My life as an artist is changing…again. The layers are peeling away…
My career started lo, these many years ago, by a simple purchase. In 1990 I bought a starter pack of Fimo*. My niece had a pair of earrings that she made and I wanted to make some too. So I started working with this funny colorful clay and made myself a pair of earrings. I wore them to work and someone else wanted a pair. My first sales as a crafter/artist was for something like $5. And my career began. Just like that.
Throughout my 13 years in the polymer clay/craft world, I upped my game. Pushing the limits of the clay I would make reptiles and amphibians, pull toys, christmas tree ornaments, woven baskets and 2D art pieces amongst other things.
I sold them at craft shows, eventually moving my way up to the ACC wholesale shows in Baltimore. I filled orders for contemporary craft stores around the country. I began to wonder if there was more to life than making a product.
The next transition began when I took a class in metal fabrication in 2003. I had no idea what I was in for. The first day the teacher turned on the oxy-acetylene torch and I was petrified. Then we got to the MIG welding day and I was hooked. I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
By the spring of the following year I had finished my orders, closed up my polymer clay business and found a welding studio. The next phase of my career had begun.
Life-sized steel animals, stabiles, and abstract sculptures came to life and found homes around the country. I even won a few awards as I exhibited my work for the next 12 years. Pictures of my sculptures started showing up on Pinterest and Instagram. And I still wondered if there was more to life than making a product.
Throughout these 25 years I had occasionally stepped into the conceptual art world.
Making a piece that was a statement about how I viewed life would appear every so often, but for some reason, I could never immerse myself totally in this part of my creative process.
Perhaps I needed to live life a bit before I really crossed that threshold. Perhaps the stars needed to align. I think I also needed to connect with the art community in a different way. The residency in NY at the School of Visual Arts earlier this year definitely helped me to immerse myself in a new way of creating. For whatever reason, I am finding myself in the doorway of a third major transition. It is hugely exciting and petrifying. I am asking myself to really communicate what I think and feel about myself, the world and my place in it. I am using my brain in a different way, reading more, pondering more, trying to find the words to tell what my art is about. It is a challenge on a very different level than learning to weld or selling to store owners. For once, I am not worried about a finely crafted product. I am more interested in the message, the feeling (ugh, do I really have to deal with feelings?) or the story. I know that not everyone will “get” my sculptures, and that is going to be another hurdle for me to overcome, my need for approval from EVERYBODY.
As you can see by this garbled post, it is all so new to me and I am working it out slowly. And that is okay, because it is no longer about the finished product, it is about the process, MY process. And occasionally I will invite you all along for the ride…but if I don’t post any pictures of what I’m working on, you will know that I am really enjoying the process but I’m not quite ready to share it yet.
*Fimo (Other brand names include Premo and Sculpey) is a man made clay that is the same chemical make-up as PVC piping. It come with plasticizers in it to make it workable. After you create something glorious, you bake it in the oven.