UPDATE: 25 Feb 14
I can't thank you all enough for the amazing support, kind comments, and encouraging notes you've sent me in regard to the below posting. I've read them all and will be replying to each in turn as I can. Overall, I feel incredibly thankful and happy this morning.
There is, however, one thing I want to clarify that, based on many responses, I don't think I explained very well. I'm not quitting. I'm not even taking a clean break... after all, a girl has to eat, and all those Pinterest recipes I'm wanting to try aren't going to pay for themselves! No, I will still be posting new work regularly.
What I was and am ultimately trying to say is that I just need to cut out the majority of the visual and audible chatter around me, and get back to focusing on my own work and process... expand my inspiration point into realms that I've not given enough time and attention to pursuing. My hope is that by doing so, I will find my way back to loving the process of creation. Hopefully the work will just get better, but what is even more important to me... is that the practice of building itself will once again begin to feel enjoyable. So all this rambling, friends, is essentially me declaring an intentional introversion into my art and life; however, this is not me leaving the field, ending relationships with friends and peers who metalsmith, or otherwise going completely off the grid. It's me finding balance, rearranging priorities, and editing my horizon line. There. Maybe that is a bit more clear. Then again, I've only had two cups of coffee, so who knows.
I will be teaching for the remainder of this year and hopefully, always in some capacity... I love my students and the coordinators I work for- fiercely. I simply don't want to put other dreams on hold in order to be on the road twice a month. Gardens and gutters and little league games can't wait.
Again, thank you for the incredible support. Though I am not dropping my hammer by any means, there is a genuine feeling of liberation in knowing that I COULD, and have it fall amongst such blessings and understanding on your part.
You give me hope.
* * * * *
I've been a bit surprised by the amount of notes I've received over the past twenty-four
hours regarding my announcement of this upcoming blog post.
I certainly didn't mean to concern anyone.
I'll try to keep this relatively simple- the truth is that my decisions are in fact personal, and I owe no explanation for having made them... but I felt, true to my sensitive nature, that an explanation might be a good thing. I do not mind being disliked or overlooked so much as I mind being misunderstood. I don't know, that's just me.
So here we go:
I'm quitting metalsmithing.
I want to be a computer programmer.
And I am, of course, kidding.
But this is the fact.
I'm burnt out. I'm beyond burnt out. I've been burnt out then lukewarm, and the spark comes and goes in sputtering puffs of smoke, but I honestly cannot remember the last time that I couldn't wait to create something. And I miss that.
I miss that part of me and my life.
In thinking about things over the past several months,
in reflecting over more recent life events-
Clara Dale's passing away,
a new love blooming sweet and promising here at home,
life on the road,
my finalized divorce and financial shifts/limits/fears...
I can see why and where some of the passion has fallen away.
When one loves what they do and they can make it a career, that is a wonderful and blessed thing- but survival mode can zap the juice out of anyone, and honestly... I'm tired. I have reached the point I wanted to reach because I COULD reach it, but this is also the point I never wanted to reach because I HAD to reach it... and that is making for money. Building to survive.
I can do that, and I do, but I think any honest critic can look at a lot of my recent work (say, the past year or so) and see the paleness of it. I think financial pressures, emotional stress, being away from home, family shifts, and personal growth have all served me well... but at the same time, they've laid me out. I've been relatively rocked, and I'm just rolling now... and I don't want any part of the hamster wheel.
I feel like the vast majority of my life has become jewelry. It has evolved from hobby to passion to profession to Overwhelm. My Instagram has been nearly all jewelers. My Facebook friends, my social media groups, a large portion of my friends... all involved in some fantastic and passionate form of adornment. It used to inspire me, at times intimidate me, but for longer than I can really explain now... it has simply exhausted me. It exhausts me.
And that, as terrible as it may sound... is the truth.
This is not a job that you leave at the door when you walk through it. I work out of my home. I interact daily with peers and colleagues, other teachers, my students, customers, and friends who do what I do. It is in every angle and aspect of my life in some way or another. It feels at times as though I'm in a beautifully crafted box... and yet as lovely as it might be and as much as I know that my box is an incredible box to exist within... I don't want to live in a box. Do you understand? Because I get headaches from all the echoing voices and all the visible walls and I want more than this.
I want more.
