Friday, December 12, 2008

I had an epiphany!

Coming home from last week's show, I started to really think about changing what it is that I do.

I've felt this way many times before, but fear and doubt caused me to continue on the same road.
I have many other interests, but my connection with polymer clay has kept me from pursuing those interests. I have been sculpting since 1982 and I always joke that I'm going to die with a piece of clay in my hands.

But there is a voice inside of me that is not satisfied with the ways things are going for me. I feel like I'm not growing as an artist. I have the same old ideas; I pump out the same clay babies, year after year. Sure, sometimes they are a different color, some are smaller, some are bigger, but, in the end, it's the same stuff I've been doing for years and the medium is the same.

At my show, I took a good look at myself, at my craft. I saw flaws in my workmanship. I felt guilty when people purchased my product. If they complimented me on something, I felt the urge to point out the imperfections. (I didn't do it, but I felt like it.)

I have also noticed that I procrastinate when it comes to working on my clay. In the middle of making something, I'll get up and go wash the dishes or sweep the floor. I found that the clay seems harder to work with and I'm constantly dropping pieces to the floor, as if I've lost strength in my hands.

As I ponder all of this, I think to myself, is it time to put the clay away for awhile? Should I take the leap of faith it takes to start something new? I'm going after a graphic arts degree and feel that there are so many things I could do in the field, right in my own home on my computer.
I love to paint and do collage. Could I make any money at it?

I have been struggling with this for quite awhile and wonder if it goes with the territory of being an artist/craftsman. I think about this all of the time and wonder if it's time to reinvent myself.
The first week of class in January, my instructor asked us to write down why we were in his class, and one of the things I said was that I wanted to reinvent myself. But what have I done to even begin that process?

As the year winds down, I am going to make some major changes that I'm going to implement in the new year. I know I will continue filling orders for my cake toppers if people want them. This is a nice supplement to my income. However, I'm going to work hard to come up with a new idea that will have nothing to do with clay. That's going to be hard for me. But, the desire is so overwhelming, I might get used to the idea.

My dream is to one day have a home office where I write and design. The clay is in a box in case I need it for a project or an idea. My mind is open to a lot of possibilities. Now it's time for me to make the move!

One final thought. At my last show the woman next to my booth was a polymer clay cane artist. She had a few things on her table mixed in with her sister's jewelry. Although the woman was nice, she kept name dropping all of the clay artists in the "industry". I found this very boring, because I don't really care about that aspect of clay. I have discovered over the years that those people are good at what they do, but their art or designs just don't interest me. The woman invited me to a clay guild meeting, but I declined. She seemed appalled that I wouldn't want to go. She said, "Even Donna Kato shows up sometimes"..(For those of you who have never heard of Donna, she is a polymer clay artist who is the inventor of Kato Clay.)

I told the woman,"I'm just not interested." She dropped a few more names and I continued to decline.

Afterward, I found it interesting to myself that I almost was put off by her enthusiasm for knowing a few artists who's names are well known in the clay world. This just added to my epiphany that maybe it's time for a change for me.

I must confess that even though my blog is called Polymer Clay Ponderings, my focus is going to be more on reinvention, motivation, simplicity and creativity. I will continue to talk about clay though, as I may use it in other projects and I will continue to do my cake toppers. So please stick around. I hope that I can inspire and inform those of you who already create, want to create, or don't know what to create!


Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor said...

I understand that need to reinvent yourself. I have been a crafter/artist for many years and have found myself pursuing many different types of mediums. I often though it was not very focused of me to be always trying new things, but in the end, it has made me more versatile. I think learning something else every once in awhile makes you more creative at what you are doing. Good luck in finding the reinvented you. She is in there dieing to try something new!

Tracy said...

I wish you much luck in whatever path you choose to take!
I loved my cake topper (it was the one with the bride and groom surrounded by zoo animals) and would totally recommend you to anyone! In fact, I mentioned you in more than one blog post and I also gave your name to the company that made our cake! I'll be interested to see where you go next with your creativity!

ps. We got a new, much bigger, dog who also liked the cake topper. Unfortunately, his admiration meant he pulled it down off the shelf and chewed it up. Thank goodness we got such wonderful photos of it before that happened. Ugh. Naughty beast! : )

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