Revival / Resurgence / Reawakening / Revitalization
I’ve had a surge of familiar energy as of late. Familiar but a little different. It’s a kind of urgency coupled with exhilaration. I’m about 18 months out of grad school…been plugging along, livin’ the life, as they say…my life revolves around clay, craft, art & design. I’m employed as a production assistant in a small ceramic design/production studio, making things out of clay for $, and I have a studio for my own personal work. They may say I’m “livin’ the life,” but it’s not that simple. Immersing oneself in one’s passion is a big step, especially when that passion is not a traditionally lucrative vocation. Sustaining that path is quite another.
I’ve been looking for a job with an arts organization in some kind of administrative/programming type role. My applications are met, mostly, with silence. In following up I learn that, in many cases, the job was awarded to an applicant with a masters in arts administration. I keep plugging away, however; I spend 10-30 minutes a day looking through want ads, occasionally finding an opportunity worth pursuing. In the meantime, my studio practice is not sustaining itself. I feel the screws tightening. The go-to: make pots!
Over the past couple of months I’ve doubled-down on my studio time, stretching out the days, extending the nights. I’ve powered up my Etsy shop, been accepted into a holiday sale and started to familiarize myself with this buzzword I’ve been hearing a lot lately, analytics. I’m trying out ads on Etsy and Facebook to increase traffic and gain followers (is it worth it? how much do I have to spend before someone makes a purchase?). I’m getting into it — the business side of this business.
And, finally, after months of wishin’ and hopin’, I’ve secured a studio space in a more convenient location. This will undoubtedly increase my productivity. Plus, I’m just STOKED! I’m overflowing with enthusiasm and optimistic vision! Sure, there’s no heat or microwave and the only sink is in a bathroom shared with an unknown number of fellow tenants…BUT I GET TO BRING MY KILN! My precious Skutt 1018 has been hibernating in Hood River for (holy crap) 10 years. It will be a joyous reunion. I won’t break a bottle of champagne over her inaugural firing in the new space, but I’ll probably be drinking some. 😉
And the pots…the pots are fun! I pretty much started where I left off before grad school, but things are quickly evolving. The response has been encouraging. The sales have been few so far, but I have my doubts about this Etsy stuff.
I got so discouraged in my quest for a full-time job with benefits (a job in which I know I would do well, enjoy and be proud of). It took panic (minor) and the frustration of making ends meet to get me to admit that there’s this thing that I do really well, a thing that others appreciate (even love), and it’s silly I’m not pursuing it relentlessly. I’ve worked so hard to become good at this thing, it’s just damn right disrespectful to my skill, to the craft, to not fuckin’ TEAR. IT. UP. So here, I go…