People have been telling me for years I need to not work so hard. I guess working 10 hours plus a day, 7 days a week for 6 years with no vacations may be a bit much, for sure. But when it comes to making your living as an artist, you need to work harder, longer to make a successful go of it. If you’re really lucky, you have a partner with a normal job, and can not work yourself to a frazzled nubbin.
This year was my breaking point. My poor old body has begun to break down. The mind is still willing to do it but my body says “give me a break”. For the first time I’m backing out of a show. Just can’t muster up the strength to do it. I feel like a piker, but I’m 58 years old, dammit, and I just don’t have the energy and physical capabilities I used to have.
My goal now is to get my health back on track. What is the point of vocationally doing what you want with your life, if you can’t do anything enjoyable after your work day is finished? I need to find a way to work smarter. Of course this is the quest of most working artists…people want art in their lives, but unfortunately the days when the public bought art and fine craft at a riotously brisk rate are long gone. It gets harder and harder to make ends meet. And if you don’t work very very hard to produce a lot of stuff you don’t wind up with a successful year.
Lastly, I would like to give public thanks to my partner, Richard Aerni. He consistently pats me on the head when I do well, and pats me on the back when I don’t. He cooks healthy meals for me, and rubs my sore back at the end of a long day. He give me advice about how to improve my glazes, how to market my work, and yes, tells me not to work so hard (funny words coming from the hardest working person I know). He handles my various and sundry quirks with aplomb, gets me settled down when I’m in an uproar, and is basically the best friend I’ve ever had. He’s a good man.
This year is almost at a close, and I need to start planning for the next years show season. I will try to do it in a way that will provide some recovery time. For all of you working artists out there who walk the same road: Kudos to you all! We all work extremely hard for not much return because we are compelled to do what we do. I have enormous admiration for you all, and hope you are managing to take the time to smell the roses. I know I’m going to try to do the same.