Sunday, 22 April 2012

more thoughts on careering wildly

thank you everybody for your contributions to the discussion in the previous post. I hope the Lamb has found information of use there and let me say it was never my intent to be callous, sarcastic or hurtful in my answers, merely as honest as i could be.

it occurred to me that i should have included more in my answer. eg that my income is not derived entirely from simply colouring cloth
but from a number of sources

it is important to distribute the eggs between several baskets
in case you trip up
in my case it means writing books and articles [most of these don't pay, Handeye bless them, DO]
making costumes for dance
teaching classes in dyeing cloth/paper , felt-making, stitch, garment re-construction, pieced cloth
or various combinations
taking the odd dress commission [but only from people i feel empathy with, otherwise it's too hard for me to make something that will work]
and in between finding time to 

i do teach a lot.
teaching is the main source of keeping body and soul together.
to keep the teaching fresh
no class is ever exactly repeated
the topic may be similar
but there will always be something [at least] a little different
i might speedily find myself confined to social nutworking in a secure facility
the kind of work i do
seems to attract interesting people
with whom it is a pleasure to spend time
plants and water are different around the whirled
which means there is always something new for me to learn as well

i noted among the comments to the earlier post
mention of health insurance, long service leave etc.
these benefits do not attach to this particular sole practitioner
on the other hand
i don't have to ask for permission
if i suddenly decide that pouring walnut dye onto a piece of organic cotton canvas in a motel carpark on the California coast is the best way to spend that particular morning

i noted also that one contributor mentioned she had found her soulmate early on and that the soulmate made it possible for her to chase her dreams
she's one of the Lucky Ones
i've met quite a few folk whose Significant Other is happy to be a Patron of the Arts.
guess the other option is to chain your soul to an educational institution in the hope of the security of tenure
but then
you also have to do the Devil's Work
administration / marking / constant justification of you being there / sucking up to people you might not otherwise want to give the time of day

as a friend of mine [who sadly drank himself to death in his 39th year*]
once said
"life is a rich tapestry
of loose ends"

*Christine's comment to the earlier post about a life on anti-depressants strikes firmly home here


  1. I'm a fan of pithy answers... (I feel inclined to finish this comment just there.... but then I'd be obscure rather than pithy...) I liked your succinct answers to questions asked in the previous post. If the inquisitor didn't already know at least a few pertinent things about your practice (ie that you write, make, teach, wonder, inspire, and follow your own muse) no amount of explaining would fill in the blanks.... (ps years ago I received a comment on a uni essay that read 'pithy'.... my response? 'that's a nasty lithp you've got there...')

  2. choices, and decisions, and the courage to make and follow them. seems like the young ones aren't schooled much in courage. so, straightforward answers are necessary, i think. they're kind.

  3. Sometimes I'm at a total loss for words when asked a question or few about my work and income. I thoroughly enjoyed your honesty and humour when answering the questions. Your sense of humour never disappoints! Picturing you dying fabric in the car park... lol .... and still feeling the bubbles of laughter re "what to expect". "Be curious about everything" is the best advice to any artist. Gotta love you India!

  4. I sometimes think of the choices made when an artist is young and inexperienced and not really thinking ahead.. for example, I graduated with my MA and married and taught deaf children for 4 years then had 3 sons.. my middle son went to NYC after college..looking for his art career.. and now he is graduating from Columbia Univ with his MFA and a very promising art career in NYC.. and I now live on a quiet island teaching an occasional workshop and painting for an occasional gallery show.. one never knows where choices and paths will end up. Follow your own path is best.

  5. I get so irritated that after all this time I STILL get the odd person asking me why I don't go and get a 'proper' job. I really take my hat off to your resourcefulness and your passion for what you create. I wish instilling a 'follow your star' ethos was taught to the young these days. *sigh*

  6. it's so nice to hear the truth about the un-secured life. thank you!

  7. loving all this 'soul' talk Thanks xx

  8. I think you spoke from the heart and were very honest India..and that is all you can honest to your self and your beliefs. And no l don't think you were hard on the poor lamb.x

  9. i believe the name of your blog
    says everything that needs
    to be said
    on the subject.

  10. I've narrowly escaped doing the "Devil's Work" several times... instead, I've not quite sold my soul, but have my foot in that game enough to run the other way any time a soul-contract is offered me. So, instead, I piece a living together, magically, somehow.

  11. "social nutworking"...sometimes i resemble that statement, can I borrow it?

  12. I'm one of those people who allowed my significant other to follow his dream of teaching chess. I didn't mind because it allows me to be happy for and with him. Since I've become unemployed I've starting doing my art more and just love the freedom of not-being confined to a job. (I do temps) You find ways of figuring out how to not miss the things you thought were so important - money, good clothes, new cars.