art vs craft

About a year into grad school I started a latch-hook pillow based on the famous photo of Georgia O'Keefe by Alfred Stieglitz.

The in-progress pillow wasn't exactly met with approval or encouragement during group critiques that fall semester, as I wrote about here. About a year later I finally finished it and listed it in my Etsy shop.

It finally sold several years later (I kind of wish I'd kept it but I'm happy it went to the good home of an O'Keefe fan). I'm still not totally sure where I was going with that project, much like I'm not sure where I'm going with these felt copies of mid 20th century oil paintings by Mark Rothko that I've been sporadically posting to my Instagram account since mid-summer.

I'm just going to leave these here for now. Because I can. Because I'm no longer in art school.


work less, make art

I consider this post part 3 (of ???) of my "I got a day job!" series (a series approaching 2 years in the making). As I wrote in part 2 (ish), I've become increasingly weary of the advice around keeping/justifying one's day job (usually, ironically, from creative types who long ago quit theirs'). On the one hand, I can see the potential disadvantage of having too much time on one's hands to write or make art (I can't really ever imagine that being a problem, but I get it). Indeed, I'm most productive when I'm fairly busy; I manage my disposable time better when I have less of it. And most of us need to make at least some money. But there's a limit to how much you can do with so little to begin with. You do, after all, need some time to make art, if making art is important to you and something you'd like to do. And if you're like me, you might also require a little solitude/space to think about making art. Instead of that whole "pick any two" thing (my three things being time, space, and money), I'm trying to claim a little piece of all three.

To that end, earlier this summer I began negotiating some changes at work that, ideally, will both enhance my creative fulfillment at my day job and allow for more time to fulfill those needs outside of work (mostly the latter). Like Amazon's pilot program announced last week, I've reduced my work hours to an 80% FTE schedule effective this week, which for me translates to about 30 hours per week (based on a 37.5 hour work week). And while I'd like more time with my kids and more time in the studio, rather than work six hours a day so I can pick them up when school gets out (knowing I'd get little done with them in tow two extra hours each day), I'll have one day per week, while they're in school (that's key) to squeeze in all the things I have precious little time for right now: studio, chores, errands, and yes, family, on the random Friday school closures and picking kids up early when I can swing it (but prioritizing studio time as much as possible). Fitting in some non-studio tasks each Friday (without letting that take over the day completely) should free up some family time on the weekend as well.

So far I have a to-do list with 5 categories of projects, each category including 2-5 tasks. Not just for this Friday, of course - I've highlighted my goals within that list for the first Friday I have off. And as a good artist friend shared with me once, you should always take your to-do list for the day and cut it in half, regardless of how realistic you think it is to begin with. So, as hard as it will be to cut my existing list in half, that's what I'll do. Chipping away at an iceberg, to be sure. I'm just thrilled to tackle the tip!