21 February 2007

two sides of the journey

two swallows large oval bowl 16" x 11"

Hello Friends, I have missed my regular forays in to the little bloggy world that I have become a part of and has become a part of me. Things have been moving in all kinds of directions though I am not sure which direction I am moving in myself. It has been a very difficult couple of weeks. I have been forced to do some serious reassessment of my situation and how feasible it is to continue on without having a secondary job to rely on for income. My friends have called worried about me. Rightly so, in that I am lucky to have friends who will put it to me straight. In all honesty I have struggled for years now. I have never been able to get a leg up financially, always just squeezing by, hanging in there sometimes by the thinnest of threads. It isn't easy to talk about much less publicly admit. I get so much support to keep on from people and I do believe in myself and what I do. The problem is that no matter how many accolades I receive, shows offered and even orders made it is a difficult to make a living at what I do. Many people say, with the best of sentiments, that it will all work out... but when I sit down to pay my bills I see that it isn't all working out. When I don't have health insurance I see it isn't all working out. When I lay awake at night hoping that nothing will happen to me for fear of not being able to take care of myself it really truly does not feel like it is all working out.

I think the most frustrating part of all of this is the thought of reinventing myself or redirecting what I have worked so hard at doing and a life I have created for myself so that I can eat and pay my bills. The question in my mind is that if I do get a real job, will that help me sleep better at night or will I still lay awake frustrated by the fact that I have had to give up my dreams of being a self supporting artist?


Annie said...

I'm so sorry you're in a low place Diana. I love your art.

Maybe it's time to discover new ways to bring your art to more people, and thus make more money. Perhaps cards, fabric, journals, prints? Extend your brand, like my friend Amy Ruppel has done so successfully.

I believe you're working with another friend of mine too, Carter at Indiarose. Collaborate, inspire, innovate, and find new ways to make it work.

And if you absolutely have to get a part-time job to make ends meet, well, there will be a reason for that too. Maybe you'll meet the next important person in your life there.

Never ever ever give up.

sulu-design said...

Oh, amen to all of that! I feel your pain - I decided to keep my real job, mostly because of the lovely health insurance it provides me with, and scrap my dreams of opening up a handmade goods shop (for now). It's been really hard trying to balance work and craft, but I don't see how I could give up either of them. In your dreams, must you be a self-supporting artist, or would it be okay to have a job that supports you and still pursue your art?

Kailla said...

The work you sent to Xen is incredable. Really a wonderful body of work. I am keeping watch on their website in the hopes of maybe being able to take one of these pieces home with me to Oregon.
Have you ever seen any of Rick Bartow's work? He works in several mediums - you might like it, especially his prints. He has an interesting life story and his work is varied and wonderful.

I hope that whatever decisions you make about your life and work in the near future go well for you.

michelle said...

Awe, I feel for you...I gave up my love for ceramic art because I was afraid I couldn't providde for myself and became a physical therapist. Well, eight back surgeries later, and now another looming overhead, I didn't follow my dream, but ceramic art has rescued me again, at least mentally.

It is difficult to suggest anything, it is such a personal struggle and only you know what truly would create balance in your life. Just know, you are not alone. You are super talented and admired, and will continue to be a success either way.

Take care!

Cruz said...

Oh my. I was directed to your blog from another site and was so moved by your post. As a single woman who long ago planned her life with the practical idea of being able to care for myself, I have always admired the courage of my artistic sisters who choose another path. How brave and exciting it seems to me as I drive myself to work and back home each day. I so fervently hope that your life as an artist will work out; you are so obviously talented.

Angela Rockett said...

My heart goes out to you. I've been faced with that same dilemna many times in the past. I am VERY fortunate to be able to do what I do, and I owe it all to my husband. We're not at all rich, and I haven't quite figured out the health insurance yet either, but for the past year or so I have been able to paint without a "real job". I know how devastating it would be to have to give it up again.

I pray that you don't have to and that you can continue to make your beautiful pieces unhindered.

whitney smith said...

Boy, the questioning of the artist's life sure is going around right now. It's difficult to enjoy the freedom of being an artist when you can't sleep at night. I know your beautiful pottery so well, and you of all people should be reaping the financial benefits of your hard work. Remember that it's only been just over a year since you went full-time, give yourself some more time before deciding it's not working out. It's possible you haven't quite hit your stride yet.

Kathleen said...

