A little over a year ago I had the opportunity to participate in a professional development workshop put on by Creative Capital sponsored by the Alaska State Council on the Arts. It was a big, useful, inspiring weekend. I have by no means managed to put all of their ideas into practice, but it was a rare chance to stop and identify both problems and successes and consider making some changes.
It’s taken most of that year to clear my way through the commitments that were already standing before the workshop took place. No change seems to happen particularly quickly, but I’m doing a far better job of managing my time, saying “no” to a lot of distractions, and setting things up for better blocks of working time.
It takes some discipline to ignore what other people think you should be doing with your time. Some of their ideas are born out of the vague nature of what working for yourself looks like to others (“but you ARE free then, right?”) combined with the DIY imperative of living in Fairbanks that I think I’ve talked about before (“what do you mean you don’t have a garden?”) It can be hard to explain how in order to do something well sometimes you have to cut out a lot of possibly valuable things that there is just not time for. I’m doing much better at this. As I thought through what I really needed to move forward I realized it was fairly simple – first, more time for more work.
The last two months have been focused and productive. I finished up the panels that have been occupying the upstairs of my studio, and we installed at Valley Pathways in Palmer a couple of weeks ago. I will have better pictures soon, but here’s a snapshot of them going up on the wall.
No matter how many times you do this there are a few sleepless nights of running through logistics in your mind – equipment rented? Insurance paperwork in? Everybody clear on times to show up? Artwork packed safely for transportation? Hotel reservations correct? Photographer? Luckily the stars aligned, or I worried enough, and it went like clockwork.
Once the big pieces were on the wall, it was time to finish getting ready for my show at Alaska House. Intricate Nature opens tomorrow, and it looks great in the gallery. The last week of preparation was spent in a fog of cold medicine and alternating between working and crawling up to my studio couch for naps. This makes for an interesting perspective on a body of work, for sure. (Of course choosing to make the largest piece in the show during that week may not have been what the doctor ordered.)
This show presents a challenge for me as it is not just June, as the card would indicate, but continues on into July with a substantial addition (replacement, we hope!) of work for the second month. Not off the hook yet. I plan to spend this month making prints, something I have neglected badly in the last year.
Another temporary change in strategy for the time being is to not travel much for a little while. I’ve spent the last few years chasing residencies and traveling a lot through teaching work, and though all of these experiences have been valuable I suddenly just really want to stay home. I know this will pass, but I figure it’s the easiest and most economical desire to gratify. Time to get organized, enjoy the aging pets, work on the house and yard, and save up for the next adventure.