Being an artist and a small business owner can get pretty frustrating sometimes. After unloading a pretty successful firing this past week I realized that if I want to keep making more work in my tiny space, I probably have to find a home for some of the work I already have.
Working as an artist suits me well, I get to spend most of my time working alone in my studio and I get to do things on my own schedule (which usually doesn’t line up with the typical 9-5 grind). But being a business person doesn’t come quite as easily, it involves a lot of self-promotion and marketing know-how that, unfortunately, most BFA programs forget to teach.
This gap in education seems to be pretty consistent among other artists I know, where we leave school with a solid training in art, a lot of debt, and very little idea of how to actually translate our work into a paycheck.
At my BFA exhibition I remember one of my professors telling me he hoped I would continue making art after I graduated. At the time I didn’t really understand what he meant. Of course I was going to keep making art, right?
But after a few years of working retail I see how difficult it is to be a working artist. It took a lot of time and hard work just to begin establishing myself as an artist and a lot of fumbling and failure to learn how to sell my work and get it seen by other people.
But today’s a new season and a new day and I can use my failures as a learning experience that will help me in the future.
And, like in my business practice, I’m still building on the failures and successes of my work.
This week’s glaze firing brought new “Desert Winter” additions to my shop.
Most of what I’ve been working on recently has been sets of mugs, still working in the Navajo Wheel.
I liked how that carving along the foot of the mug worked in my last firing, but I wanted to add a little bit of color to the simple palette I had been working with.
I also wanted to experiment with the way that glaze breaks over carving, contrasted with the inlaid glaze along the foot.
Are you a stressed out artist, too? Chill with some new tunes! This week’s 12 songs for the studio: