As a fiber artist, there are two times of the year when everything happens for me – Spring, and Autumn.
During the Summer, it is slow paced and thoughtful, a time where I grow ideas and mostly do teaching, some writing, and exploring creative concepts. Winter time is making and nesting time – I often get things created for myself and friends and family during this time of the year, and I do a lot of introspective writing and planning for the year to come.
This summer has been… weird. Too wet, then too hot, then too wet again. I joke that our area has shifted from a subtropical climate to a full on tropical one. Everything stays damp and gets mildew too easily. I am not a fan. Neither was my beloved garden this year, which started out strong but didn’t know how to handle the weak and wet start and never quite recovered. It makes a good metaphor for myself and this season. Mostly, I’ve spent time trying to Figure Things Out and feeding my local squirrel freeloaders, affectionately nicknamed “The Dingdongs.”
The Dingdongs are in their first year, and I’ve managed to win them over to the point where they come to the screen door on our patio and politely put their paws on it, looking for me so that I can hand them peanuts. Adorable!
When I’m feeling sad, or stressed, or just need a break to let my brain work on ideas under the surface, I visit with the Dingdongs. It makes everything better.
I stress a lot in September.
It’s the beginning of holiday prep and Fall shows, and that means making sure I have all the components I need to make stock, too. Applying for holiday shows costs money. I have to have the website tight and together for holiday orders. A lot of my annual bills come due around now. I’m looking at 4th quarter bookkeeping to come and stressing over it and paying yearly taxes soon. Can you see all those dollars flying out the window? Whee!
I also have a full schedule of teaching, some upcoming writing gigs, and several Facebook groups and communities that I help manage. Oh yes, and my duties as the Fibery Goodness Artist in Residence! [I’ll talk more about what’s been going on in just a moment!]
So it’s vitally important to keep organized and motivated, but also make sure to take time to relax and take care of myself. It’s even better if I can combine fiber arts with my relaxing!
One of the best ways to relax and play with fiber at the same time is to have a spinning circle. And what better day to make that happen than Worldwide Spin In Public Day? Always the third Saturday in September, I’ve been hosting or co-hosting a group for this day for years; this year I teamed up again with Lovelyarns, my favorite little yarn shop in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore MD. As Spin Captain, I answered questions, chatted with everyone, did some little demos, and even taught an Intro to Spindle Spinning class in the middle of all that!
Events like this are my creative lifeblood. I adore showing strangers what I do, and telling them about textiles and sourcing my spinning components. I get energized by interacting with other fiber artists, and inspired when I watch new spinners gain confidence and mastery.
Sharing information and creativity is one of the most important things in the world to me. It keeps me focused on being who I am, on doing what I do when the times get tough.
Right now, I’m really focused on where I’m going.
I love teaching. I’ve got some classes coming up and hopefully more to come, and they are satisfying and pay well, which is not just a bonus in my world. I have some writing pieces coming out in the future, too – another passion of mine that I’ve always dreamed of getting paid to do, and this will fulfill that role. I have a lot of knowledge and insight to share, because amassing ridiculous amounts of random info is what I do! I’m happy to share the bits and bobs that I know from research and experience.
But it’s the Making Art part of my life that’s been difficult to fully incorporate into my plans and dreams, you see. I have a lot of different things that I make, with varying levels of satisfaction and monetary rewards. Not everything I do has to make money, but I do need to pay bills and have a level of income that keeps me out of living in my Jeep, as nice as the Jeeple can be.
Besides teaching and writing, I make yarn and fiber blends for sale, and I make things from my yarn: my Arcanity crystal-based jewelry, plant podlets, lamps, tiny tapestries. I sell project bags, support spindles, and crocheted goods that my Mom makes. Those things are all my current bringers-of-income. [What am I missing? What would you like to see me offer? Comment below!]
Besides those, I also contribute to several online groups and manage a couple, including my beloved Nevermore Forevermore group and the Makers Supporting Makers group [soon to be a website with a lot of great connections!] – I also am the current Artist in Residence and contributor at Fibery Goodness, which is a joy and honor. I don’t make money from these activities but they enhance and support my creative life, and those of other creatives, and that matters.
Sometimes I think I spend too much time on the stuff that doesn’t pay the bills, but then I know that my spirits would suffer if I gave those up. So the choice then becomes, “What can I do to work smarter, not harder? What can I release or refine to make my life and business better?”
I’m still struggling with this. If I thought I could go into teaching more full time and travel around or appear on video conferences and get paid for that, I would do that in a heartbeat. I am not sure the world has space for me to be another full-time teacher. I also know that something has to give, somewhere.
So I’m asking you, my friends and readers – would you pay to get more teaching from me, online or in person? Is there something you wish I was making to sell that I am missing out on? What can I do to serve you in your artistry?
Either way, it’s going to be fine. But I really want to give the world the best I’ve got, so I’m asking!