Sunday, January 17, 2010

An Unpremeditated Day Off

When you're self-employed the relationship between bill-paying and working is very direct. No work-ey, no money. Moreover, I enjoy my work. Because there's a good variety of tasks available, I seldom get bored. Trying to tame the ever-present piles of paperwork, online work, and the actual making of the product keep me pretty busy. I thought when I "went full-time" into the beadmaking, that I would have hours and hours of uninterrupted time to make beads. Not so, I was to discover. So because I generally like all the facets of what I do, I rarely take a day off, and often when I do relent, the day off is a total surprise.

Yesterday, I had finished filing about 6 months worth of little sheets of paper, made breakfast (my favorite meal of the day, which usually occurs around lunchtime), and I was petting Joey and flipping through the channels on the TV trying to get an update on Haiti, when I got up, went into my bedroom, picked up the book I was reading, and read until about 1:00 am when I finished the book.

My days off tend almost always to be surprises to myself. Sounds odd, I know, but my plan at that moment when I got up off the couch was to walk directly to the studio.

Wow! How nice! I'd forgotten how much I liked to spend all day reading a book. And something about unplanned free time is one of my most precious commodities. I probably could count on one hand the number of times I do this each year.

My bedroom is pleasantly sunny during the day. I'd been reading for a while when my friend Deborah called from Colorado, and we had a nice long chat while I was lying there all warm and comfortable, soaking up the rays that came into the window. Then more reading; a nap, something which I can't remember the last time I did; more reading (by that time the rain had started); leftovers and tea late, around 9:00 pm; small dialogue with Marc about the silliness of the Conan/Leno thing and why can't they find anybody like Johnny Carson; more reading until I finished the book. Brushed my teeth, took my vitamins, went to bed for good to the sound of the rain.

After a day like this -- and Saturdays "off" are even more rare for me because I'm usually out of town trying to sell my beads on Saturdays -- I always say to myself that I will do this sort of thing on a regular basis. That it's helpful and important to my well-being, that it's part of the balance I've been looking for and craving deeply since I started this beadmaking living.

I spend so much time in the studio (thinly disguised as a garage) that I forget how nice the house is to be in.

Regarding my book: I had started reading "Twilight" several days ago. I checked it out from the library because every time I looked at it in the bookstore I just couldn't get into it. I'm a big Anne Rice fan, and I couldn't possibly fathom anyone coming up with anything better or as interesting as her first 5 vampire novels (her later 3 or so kinda suck). But after reading Twilight, I think there is something there, and I'll be checking "Moonlight" out from my little library if they have it. I'd like to say it's never too late to fall back in love with your library, especially in this economy.

So at this moment today, I have a driven boss who enjoys her work, has a pretty solid work ethic, who's looking forward to a nice block of studio time. I've got five movies from the library, and I'm ready to go I think. We'll see where my feet lead me when I get up...because I can't remember the last time I took a whole weekend off, and Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" is waiting.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Teacher, Joey-dog

We didn't name Joey, "Joey" without a good reason. He lives to jump, and he has the coloring of a kangaroo. Other names we tossed around were "Tigger" and "Buckie," although I know another precious dog with that name. But Joey seemed to fit from the start.

I think one of my favorite things about Joey has to be how he greets each and every day with enthusiasm. Without fail he wakes me up with such infectious energy, it makes me wonder what he thinks is going to happen. Or, I like to think he's excited about what could happen. He's an 85-lb yellow lab mix, so his enthusiasm can knock you down or hurt you, especially if you tend to be a little wobbly getting up, or he takes you unawares. But once he figures you're getting up (and he knows exactly precisely how I throw the covers off when I'm getting up), he leaps, he bounds, he prances around like a horse, he bucks like a bronco, his eyes are shiny and focused. He actually smiles his biggest smile. He springs on and off the bed, which is thankfully sturdy. At times, all four paws leave the ground, and he likes to give me the high five with both front paws as we walk out the bedroom door. You have to be ready for that. (I'm extremely reluctant to "train" this behavior out of him because it's so integral to his person. We're used to it, but if you come to visit, be warned!)

But Joey's message really starts my day off on the right foot. And he's got a point -- there's a lot to look forward to each day, especially before the day really starts; the possibilities are limitless, and I should be more than happy about that. Sky's the limit. Each and every day. Thank you my beloved Joey-dog for the not-so-gentle, but highly amusing reminder.

You just can't have a bad day that begins like that.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Space Between

So, I've had this blog for a while, and I haven't been sure how to begin, but here's what's been on my mind lately...

I so enjoy the time for making/creating glass art between the last show of the previous year and the first show of the new year. What's wierd is that there is not much if any difference in the time between these two shows -- especially with Christmas and the holidays thrown in -- than any other two shows during a given year. So you'd think I'd feel exactly as stressed out as I usually do when preparing for the next show, since I generally have very little time between shows to do so.

I do between 25 and 30 or so bead shows per year, so you do the math. I've had folks ask me, "So when do you make beads?" My smart answer is, "Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays." Which is pretty much true when you think about it. I travel to shows on Fridays, sell on Saturdays and Sundays, travel home on Mondays, and make new work on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. This cycle repeats itself 25-30 times per year. Good thing I like to drive my car, listen to books on tape, or music, and travel, or I'd be hating my life!

I digress. So for some reason, I can creatively relax after the last show of the year. The puzzle is why, and how can I keep this feeling going all year long? It's been especially nice this year. Each day, I've been going into the studio to make beads, and just enjoying the here and now of it. I haven't really been thinking about the show coming up next weekend in Baltimore on the 9th and 10th. I haven't been thinking so much about what I "need" to make, and I've been enjoying making what I "want" to make. Each day, I go out into the studio and say, "What colors do I feel like today?" and this is what I work on. It's been nice. I feel connected again. I feel rejuvenated. I remember what I love about making beads. I remember what has kept me going for the past 15+ years.

Now, how to keep this feeling of the New Year, as I think it helps me to create more work, and better work? I try to tell myself that folks understand that this is all handmade, and not produced in a factory somewhere, so sometimes there's not a lot of it. But what there is of it is very nice, eh? So wish me luck in trying to keep my attitude properly adjusted. Hey! I think I just made a New Year's resolution! I'd been rooting around for one...