Lessons from my clay addiction...

I freely admit I'm addicted to clay. If I could be in the studio every day simply creating that is where I'd be. However, I have other things that call and that I love, like my family. The things I could easily give up include having to apply to shows, setting up shows, marketing my art, and selling my art (although I do love the interaction with people and friends....and I like to write which comes under the "marketing" portion of that grouping).

One of the pieces that didn't work in the spot with the commission grouping I made. I re-glazed it afterward, adding more blues.

This blog isn't about whining or my addiction though, it's about the lessons I learn continually from my happy clay addiction.

Lately I have been trying to do commissions. Someone I have grown to love pushed me a bit and dragged me into attempting something that had frustrated me before. She gave me total freedom to do what I wanted to fill some spaces for her. I admit, it was still a bit of a challenge but I was happy with the result and I believe she has been, too.

I had already learned from trying in the past that if I am tasked with doing something specific in the studio I can procrastinate until the world ends. I still have a woman who asks me about a piece she wanted me to make...ten years ago. Yep, I am horrible. I have the best of intentions, I go to the studio to make it and my mind balks.

However, after my successful commission last year I thought I'd finally come up with the formula to get past my stubborn "not gonna do it" streak. I think it must go back to my childhood foot stomping "you can't make me" days.

One of the bowls I made for the commission...then realized I'd gotten things wrong. But I love this basket!

The solution my friend helped me discover was no boundaries, make what I wanted without constraints. I would make three pieces, she would choose.

I grew bold once I completed her pieces. I accepted a commission at a Fall show, gave the new guidelines: I get to make three pieces, they'll fit in your space, you choose the one you like and I'll sell the rest. Or, don't choose any and I'll sell them.all and I'll come up with more choices ---- or not if you're over it (ha ha).

The next show someone came in, fell in love with a piece, but didn't like the wood it was sitting on. Permanently sitting on. They wanted me to make another similar piece, ship it to them in California.

No problem. I have conquered my commission aversion and I'm on it.

Except I'm not.

It hangs over my head like a big boulder. I go to the studio to work on the pieces and that is not, not, not what I want to do. Nope, you can't make me.

Except it looms. It glooms. It is like a nagging ghost that prods and taunts as I try to do something else. It squelches my creativity. So I try to do the smart thing and make the pieces. But there's no creative juice behind it. It is now a chore, something I HAVE to do.

It's been months and I'm still wrestling with those lingering commissions. So far they've all been patient.

Over the years I've learned a lot about myself as I work at my chosen profession, my passion. Some of them good, some of them not-so-good.:

I am the eternal optimist. Every show is going to be the best ever.

I hate being boxed in (hence, stink at commissions, schedules, etc.)

I can't do commissions. Wait, that's not really a life lesson...the lesson is that I just need to accept that my creative process doesn't flow in that way. Under that same heading must come that making money just isn't a sufficient motivator. That's what would happen if I started doing commissions. At every show I get asked at least once to do a commission. I turned them down until the commission I did for my now friend.

I could list more lessons but we'd be moving into a therapy session territory!

Bottom line, and last lesson --- First, I have learned when to quit, give up, accept who I am. So, no more commissions after I finish these.

Hah, I just thought of another thing I've learned over the years about myself...even when I think I've learned the lesson, put a lid on it, corked up the issue and tossed the bottle into the ocean...I will sometimes find that floating bottle and try again thinking I've reformed, changed, figured out how to conquer, blah blah blah.

It's quite possible you'll see another blog someday where I once again talk about trying to do commissions. Eternal optimist, crazy or somewhere in the middle.


Source: http://www.janetmcgregordunn.com/blog/