* * * * *
To be clear, I do love what I do. But I used to love it more. This is a post about how I'm trying to get back to where I belong, with my heart centered and my spirit saturated with inspiration. I've made some decisions.
Well, not entirely. I'm too much of a Pinterest addict. I have, however, unfollowed about forty or so jewelers on Instagram in the past few days. I've done this because I need some visual rest from what everyone else is making, saying, creating. I have not done this out of distaste or disrespect- but because I need inspiration of another kind.
I want to be inspired by gardens. Flora, fauna, nature as a whole... photographs of these things. World culture, beautiful foods, my southern roots, my desire to see places I cannot pronounce. I want work built from shit sketches I made after waking from a gorgeous dream or a heartrending nightmare. The architecture of Savannah and Morocco and spaces in between, and the strength of iron gates and the delicacy of lace. Tribal traditions, childish whims, street fashion, all that is ladylike... all that is not. I do not want to remain where I have- by my own fault- allowing myself to become stagnant and ignorant to the possibilities around me, as I've grown so comfortable in my existing networks and their trending definitions of art and jewelry and adornment. Don't get me wrong, the value and talent in these networks is enormous... it's just that I somehow have begun to feel claustrophobic.
It is not personal.
It is not them, or you...
Honestly. It's me.
I just need to make some changes in the landscape of my life and work.
I have unfollowed the talented jewelers. Many my friends. Many my students. I did it to get that proverbial clean slate and gulp of fresh air... because part of me needs a new beginning with my work,
just as much as I needed that new beginning with myself. It was time to take that next step. In their place, I've gathered up a slew of photographers, tattoo artists, lifestyle bloggers, chefs, world travelers, painters, musicians, florists, SAHMS, farmers, authors, marketing and branding professionals, thrifters, yogis, interior designers, and even a historian or two.
I'm avoiding groups and private networks as of now, preferring to play something more along the lines of an observer. In the wearing of selective blinders and popping in my earplugs, I do feel that I find a sort of bliss in the ignorance. It comes down to me needing to feed my own soul, and stay out of the social media jewelry feed. I am drawing lines in the dirt, distancing myself from drama (and yet I know that in unfollowing people, I will be in essence bringing more drama upon myself for awhile... because people will talk, assume, and generally feel and think as they want to feel and think.) This is fine. I have reached my changeling year, and it's time to do whatever it is I feel I need to do in order to be the best (and happiest) artist, woman, and mother I can be.
Well not entirely, but I will be taking most of next year off. I don't know about beyond that. The traveling and teaching have honestly been the most rewarding and inspiring aspects of my life over the past two or so years. I do not wish to stop, and yet, I do feel again that herein, I need to make some shifts.
See, I want a vegetable garden. And it's been far too long since my dad and I had a date with our pistols or my mom and I spent all day baking. My son's teacher has informed me that he does better in school when I'm home. There is a man in my life and he makes me laugh... I think I would like to see much more of him. I am thirty-one and not sure at all that I'd like to be done with motherhood. There are parties I want to throw, old friends I'd love to see, a gorgeous NC coastline that gets far too little of my attention, a swing waiting to be hung, woodworking tools gathering dust, daytrips to nearby towns... hell, even gutters that need cleaning. I want more living in my life.... I want more TIME... for things other than those that relate to work.
I honestly believe that by being here more and traveling instead those other avenues of interest, I will somehow find my way back to my passion as a jewelry artist.
* * * * *
I have written this post largely as an attempt to concretely lay down goals and hopes for myself. I have written it so that I may hold myself accountable. I have also written it for you... not that you need it nor do I owe it, but because I want to be clear, mainly about this one final point:
You do inspire me. And you humble me. As readers, followers, peers, customers, instructors... you always have. I understand that as creatives, it is so easy for us to take things personally as we are largely a sensitive structure of people... but I hope you know that if I left your news feed, it is something I'm working on for myself, and not something I'm trying to say to you. More often, I wish that we spent more time building each other up and less time critiquing one another... I honestly believe that teaching has softened my point of view on this, and I learn more and more that we are all just trying to find our own way. This is me trying to find mine, or at least find it again... and while I hope the tone of this post has not been overly dramatic or somber... I also hope you know I have meant it.
I am so fortunate.
I am thankful for this life and the privileges offered me,
and I am not saying that I am unhappy.
I simply feel dry....
So here's to wrenching open the spicket.