Monday, August 21, 2006

The Art of BEING an Artist
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My sister wrote me this morning from Singapore:
I'm still trying to unpack all the changes that I went through when I was in Chicago. For instance, I no longer need the birds or food to make me feel fulfilled. I think I have better boundaries than I did. I also notice I'm mood swinging like a barn door. What is up with that?
O how well I know the feeling. I think it has something to do with taking on the identity of ARTIST, which I assume you are now wearing.
For one thing, this isn't like banker, baker or clerk. It means that we are different, and have to assert our identities and end up having to prove ourselves daily. This takes internal fortitude.

No one can see the struggles that go on inside to make this identity ring true. But they are there nevertheless. And it can show itself in the weirdest ways. Yes we can be cranky when the work isn't going well, and then when it is, then we are over the moon and generous and cheerful in the face of all sorts of other calamities. Being an artist takes a bit of self awareness, and putting our own needs first, which is a trick when you have a family. It is even a trick if you don't, and want to have nice relationships with others.

There must be time and space to make the art that makes us feel alive as artists. And since we know we are artists, have identified ourselves that way, we cannot go back to being just ordinary people anymore. It would be a lie.
So it's a sticky wicket. We want to be ourselves and happy and normal, but we aren't. I mean normal. Because we have opted to be artists which means tapping into that other world where we focus on feeling deeper, and searching for ideas that others don't have, or making things that aren't 'useful' in the regular world.
And you realize too that it has always been this way, that until the day that you admitted who you are, when you emerged from that artistic closet, that you finally have that direction that makes sense, in ways that nothing else can do.
You are not alone.

15 comments:

  1. So well said. Thank you. I heard someone say once, "I want to LIVE in Confidence Town, not just visit." Hmmmm, don't we all?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sequoia10:21 AM

    Do you think that you really opted to be an artist, or did you really not have any other choice? Wasn't it something that you were just driven to do?
    Sometimes it makes me really mad that I can't look at a scene in nature and just see it, instead it's- that would look so nice with this shade of blue, or I could add these textures and make that object pop, or you know....

    BTW- Melody- I went to the Michigan Fiber Festival on Saturday and thought of you. All the sheep, goats, shearing, roving, batts, yarn, yarn and more yarn. You would have gone crazy! It was fun to be with such an enthusiastic group: knitting, spinning, and carding in every corner. Over 100 vendor booths. Lots of competitions, demonstrations and workshops. The address is:
    http://www.michiganfiberfestival.org/index.htm

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, now I know what my problem is - I am not normal.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Debbie L - from SF1:29 PM

    So well stated!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I too struggle with the moods and the other people. I'm not normal - but then what is normal?

    By the way at Festival of Quilts this past weekend I saw one of your Matchstick Moon quilts. Wow!! All that fusing!! It glowed though - it's own special moonlight:)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nan from New Zealand3:59 PM

    I am not an artist but enjoy all the quilt artist blogs. I had a discussion with my daughter and we deccided that all artists are a bit selfish which isn't really a bad thing. I am a very placid person and not much bother me and I often wonder if that is being selfish. So I just get on with life and if I dare to use any of your ideas you will take it as a complliment.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank goodness I'm not normal either! And thank you for inspiring me to be less normal all the time.....
    Natalya
    PS Yeah! the Firefox sees your banner beautifully now!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mel, the new bog heading looks great, making the fabric area bigger really did the trick. I use Safari for the internet and it was coming up all overlapped before.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous12:27 AM

    Perhaps you should call yourself normal, and declare the rest of the world crazy.

    The new banner is looking great in Netscape too.

    ReplyDelete
  10. thanks for giving me something new to think about. I've always known I was an artist, so I've always considered the way I am to be normal. maybe I need to visit the "real world" for awhile?

    ReplyDelete
  11. It seems that what is considered "normal" in our world is, 1. boring, or 2. kind of scary thought-police types. I'll stick with artistic types-that closet was too dark and creepy anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It's unanimous!- the header now looks great in IE, Netscape, Safari and Firefox. That's the main players covered. So glad we worked it out!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Contessa Mydknight11:15 AM

    I use to consider myself a crafter,now I know that I was collecting what was needed on the path to becomming a jewelry & quilt artist.Isn't all art forms about moods.
    Moody gemini,moody artist ,the darkside of normal.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Who wants to be normal??

    BTW the header on your blog looks great now in Firefox. Whatever you did worked.

    ReplyDelete
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Hello,
So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com