Potter Julie Guyot has an interesting post up about those times when you're just not feeling it. Julie has been suffering a creative block for a couple of months, and right now, she's sort of hating being an artist. That's a tough thing to admit, because Loving What You Do and Following Your Passion is supposed to be the big selling point of being an artist. It's a brave post, and most makers will relate to some part of it.
The sentence I most related to was this one: "Several times I have seriously considered just giving up and getting a 'regular job' so that I can feel like a valued member of society. " I know how she feels. I find it endlessly aggravating that we live in a world that values my ability to answer the phone politely over what I do it the studio, or even my abilities as a ceramics educator. The only time I ever hate being an artist is when I am clicking those pay buttons and writing those checks, the ones that keep my household afloat. I hate when I have to decide which one can safely wait a week, or when i have to gamble that a check will come in before this other one is due. I got a check last week and paid two bills that were due, and it came to exactly the amount of my deposit. I had to bring back bottles to buy cat food; Doug and I will do just fine on staples - rice, beans, eggs, pasta - until the next check comes in.
I will count one giant blessing, though: I never, ever, hit a creative dry spell. I think maybe that's because I teach classes, and as part of my job I constantly look for new ideas and techniques for my students. I give to them, and to me at the same time. If anything my work suffers ADD: often I get distracted by a new technique before I have fully explored the last one.
I can relate to Julie's post, though, because it sounds like income-stress is contributing to her dry spell, and because I know how people behave as if what we do isn't really work because it's fueled by passion. (I invite folks of that opinion to come and grind shelves with me. Experience the passion!)
Anyway Julie says she'll keep plugging away until motivation returns, and I will think good thoughts for her, that it does so soon.
Paulus Berensohn Memorial Celebration
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