Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Learning to Spread My Wings

Over the past month, I’ve been taking an e-course with Kelly Rae Roberts called Flying Lessons. Let me just say wow. The amount of content Kelly Rae has written for this course has been absolutely phenomenal. I imagine the full thing would print out to be a 300-page book. It’s been crazy chock full of great information. Of course, as par for the course for me, I’ve been having a heck of a time keeping up so I’ve been hopping around a bit, but today’s post really struck a chord with me. It talks about embracing the journey of a creative business… “the ebb and flow, overwhelm and burnout, celebration and joy.” I’ve most definitely been experiencing that. (Bracelet above listed in my Etsy shop.)

Kelly Rae said, "After all, in the big scheme of things, it's often not the destination that we can control. The only thing we really can control is staying centered and inside the perspective that the creative biz path really is a journey. If we can give ourselves permission to not always know, to give up the "shoulds," then we allow ourselves and our creative spirits a bit more freedom to roam the mysteries of its possibilities."

Well said, sister! Last year, I postponed the majority of my regular juried show schedule in lieu of participating in the Riverside Arts Market (RAM). I was so excited about RAM. The venue was gorgeous, the idea was fabulous, and I felt like it was something Jacksonville really needed. And if I could stay right here at home and sell my jewelry and photography, awesome! Now, I still think the venue is gorgeous, and the idea is fabulous, and the people running it are truly wonderful; it’s very well organized. It just didn’t work for me. My sales for 13 weeks at RAM barely surpassed what I normally do at a large juried festival in one weekend. Granted my jewelry is on the higher end of what you’d typically find at a market like this, so maybe that was part of it. And maybe I expected too much. Who knows? I’d love to see RAM move to a once-a-month format instead of a weekly format. While RAM is still the top dog and the best run market in the best venue, nearly a dozen little Saturday arts and farmers markets have sprouted up in the area, and I wonder if the market is getting a bit too diluted.

My experience with RAM was a big lesson for me. And it was a big lesson that caused some major burnout. All those Saturdays in a row at the market away from my family, not making many sales, really took a physical and creative toll on me. Because of that, this year I took a big step back. I only did one show this spring, the always fun and profitable Springtime Tallahassee Arts Jubilee. (I wrote about my very first Springtime Tallahassee here; it was quite an experience!) I’ve started worrying less about selling my art and started enjoying more the process itself, creating whatever I’ve wanted to create when I’ve wanted to create it (obviously, since I seem to be all over the board here lately, jewelry above, mixed media postcard below, photography below that). That’s been very freeing. I guess that’s part of the ebb and flow Kelly Rae referred to. And because I’ve let go of the need to sell, every little sale I do make on Etsy or on my website is cause for celebration! And it’s made room for other things, allowing me the time to explore other creative areas, the freedom to experience amazing adventures like Artful Journey, and even the room and opportunity for my first solo gallery showing of my photography (more on that later!).

It’s fitting that I’m writing this post on June 30. Thanks to that letting go this first half of 2010, I’m now starting to feel better about loading Sally up and hitting the road again, so this fall, I’m planning to get back to a scaled-down version of my regular show schedule. Because I’ve been so scatter-brained lately (okay, I’m always scatter-brained, but I’ve been more scatter-brained than usual lately), I missed the application deadline for Market Days in Tallahassee, which has been one of my regulars, but that’s okay; that’ll save me that $375 booth and application fee, and I’ll fill that spot with a less expensive show. I’m looking into the Glynn Arts Association shows for this fall. I could essentially still sleep at home with those since they are just an hour up the road in St. Simon’s! So thank you, Kelly Rae. That post was just what I needed to read today. It was a good reminder that the journey really is so much more enjoyable when we worry less about the destination. That’s a good lesson learned.


Jill Eudaly said...

okay this is wierd, not only did I do Emma's 50th Bday card, I'm #10. I'm also taking Flying Lessons right now.
I liked her post also. Right now I have kids at home and my husband has been off getting very little art done. I keep telling myself its nice to have them all here.....where do I buy ear plugs??

jacqueline said...

Dearest kelly, this is such an inspiring post! Love love love your words and your story! Your creations are so gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing with us. So happy i came by to visit. Have a lovely merry happy day and love to you!

Gwynnie B said...

Really enjoyed this post, Kelly! After reading Flying Lessons and then hearing your words so clearly, I felt so relieved knowing I'm not the only artist with these very same concerns and issues.

It's amazing how much we put on ourselves and how easy it is to lose sight of the artful journey. I've had similar experiences with art shows and am now doing only 2 or 3 a year. And has this decision paid off in more than just sales: got my sanity back and the joy of why I do what I do.

Thank you for sharing this post! I so needed to read it :)

peace, love & heART, Dear One...

Kerri said...

great post!
i'm about to embark on a big, time consuming creative endeavor so i loved krr's post about it being ok for things to be out of balance during times like that. whew. b/c that's how it's going to be i'm sure.

lori vliegen said...

i'm so glad you're enjoying kelly rae's class....there's nothing like finding the right message at just the right time....kinda like finding the pearl in the oyster, i would say! your jewelry is spectacular (oh how i would love to be a dangly stripey bead sharing space with all of those other fabulous beads and baubles!!) and i know that you'll have great success in which ever show you decide to participate in! xoxox, :)))

Cindy Woods O'Leary said...

Hey Kelly--I took Flying Lessons too and was amazed at all the info she shared! I've been so busy getting ready for the 2nd retreat (Feb. feels like ages ago!) that I also had to just jump around, but I did purchase the pdf. And yes, we all need to be reminded to 'let go' and enjoy the ride! Hope to meet up with you again on this wild, creative Journey we're on! hugs, cindy

Lis said...

I love your perspective here ... so refreshing and affirming to those of us still wandering around out there enjoying the artful journey but second guessing myself because I am not selling anything ... yet! I took flying lessons to be prepared for that day, but for now my journey is about exploration and play.

So glad to have you in our creativity sandbox! Sounds like you have a wonderful second half of 2010 awaiting you!

xo Lis