I picked up these three barns from the gallery I mentioned in my previous post. The one that has had these pieces for over a year, tucked away somewhere, even I couldn't find them when I went in over the holidays, although I sent people there when they emailed asking to buy my work.....
Well, I had them here for a few days, set them out, loved them all over again. I forgot how great they are. I polished them and set them out to admire and decided I would just keep them for myself.
And then a dear sweet email came. Would I send photos, would I want to sell them? I have almost lost count now of how many of my pieces this person has, but she wants these three as well. There is a certain person that likes my work. I could always sense them when they came into my booth or my studio. I could tell who was going to buy and what piece they wanted.
This particular person came up to me in Saxapahaw at the summer music festival awhile back. She had contacted me earlier and I brought pieces for her to see. I had not met her, but when she walked up to my booth, her eyes were sparkling and I knew her. I knew she loved my work. These are the people that kept me making for so long. Not the galleries that don't even know my name, but the people that read my blog and email as soon as I put something up that I am selling. These are the people that breathe the very life into artists. I feel very blessed to have them as wonderful customers and I am grateful to all of those people for their support of my work over the years. It makes me think that I might even be getting back into the studio in the spring. I have several requests for commissions, but they will have to wait until it is more than 7 degrees outside!
I have been asked at work to teach a kids gardening class. Of course there will have to be an art component, but I think it will be so fun and something new and different for the store. When I first took this job, I felt like maybe I was letting myself down in some way, not pursuing my art, my pottery. Like I had given up. But now I don't really see it that way.
My studio has not gone anywhere, its there for me, waiting. I'm not rushing for a deadline, rolling out slabs like a machine. I am still and calm and content, and if I feel like going out and making some new work, maybe I will. When its warmer, haha! But, the thing is, it's nice to get a steady paycheck. It's nice to work with really cool people. Its nice to do something and have someone truly appreciate my effort. I like not having to take the money I make for work I create and giving it to a show or a festival or a contest entry fee or dues or membership fees. I like not having people come into my studio asking me if I know Mark Hewitt. gaaaahhh.
I feel like I have been so ripped off and if I had it to do over, I don't think I would travel that road again. But getting accepted in shows and contests and galleries is such a lift to the fragile artist ego and it helped validate my work for awhile. But my true validation as an artist is when I get a sweet email like the one I got today, and I hand my work that I love to another person for their keeping and for them to love. That my dears is the real paycheck for an artist! It doesn't pay the bills, but I get the best of both worlds this way. Go to work, get paid, make art, get immeasurable rewards.