Sunday, April 22, 2012

Getting Our Bearings

This morning I woke up for the first time in forever that I have no pressing deadline I need to meet for tomorrow. No drawings, no item of jewelry, no anything! I fixed breakfast for my husband and myself and chatted to him about this miraculous thing of "how I could spend my day doing something I've been wanting to" because all my short term obligations have been met.

He and I are in the same boat. We are both artists who serve two masters. We have day jobs that provide the income that we need to live the life we want, and our vocation, the things we create that feed our soul. Often, the jobs that provide our income take precedence over the latter for obvious reasons. This is my husband's busy season in his landscape business, so that is running his life right now. As we finished cleaning up from breakfast, and he was preparing to head over to his studio, I asked him what he was planning to work on today. He is engaged in a series of wood block prints that are compelling and beautiful. I have to laugh a little, because if he'd asked me the question, he'd have got a very specific answer about what I was going to do, and in what order! Not him though. His calm and not specific answer was "I'm going to get my bearings".

Isn't this what we are all doing in our lives? It seems that we are all, no matter what stage of life we are in, getting our bearing to move forward. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of giving a workshop for the metals students at CCAD. Some of them are graduating in a couple weeks, so are at a point in life where huge changes and unknowns are on the horizon. That those individuals were able to contain themselves and focus for four hours on trying to learn the rudiments of gem setting is no small task! In addition to learning a new skill set, they had a few questions about my job. What was it like? What's the biggest diamond you ever set? They were checking a little to help get their bearings for what life outside of school could look like.

Conversely, I wanted to give a workshop, to find out what it's like to teach and share some of the knowledge I've accrued over my 27 year career in the jewelry business. As I move forward into the next stage of my life, what will help me find the best balance between earning enough money to care for myself and my husband now and in our old age, and feeding my soul? My heart, wants to be more deeply engaged in the artistic side of myself. There is a part of me that believes my studio business is the best place to find that, but the barriers to the model I first engaged in are high. How to modify that model is one question. Where does the "day job" fit in my life? To be relevant and successful there, I have learned, requires my full time presence, plus some of my studio time for design processes. The pay is good, but the cost to my artistic heart is very high. Where teaching and helping other fits in, is that it seems to help me reinvigorate mentally. I always seem to be able to enter my studio with a fresh perspective on what I am hoping to create. The question of what role teaching can play in my life is a big one. Could it replace my day job financially? Would it become burdensome when the novelty of something new wears off? Can I balance all three things for the perfect balance of earnings, creating, and giving that will give me the life I've always wanted?

So back to my day of no pressing deadlines. As usual, my longtime partner has it right. This is a day where I will follow his lead. I will head to my studio, play around with my projects that are on back burners, tidy up a little, and try to get my bearings for what is next in my life.


  1. An excellent post! Thanks for sharing!

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