The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. — Albert Einstein
My third year of full-time self-employment begins this week. I have a good week of work ahead of me: a summer shawl, a painted wrap and an apron to finish, next steps to implement on commissioned clerical stoles, online shop product photos to take and edit , and artist statements to write on two completed projects. I also plan to shop for fabric for a significant wall hanging and design a table blessing print.
Two years ago I addressed the problem of how do I produce income through the question, “What do I do?”.
Today I address the problem of how do I produce income with multiple questions. How do I work and live in a small space? What is the primary goal of this quarter’s work? What is the best source for my favorite textile paint? How can I best produce this image in multiple scales? Where do I find another market for my product? Who wants to use this? How do I create structure that will produce the work flow I desire?
Methodical practice of art has produced a different level of thinking. The adventure today is to see if I arrive at solutions. Are you changing your level of thinking? Who and what helps you change?
This is the non-glamorous side of my art studio. My son and I taped off a 10′ square on the driveway, set up five pieces of display furniture, and moved them around. We tossed questions between us.
What are you putting on this? Do you want this painted? Can you get behind this? Will people be able to touch it? How far can this be seen? How high can we put this? Will this fit in the car?
Fibergig, the business portion of my studio, is preparing to be a vendor at this year’s national gathering of Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. This is a bold move for me; I seek help from reliable sources. My son Joe is a superb logistician and a strong man. We answered all the questions we could through our spatial encounter.
Will this work? We think it will. How do you plan space?
Fibergig, our Etsy shop, invites conversation about our products. This week Sarah admired a linen pillow, but it didn’t match her needs. “I want it to be easy to wash and larger, perhaps a square.”
I agreed to play within those parameters and present several possibilities. The original pillow is in the lower right of the photograph. A cotton pillow front with printed pattern is on the left. I made two more similar to this.
While I was on the bunny trail, I painted a white onesie and hat featuring our sweet bunny with spring blooms. I also took a more contemporary approach with a larger bunny and purple dye, paired with a tie dye hat.
Sarah will decide if my efforts match her needs; we agreed that she would be under no obligation. The rest of the items will be in this shop soon.
This is my year of listening. On Mondays I post a quotation from my collection, words that resonated the first time I heard them, and which continue to resonate. That is a plan for listening which I share with others. I also have personal listening that is about discovery. What am I hearing?
I started listening to Ted Talks as I work in the studio. I am listening to understand the size, structure, and energy of these presentations. I also get to think about topics that would not necessarily come across my radar.
I am listening to trusted voices. Good words come from folks dear to me, good and familiar books, and from those who share my path, if even for a short time. I also hear my own voice, sometimes more clearly through my visual art.
The best thing I am hearing is God’s laughter. Several years ago, I told my sister that I wanted a complex answer to a simple question. This was not a whim, not a clever sound bite, but rather a deep desire, a prayer. I listen and I hear complexity. How do I like this? God is laughing and I am dancing.
I am a morning person. I like waking up. My better mornings are when I remember to prepare the coffee and set the delay brew the night before. But with or without the smell of coffee, I like the moments between waking and leaving the snugly comfort of my rest.
I think about those I love. I stretch my body and am glad to be in it. I let my mind wander and wonder. In that brief journey, my mind often goes to the recurring themes of my current pursuits: a life of enough, creative process, seasonal living.
I was rather startled last week when those thoughts brought me to two questions: what’s under my bed? and what possesses me? They are rattling a complacency in me. They persist in revisiting me. Today I looked under the bed, a place where I have historically stored textile projects with which I didn’t want to be concerned. I found at least two bins of fabric ready to be used. Surprise! My pursuit of a life of enough is changing my habits. There needs to be more new habits before I want to answer the second question. What possesses you?