I was talking to a dear friend this week who is on sabbatical for three months from her highly demanding work as an episcopal parish priest in a large parish on the east coast. When I asked her what she was doing on her sabbatical she said jokingly but somewhat wistfully said “waiting for a vision”. She is ready for a change but not sure what or how or where. I know that feeling. We’ve all had it and always the question is what is the right next thing? I’ll tell you honestly I have never had a vision, I have never been totally clear of my next step, I have never been 100% confident that the path I’m on is the right one and yet I continue to wander on. I guess I’m comforted by the fact that every time a wander down an unknown path there is always another fork along the way. That this path I’ve chosen today has side paths and loops and other meanders. That’s all to say I just keep walking, sometimes it feels like I’m totally in the dark but I keep walking – vision or no vision.
I know I’ve talked to you all before about my rejection therapy approach to career development but it’s worth repeating here. I set a goal to be rejected every day in big ways and small ways. Start with the small ways like in the grocery store parking lot instead of walking the cart to the rack ask the person who just drove up if they want it… that doesn’t seem like much because it isn’t the worst thing that happen if they say no thanks or look at me weird and I have to walk the cart to the rack. But that little rejection therapy session just got me ready to submit an article to magazine for publication I ask myself “what is the worst thing that can happen?” well the answer of course is nothing happens -literally nothing- they don’t publish my article and guess what if I don’t send in the article they can’t publish the thing I didn’t do…. you get the idea it’s a bit of a “just do it” mantra. No visions required – say yes to yourself even if you don’t know how it will work out. Wander down a path even if you can’t see around the next bend, there is something there – just keep moving!
Here are a few rejection therapy things that have I’ve got in the works: continued freelance writing for Quilting Arts and Cloth,Paper, Scissors Magazines. I have a wonderful 5 page spread in the latest issue of Quilting Arts and an another article coming out in the Fall. I’ll be teaching at Craft Napa again in 2019, I’m in conversation with the Quilting Company to develop an online series of courses for them. I’m opening a gallery with three other women in Sebastopol, teaching at quilt guilds and retreat centers on and on…. I just keep moving I’m looking forward to seeing what is around the next bend.
The birds are full of ideas. I watched pair of sparrows with straw in their beaks searching for a perfect nesting spot today. The bees as I walked down the wisteria laden arbor here at the Bishop’s Ranch are also full of ideas. Their busyness got me full of ideas as well. I’ve been admiring the Cala lilies along the Ranch house walk for a few weeks and realized I better get busy if I was going to catch them before they start to fad. So I snapped a bunch of pictures on my phone and wandered off wondering what next. So like the birds and the bees I got a creative idea too! I printed about 12 of my Cala lily photos onto printable cotton and with a bit of inspiration from the early photo collage work of David Hockney got to work on this fabric collage of Cala Lilies at The Bishop’s Ranch (if you look closely you can see the Chapel of St. George in the back).
Don’t delay follow those creative ideas buzzing around in your head let inspiration take over, you’ll be glad you let it rule the day!
I haven’t written in awhile… sorry….when I got fired from my teaching job in late March I imagined so much time and space to make art and blog with you and meditate and ponder the meaning of life. But as Aristotle said, horror vacui, or nature abhors a vacuum, and while I was worrying about how to make money when my job ended I caste a fist full of seeds into the universe. Well I guess a lot of those seeds found fertile ground and now I need to consider thinning my crop down to the things I most want to do. I saw a Venn-diagram recently with 3 overlapping circles; one reads what you are passionate about the next reads what you are good at and the third reads what people will pay you for…..and where they all cross over is the sweet spot – where talent, passion and marketability meet. Simple enough in theory but harder to find on a day to day basis. When I finished teaching April 1st I felt like this was an opportunity- I was just given some space to find the sweet spot- but in my fear of no income I have been filling up my every minute taking on every job that comes my way. I have taken on more graphic design work, more work at The Bishop’s Ranch, more workshop teaching, more sewing jobs…. you get the idea. In some ways it feels good, I know I can make the money when I need to, but now I need to pull back and do that thinning of my possibilities garden I was talking about before and find the sweet spot in my personal Venn-diagram. This week I got a little clue about which way to wander. On Sunday I taught an Encaustic Collage Workshop for 12 wonderful women- they had a good day I had a good day and I felt financially well compensated. Also this week, kind of by accident, I sold 4 pieces of art- big pieces- and when told the prospective buyers the price no one flinched. So I think I’m beginning to zero in on my talent, my passion, and what people will pay for. So here’s to searching for the sweet spot and listening to what the universe is telling you!
As some of you remember I have been working on some aerial view art quilts. I’m using photo images taken from a plane to create iPad drawings then having those drawings printed large on fabric then quilting. (see these links to past posts Flying High & A Stitch’n Week). I have completed a couple more of these art quilts and I’m ready to share. I was pondering what to say this morning on a chilly early morning hike. As I wandered along the trail, in and out of trees and into clearings it struck me that these aerial views are of the same place I’m walking but seen from a different perspective. In that same vein I’ve been pondering my family relationships – specifically my relationship to my demi-adult son and my eighty-something parents. I am finding that navigating the parent/demi-adult relationship is harder than I was expecting. How to support him and love him but let him go and make mistakes and find his own way. So my experience as the parent of a young adult has made me reflect on my own young adulthood and my relationship to my parents. I have new empathy and insight into what I put them through, how I wrestled and struggled with my self-definition and sometimes let them in but often not. So in these landscapes I am experiencing and translating the same place that I have walked through and painted again and again but from a different point of view where I can experience it anew. As I climb higher, I can now see the river carving through the valley and the hills sculpted low against the mountain and the row of trees reaching up and out. This landscape is like my own life- carving, sculpting, reaching up and out; connecting to the journey but separate from my son’s journey and likewise connecting to but separate from my parents’ journey. Here I am like a hawk on the wing, riding air current of my life in this unique space between beginning and end seeing each from a new point of view and grateful to catch a glimpse now and then of where I’m going and where I’ve been.
I have a couple more quilts ready I’ll show you soon in another post.
I have always had trouble assigning a price to my art. I believe strongly that art should be a part of everyone’s life that why long ago I framed the following “the why cheap art manifesto” that my sister gave me decades ago:
I’m sharing this because I have always struggled with what price to charge for my art. On the one hand I want the art to be accessible to lots of people and on the other hand I want to feel like my time and skill are being duly valued. Some people have said I don’t charge enough for my art but I want people to have it- If I make it and it just sits in a box under my bed then what’s the point!? So I have come up with a formula that feels ok to me. I loosely keep track of my time per piece then price the art the same way I would price a free lance graphic design or art teaching seminar, by the hour this seems fair to me, it values my time and it the price reasonable (I hope). So now I would like to introduce my Etsy Shop where I have my art quilts from the most recent “Peace” series to others I think you will recognize from the blog. I hope you will check it out! Thanks for your support and pass this link on to others you think might like my work.