coming to terms with the artisan self

I’ve come to the logical conclusion this past week, that i am an artisan type artist now. I say “now” because it’s taken me this long to recognize that all the damn drama i put in and the fighting i’ve done with myself on so many occasions, has been a millstone around my neck. I’m not about to give up the “serious” work, but i know now i will never be considered on a larger scale as “a prophet in my own land”, or anywhere else for that matter. “My land” is still within the scope of textiles, but i won’t ever be a Judy Martin, Penny Berens, or any of a multitude of other Canadian artists who get the gallery shows, the invitations, the international acclaim. I had my spate of “popularity”, exposure, recognition a few years back, in international magazines and on several well-respected online sites, but the days are done.

Please know this is NOT sour grapes.I don’t envy, am not jealous of these artists: i respect and admire them. They have integrity, skill, talent, vision, fortitude and knowledge. In fact, i am in awe of them, love them.

I enjoyed/enjoy (even with the usual accompanying angst that each piece extracts from me 🙂 ), the making of the more reflective pieces, am very proud of them, stand 100% behind them, but in the long run, these do not support me, do not go anywhere, with a very few exceptions, but a wall in my own home. I’ll still create them (Samara, i hear you calling again), but truthfully, it’s the more “crafted” pieces that are going out to the world.

That actually makes me happier. Yes, there’s coin, and who doesn’t like that aspect, but knowing that someone appreciates enough what i have made, to put up their own hard-earned cash, to enjoy the package they open, to take pride of ownership in the purchase, is, THAT is the true validation of what i’m doing. Paying entry fees, shipping costs, filling out paperwork, and rarely if ever being able to attend a show that accepted the work, not so much! Only one of these shows have ever put money in my pocket (and i thank that organizer/buyer/artist from the bottom of my wizened little heart, you know who you are, Darlin’). We all know that “exposure” thing really doesn’t mean much for too many artists…..

Artists can die of exposure……………………

I don’t suffer when i am making the smaller pieces, the stuff that goes in the shop. I don’t have to, shouldn’t have to act like the proverbial starving artist living in a garret. I won’t be shamed or ashamed for not making big political/subversive/feminist trope/anything trope/mindful/revolutionary/label label label Art anymore. I LIKE WHAT I’M DOING NOW. It gets me out of bed in the morning, it helps me sleep at night, it keeps the Black Dog from howling (though he may still growl in unguarded moments). I won’t be an apologist anymore for my Self. BUT, the next person whether in cybrespace or in real who gets all dismissive and condescending to me, gets a mighty slap on the self righteous ass. Make your own damn sandwich then 🙂

So. To that end, i have new plans, though i am smart enough to know that not all always goes according to plan. I need to actually go to the local galleries, participate in the local shows (yeah, still gotta do some, whether artisan market or solo), talk myself up locally. Online has been a great experience, and i will continue there, but i need a more reachable plateau. After all, this is real life.

My tasks this week then are to find those galleries, put some “propaganda” together, figure out tags, prices, presentation and then apply, submit, show.

Oh yeah, and do the artisan thing and make!



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