I just ended a year long part time job as a school cafeteria staff person at my children's charter school in Central, MA. I took on the job for two days a week this year as a way to keep a trickle of income as I worked towards my Beasts show this past winter. When prepping for a big show income stalls and new work that can be sold right away just about stops. I must admit that in those first few months the voices in my head were very hard to silent. I became frustrated at the reality that I had to find a second (well, fourth) part time job to support my art career as I watched other artists online turn down work because they had too much art related work coming in. But, I stuck with it and in the end I learned a good deal about myself and even my role as an artist. Here are a few of those things I learned while working along side some of the best woman I have had the privilege of knowing:
- Remain in the moment: keep your ego out of your actions and tell the voices in your head to change their attitude. Remind yourself what messages you are sending to the universe by your habits of thinking.
- Presentation and marketing and things made with love and care "sell". We could put out oatmeal with a sign that read "oatmeal" and it would sit there...we put out a hand written sign reading, "creamy brown sugar and cinnamon oatmeal" with a little sketch of a bowl and we couldn't make enough! Same oatmeal, different marketing campaign.
- Have a daily to-do list and stick to it but be able to be flexible enough to wing it at times. Stuff gets burnt, too much pepper falls in the salad, the lettuce comes in brown....use creativity and a sense of humor to make it work.
- One can always make a moment matter and make someone's day better. Making connections over food, over a new haircut noticed or giving an IOU for forgotten lunch money are small acts of connection and matter.
I am hitting the ground running in the coming weeks... I will be speaking at the Nantucket Whaling Museum on June 29th about my Beasts series and the process I developed of embroidering on tissue paper. I hope to gain back some focus and energy in the studio. It's been an exhausting year and I have never felt more motivated to "get to gettin' " in the business of making a living being an artist ! Bring it on summer !