Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Work Space

My husband and I spent many months have been getting my Dad's house ready to sell.  We did a lot of painting, cleaning, fixing, sorting, hauling and throwing.

Dad had a LOT OF STUFF stored in the house and the two-car garage.  A lot of it was NOT valuable or worthy of hanging on to.

Of course, there are some things of his and my mom's that do need to be kept.  Right now, they're all in half of the front garage, part of the back garage, and also in an old vehicle stored next to the back garage.  Many of these things will need to be stored over the winter so my siblings and I can get together and divvy them up.  Many other things can be sold.  So I should be organizing all that stuff into piles of items to "store" and "sell."

But first, I thought, I should clean the house.

It started with a general house cleaning, and has evolved into a complete house makeover.  My work room, which used to be my library when I was writing "women's fiction" and trying to get published, was full to the brim.  Full of lots and lots of old books, knicknacks (pretty English dishes), stamps, paper, ink, adhesives, ribbon, stickers, more stamps, more books, magazines, seed beads, stone beads, bone beads, glass beads, metal findings, beads, beads, beads, finished jewelry, jewelry making tools, metal stamping tools, a torch, two desks, a wicker trunk, four 12x12x? plastic paper drawer units (each with 3 drawers), another plastic storage unit with 6 containers full of punches, clay, paints, and more stuff in every nook and cranny on every available surface ad nauseum.

I've managed to empty 3/4 of the room. 

Then decided it would be a good time to paint those walls that haven't been visible for many years.  However, that means I have to move out more stuff that I wasn't planning to move.  However, the family room is almost full so I need more space to temporarily put the things that are still in my workroom.  I also need to clear a path so I can move in a piece of Dad's furniture that I decided I wanted to keep because it will help me store some of my stuff out of site in a more organized way.

But first I needed to organize the two extra bedrooms so I could temporarily put some of my work room stuff in those rooms while I'm painting and sorting and organizing. 

And then I can sort and organize my stuff into piles of "keep", "throw", "giveaway" and "garage sale".

So you see, there is a grand plan! 

I'm just in the chaotic middle surrounded by my stuff!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Self-Doubt and Sleeplessness

I was out reading blogs today; haven't had much time for that in the past few weeks, but today I was out surfing my usual spots.  My dear friend, Delayne of Mayfaire, raised some interesting questions about artists and self-doubt that had me reflecting and commenting.  Since I haven't blogged in a while myself, I thought I would tackle the subject here.

Here's her original post:

I believe many artists have type A personalities.  We have to be self-motivated in order to do what we do; to voluntarily stick our necks out into traffic and honk our horns for the world to see.  We also have to be a little crazy, but that's a subject for another day.

I'm usually in love with each piece of jewelry I make, as I design it, but later when I put a price on it, it doesn't always measure up to the love I felt for it when it was a newborn.  Is that because time has passed and I'm more objective?  Or because it really isn't as unique and wonderful as I originally thought? 

Turning inspiration and ideas into objects isn't an exact science.  I  imagine all sorts of wonderful creations in my head that somehow don't translate well into reality with my limited skills and bead stash.  I see jewelry all the time on Etsy that I wish I had made, luscious, colorful, gorgeous pieces with character and complexity.  When I compare my final results to those superior pieces, I'm always dissatisfied with my own work.

I study those other artist's works, the craftmanship, the cut and quality of materials and the details of each design.  Why can't I do what they do?  Why isn't my jewelry as beautiful or unique as theirs?

I've heard that question countless times from others who are just starting out, and I always have an encouraging answer for them:  in time, you will find your unique voice, your niche.  It just takes time.  We all feel doubt to some degree or another.  We all compare ourselves and our work to those around us. 

Will the self-doubt ever go away?  Not so much.  But we can live with a little doubt as long as it inspires us to improve our talents, learn new methods, hone our craft. 

I think self-doubt is a necessary evil.  As long as we don't take it personal.  As long as we don't obssess over it and reduce ourselves to defeated whimps.  I believe we have the ultimate power because we can choose how to react to doubt and fear.  We can learn from it and dismiss it, or we can be ruled and silenced by it.

This is where we really show our type A personalities, because most of us continue to make art.  Most of us don't have a choice because art chose us, and no matter how inadequate to the task we might feel, creating art is as necessary to our well-being as water and oxygen.

As long as we sell a piece now and then, we know there are others who think our art is of value, so that soothes a little of the self-doubt.

Will we get rich?  Will we sell out our entire stock at the next show?  Will publication bring fame and prosperity?

Probably not, but the odds aren't quite as bad as winning the lottery.

As for insomnia, I used to toss and turn a lot, too, but my favorite anti-depressant takes care of that now. 

My trick with my inner Mean Girl?  She can only give me constructive feedback.  Then I feed her chocolate and chase her away!

Happy trails!