, but I am very thankful I don't have to do this for my livelihood.

Recently I read an interview with Susan Shie. Susan is legally blind and cannot drive (yet she still makes amazingly intricate artwork!) She said she wished she could hold a job, so she could just do art that she wanted in the evening and not have to rely on it for her living. What a different perspective.

I find when I'm preparing for a show, I'm always trying to guess what will sell, how much, which color. And I'm not very good at it. One year all of my funky crocheted baskets sold out, except for one, and that one was my favorite.

I read this post by Leni Wiener that captures exactly what I'm feeling:

"Everyone responds to art differently, and no artist will appeal to everyone. That is a fact of life. But for the artist to get lost in, to find meaning in, and to be fulfilled by the process is the reason we do what we do. There are certainly easier ways to make money. When artists start worrying too much about the end product--will it get into the right shows, will it sell, will other people consider it ground-breaking--we lose the real reason we create. For artistic people, there is a need to express ourselves through the process. The end result should not be the 'goal' and should not impact on how and why we create. Art is a selfish endeavor--in that, I mean that we do it to fulfill ourselves--if we get outside gratification, that is just the icing on the cake."

Back to wrapping balls.


arlee said...

Thank you for that reminder--i often wonder why i keep making--in the end though it IS for ME---if someone else likes it, and better still wants it badly enough to pay, that is the best feeling
wrapping wrapping wrapping!

louciao said...

Oh man, don't get me started with the dichotomy of making art to make a living or living to make art! The poor struggling artist syndrome is no joke. I do think it's important to show one's art--to get it out there, share it, release it into the world. But if someone is making art and crafts solely for their own pleasure, that's great, too.

I love your wrapped balls! And I love the random rhythms of your stitches on your Slow piece.

As for Susan Shie wishing she had a regular day job to make money, trust me, she wouldn't have enough energy left over to make art in the evenings, or even on the weekends. I gave up my job for that very reason. Back to being a poor, struggling artist again.

Chris said...

I have what is known as "a real job." It can really be a drag, but one of the best things about it is not having to sell the art I make. I just do whatever weird thing I want. I love those little balls, by the way.

jude said...

i have never done a show, and i can't get myself into profitable selling mode. i am stuck but i feel better about that in a way. i love these 3d dots.

jackie said...

Thanks for your comment. I'm sure many people will understand what you are talking about - when I hear that question,inside my head, 'what's it for' I get really worried as I never want to lose that feeling of being entirely absorbed in the process of creating for its own sake.

art spirit said...

Am loving all your fiber+stitchy creations! Am working on some fiber jewelry things right now too.
Been making stuff and selling it for many years now...with a show thrown in now and then..still better than working for someone least for me!
thanks for your blog visit!

cynthia said...

Thanks for that post Robin.I think this is something that a lot of us struggle with, especially as we have a show coming up. I believe that the end product often is less important than the fact that we are doing something. And if I was not working toward a show,I might not be doing anything at all. Sort of a catch 22.