I really feel for you. I have been freelancing as a designer for over a year now as I try to transition to a more artistic way to supporting myself, and it is SO difficult. Its hard to stay centered, hard to keep up with bills that seem endless, hard to maintain focus on why I'm doing this when bills and other health expenses just constantly loom. It would be infinitely easier to get a full time gig with health insurance and a steady paycheck. To have a month when I could actually project how much money I would have. I have felt like giving up more than once—probably at least once a week—but I tell myself there are people who do this—who live an artist's life and live it without so much financial stress. So if they can do it...Hopefully this is just the rough part. As I get older I have less patience for the rough parts...but I tell myself its got to all come to some resolve somehow. Doesn't it? I wish you the very very best. You are so incredibly talented. The world needs work by Diana Fayt! Know that.

Abby Creek Art said...

Diana, maybe this period of struggle and reflection will bring forth a more fierce determination or a new direction. Nothing is ever permanent though so if you decide you need to find work outside the studio for awhile...you can always turn back if it doesn't work out. Meditating about what to do might help you to open and guide yourself. Sending clarity and light your way...xo.

red-handed said...

Diana, your work is lovely.

No matter what you decide to do, I hope you understand the achievement that is -- as a real, physical thing -- in and of itself.

I've given away my own work for years. Only lately have I started to trade it for other art. Maybe someday I'll actually sell something. Do dark Hungarian souls like company? Because I hear what you're talking about (I'm typing this from my office job right now).

Please take care.

Sara Paloma said...

Hey Diana,
(By the way this is the first response I've ever
left on a blog). Hang in there... I go through this EVERY February, it will pick up. Your work is gorgeous, your just getting started... do whatever you have to do to give your business (well thats what it is ain it?) some time.

Panic is the mother of invention.

...and then there's credit cards darling.... just kidding (?)

Sara Paloma

futuregirl said...

For me, there is no question that someone as talented as you should be able to make a living from your art. But I'm not surprised that it's difficult for you. When I look around at the world today, it seems that people don't value beauty and creativity. As I was walking down the street yesterday, I saw the supports in a basement parking garage topped with fancy scroll work. It was probably from 60 years ago. These days, a parking garage looks like a prison.

I must believe that there are enough people in the world that *do* notice and appreciate beauty that you will eventually be able to thrive. I can't imagine the heart-ache you must feel thinking that you might lose the life you know, or you may have to loosen your grip on your dream of being a self-supporting artist, even for a little while.

susan said...

it is such a struggle. insurance just about kills us every year - yet, somehow we keep pushing on. after 15 years, i can truly say with conviction, it has worked out.
our best to you diana... have faith

April said...

Your work is lovely!
Is there any way you could have some classes at your studio?

Kait said...

I've enjoyed watching your work over the past couple of months since I found your blog, and I really hope you find a strategy that works for you. Consider that there are different levels of "real jobs." I think it's easy to feel like it's all or nothing, that a job working for someone else means giving up "being an artist." I've never been without a "day job" entirely, but for a long time was very satisfied with a three-day-a-week "real job" which I could take time off from to do a few shows. Still, I know that insurance can be a hard thing to get around, I'm now up to four nine-hour days to get coverage. I'm still struggling with what this means for my art. Hang in there and good luck.

Natasha Wozniak said...

Just had dinner off of your plate...I read this the other day, thought about it, and I can say that I feel a lot of what you are saying. I fantasize about having some kind of mindless admin assitant job or something like that, BUT I would say that you should be as stubborn as possible in avoiding taking time away from your work and business.

While the money will help in the short term, the time away from this work as a full time endeavor is far more damaging in the long run. I can say that after 5 years of being full time, I still lose sleep over these problems, but you have achieved far greater things in your first year than I did, so you are well on your way.

Call some insurance agents. I found a sympathetic one when I lived in NJ and he set me up with a catastrophic plan that would at least protect me from devastating bills in the event of a major emergency.

Warmest wishes,

julie rozman said...

Well, I've read all the way to February from present day. Don't think me a stalker - here in the architecture office, I'm spending a lot of time waiting for the computer to "print" PDFs of a bunch of drawings... there's some down time.

This is the first summer I've tried to sell any work - by way of a couple of fairs - and I'm glad to see another artist writing about some of the things I think about... many of the reasons I'll probably never do art full-time.

I'm enjoying your blog, and your work... looking forward to more.