Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Believe I'll Trim Some Pots

What if Art could be thought of as a religion? I mean, it's something you can believe in, isn't it? It gives strength, insight, satisfaction, peace of mind, even moral direction. It requires faith, and dedication, and attention to others.

I say this because not all of us can be holy men (or women) or live our religions twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. And when your physical sustenance must also come from the practice of your beliefs, how does that complicate or erode your experience of that faith?

I worked for many years as a full time potter and it had its ups and downs. I certainly could have been more 'faithful' in my practice, more savvy as a business owner, and better capitalized at its inception. Many parts of it were wonderful, and I'm still delighted to visit my good old pots at other people's houses. But living in poverty was too stressful, for me, and my family. And selling pots because you absolutely have to, sucks.

Now, I finally have a good job, away from the arts but in a worthwhile endeavor. And I can express my faith in the same way that so many others of us express theirs... on the weekends. For artists just entering the business of art I recommend finding something similar. If success at your art simply overwhelms your ability to find time for a second career, well bless you. But for others, life is more likely to overwhelm your art. Build a wall of practical success and let it protect the temple sanctuary of your art. I rather wish I'd done so years ago.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A New World

A great deal has happened since the last time I wrote, and what I'd really like to do is write about things more important than myself. But first I much catch up on some important details.

1) I am now a full time employee of the Spencer Research Library, here at the University of Kansas. In many ways, this is just a direct continuation of my work there as a Student Assistant, but the money and benefits allow me to give up my late night bus driving, and even to give up my degree goals, if necessary.

2) One of my large wood-fired sculptures, Firetrap #8, got juried into the 3rd Biennial Concordia Continental Ceramics Competition in St. Paul, Minnesota. According to one gallery visitor, it even won an Honorable Mention, though ironically, no one from the show's management has bothered to mention it.

3) We have chickens. At the end of October, in a blatant gesture of defiance towards the forces that might have forced us to move to another city, we bought four chicks, and I built a four foot by ten foot mobile chicken coop. The chicks are now grown, though not yet laying eggs, and we just bought two more chicks, of a different breed.

And I'm sure there's much more that might be said, but really, I'm just glad to be back among the reasonably well-rested. Soon, I even hope to write here about those many subjects that have always interested me more than myself.

Please enjoy the return of Spring. I know I am.