The Show Must Go On

So, despite this muckety-muck, the show must go on. There is no place to go but onward. I am practicing mindfulness, stilling internal voices, centering myself into a state of calm. The fire will be put out when it burns up it’s existing supply of oxygen and we deny it further fuel. We remain responsive to the facts as we are presented with them, not the fear that gains a footing through knee-jerk reactions. Slow yourself down to get ahead of this, because the golem is a slow-moving behemoth, and the law of destruction is the reversal of the law of creation. I’m a hopeless optimist at heart, and I still believe that there will be something good to come out of this, though what, I can’t say.

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Forging Ahead

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about working in a retail gallery, is that there’s a constant flow of new jewelry, ceramics, clothing and visual art cycling through. I can study the material and design choices that all these artists have made, note their techniques, even try my hand at a few for practice, or see how they might work with other materials I’m using. It’s like the same kind of insight you’d gain from critiquing in a shared studio space in college. I also love having a reason to get to know all of these folks in person and through social media, as it helps me to talk up their work to potential buyers.

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A Home in Powderhorn

It’s that time of year again, the park is buzzing with activity. The jewel of the neighborhood, Powderhorn hosts people from all walks, coming together around this common space. It’s one of those things that can’t be described in words, you have to feel it to appreciate it fully. Mayday pageants, candlelight peace vigils, the PoHo Art Fair, Empty Bowls, voting, community pottery, youth sports, 4th of July fireworks, all manner of holy days and so on. Someone once told me that the Dali Llama once blessed the park, which I can’t verify, but I think the area is just magical. I’ve lived in 5 houses around Powderhorn over the course of ten years. I got married there, I’m still here.

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Celebrating Small Successes

Studies say that people who are encouraged to celebrate small accomplishments, also report having more feelings of happiness and satisfaction with their lives. Celebration is a reward for all the hard work and obstacles overcome to summit, and reinforces that our efforts were indeed worth it. It also sets the stage for subsequent successes, as it replenishes our social batteries with needed energy and affirmation. Everyone should take a break and party sometimes, especially now, because it’s my birthday week!

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All Reactions Are Positive

I love a good critique, especially one that points out flaws in the work, giving clues about what to improve the next time around. When I say all reactions are positive, I mean that if your work provokes a reaction at all, any reaction, that’s a good thing. If you can get someone to share their reaction with you, even if they hate it, they are providing useful information. The worst thing that can happen is to garner no response at all, then you’ve really got a problem on your hands.

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Rulebreaker

I’m coming from a background in image making and sculpture, I’m not a jeweler, and it shows. In addition to struggling with how diminutive sculpture is supposed to move with the body, and the challenge of making minuscule connections, I also hope that strengths from those other disciplines can be seen. Solving a design problem should theoretically be the same no matter the scale, balancing composition and the quality of craftsmanship should speak across mediums too.

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Red Hot Art: Love-Hate

The conclusion I’ve drawn from this little test run is that the venue was certainly not the right one for what I have to offer, and that the average hipster craft-fair goer may not be the best audience for my work. Don’t get me wrong, there are problems on my end as well, I have a great deal of revision ahead of me to improve upon my line. I find I’m uninterested in selling on Etsy for similar reasons. Too commercial, not enough soul, not enough of a purposeful, crafted experience. I want to create some kind of ritualized transaction, something meaningful to both me and you as the buyer. I want it to be about relationship building. But for the time being, these events are golden opportunities to trouble-shoot my craft, pitch and presentation.

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Logistically Challenged

Even after all the labor involved in designing and making, you still have to document, inventory, price and post to social media and blogs, send an e-newsletter blast, rework your booth display, physically pack it in and out and then man the event. Before that, you paid for the privilege of being there in the first place, or you paid for the web store that you are now left to drive traffic toward, or you work with a gallerist who always has their own ideas for your work, which you then consign. You need many of these to turn a profit, collecting fees seasonally, ebbing and flowing like like sap from a sugar bush, to be boiled down to a staggeringly small, but sweet, profit.

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Art Makes Meaning

“Art is not some fun add-on to life…Go back to the Ice Age and the artists then were still making art even when living constantly under threat from starvation, cold and predators … The need to express oneself runs very, very deep. Because of course, art’s primary role is not as an asset class and it’s not…

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Ritual Space-Time

It’s such a challenge to manifest the space and time to labor when there’s no immediate paycheck attached to the investment and the goal is a moving target. It’s a certainty that I’m always teetering on some quixotic precipice, and that plenty of family and some friends will shake their heads in private, but that’s okay. It may take months or even years to reorder creative process in a truly productive way after major life events. In the last few years, I’ve completed an MFA, had two kids, got married, bought a house as well as volunteered and toiled to earn my keep. At this point in time, success is any progress in the work, however small, so long as you don’t succumb to creative attrition and give up entirely.

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