I am a pretty private person, so it's hard to share. When life gives lemons, I usually retreat and regroup. I'm not one to talk about it on social media. You just won't see me. Someone told me that I have to tell you what's up. That it really helps, so here goes...
Art brings me peace and serenity. While I am making art, the world falls away - all of the strife, both external and internal simply dissolve. It's easier to dive into a creative project than it is to deal with chores like bookkeeping or house cleaning. It brings beauty to the mundane, often ugly side of life. It gives you something to look forward to each day.
I've always been creative, but I really started creating in earnest in 2008, after my husband and I finished building our house. I am the type of person who always needs a project, a deadline - something looming over my head (or at least I used to). When we finished building our house, there was this huge void of time. I didn't know what to do with myself. I reflected on the time when my kids were little, when I had a small jewelry business with a friend. Back then, we sold our creations at a few of the local craft fairs. We did it mostly for fun. So, I found myself going back to it, only this time, I dove in with both feet. Mind you, I had a full-time job as an optician 40 plus hours a week. After a couple of years of juggling both, the dynamics of the optometry office and the profession itself were changing. I found myself more and more stressed and depressed, waking up each morning wishing I didn't have to go to work. Getting ready for an art show kept my mind occupied. It helped me to cope with the parts of my life that I didn't like all that much anymore.
In 2013, my health began to decline under the stress of my job and the economic impact it was having on my business and my husband's job. Leaving my job wasn't the best thing for us economically, but it was what I needed to preserve my health and my sanity. I was not able to create as much as before because of my health, so I gave myself permission to learn new techniques, to explore my creative horizons. I also started teaching more and writing tutorials on how to create jewelry. My business was taking on a whole new dynamic that really fed my soul.
With all things, we can only keep our head in the sand for so long before reality strikes. I needed to make more money to help pay the bills. I wasn't up to creating a repetitive line that I could mass market. I was also missing people. I work in a group studio, but the reality is that I'm often the only one there during the day. So, I did something I thought I never would do again, I applied for a job as an optician.
Splitting my time between my 30-36 hour a week job as an optician and my love of making art has been challenging. About ten months after I started my day job, I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos. It's a connective tissue disorder that has a huge line-up of unpleasant symptoms. I have the hypermobility type, so it really affects how well my ligaments hold my bones in place. I am in a lot of pain most of the time. It affects my sleep and my mood. It affects my grip. Often, I want to do things, but I just can't. I don't have the energy, or the pain makes it impossible. So, I am not as productive as I would like to be. I have to give myself permission to not go to the studio on many of my days off. It makes me sad. As a way to work with my body, I have set up a place in my home where I can paint. I don't have a lot of painting supplies, but I really enjoy painting when the creative juices are flowing and I'm feeling up to it.
I have so many ideas, but not enough time or energy. I can't get as much accomplished as most artists, but I try my best. Please check my blog to see what's happening. I am going to start working on a series of "series" projects. I think it will be a good use of my physical and emotional resources. I hope they will move you as they do me!