Artists Never Have Enough But They Have It All

September 13, 2011

I’m getting ready for the Edmonds Art Studio Tour which is this coming weekend.  I missed participating in the tour last year because of my monster surgery so this is my second time in the tour.  I had the foresight to schedule the three weeks between returning from teaching in Philly until the studio tour for studio time to prep for the tour.  What I’ve found is the usual stuff:  Murphy’s Law at work.  This week turns out to be major deadlines for my teaching gigs next year, a special reception for the studio tour artists held by Swedish Edmonds hospital materialized out of thin air, and of course, ArtsNow Edmonds Community College had to schedule an Open House for this week.  Not to mention the big sale at ArtWorks last weekend which had me spending 10 hour days at ArtWorks last week to prepare for.  So how does an artist create enough for such a thing as a studio tour or a show?  Good question.  Maybe they don’t!

Yesterday one of the tour artists stopped by at ArtWorks and happened to mention that they didn’t have enough for the tour this year.  She ended her sentence with a heavy sigh.  This is a person that has always seemed to have lots of inventory, if you will.  She also has great creative energy, never slumping or so it seems.  She then went on to tell me how she accidentally double booked herself on Saturday so also has a big gig Saturday night after the tour ends for the day.  It’s a gig she got a grant for and involves like 150 people…YIKES!  She told the people that they could fire her, etc. once she figured out her scheduling issue.  They said: that’s okay, we want you.  Does any of this sound familiar?  Have you ever tried to be Super Woman?  Off topic: how did Linda what’s her face get into that costume for the t.v. show, I’d like to know… maybe that’s why she does sleep number bed commercials now?   She can’t get out of bed.  Okay, silly brain, shut up.

Okay so when I heard this story from this artist I had to tell her about my first time in the tour.  Someone I know came to the studio I’m in and blurted: YOU don’t have very much stuff!!  Which I didn’t.  Of course I was trying to work with a disabled arm/hand, still continue to be a creating artist and so forth…AND I make jewelry.  No, I REALLY make jewelry.  I don’t buy all of the components I work with.  I make them.  I make the beads, I make the wire eyelets sunk into the beads, I often make my own parts or findings for the jewelry to function.  I don’t buy beads and string them, just doing the design work.  The time it takes to make all of these components is huge.  Many beads require a three step process including three curing sessions of about 20-30 minutes each.  No, I never have “enough” stuff for a show or sale because I don’t get to spend that much time in my studio.  I teach and run a place instead.  I opted for the more solid pay check after starving for years and years.

Anyway, I told the artist a story of another artist I know:  Cynthia Toops is a very well known polymer clay jewelry artist.  Her work commands top dollar these days, (see  I remember when she used to have a booth in the local annual bead bazaar.  The last year I recall seeing her booth, she had (3) velvet lined trays about 8″x10″ each in front of her on a 6 ft. table.  In each tray she had about 5-7 beads or pins that she had made and that was it.  She was embarrassed that she had so little.  She even told me that she had made some of the pieces using a quicker process just to have more to offer.  To me that was very brave and honest yet, still she was there in person, offering what she had.  This is the artist’s reality: sometimes you haven’t created enough but still you created something!  Isn’t that enough?


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