All in all this New Year is a positive time for me. Despite going through a weekly slump where I decide I'm going to give Art up and get a proper job, I have made a number of important realisations. One is that all the work I do that isn't paid, whether it is messing about with the camera or drawing, or chairing the Contemporary Glass Society and editing their newsletter is all 'work' - it all goes into the melting pot that is my career. It is all valuable stuff, paid or not. I began to see how it all helps to form a sense of what I like and don't like, where are my strengths and weaknesses. For instance I have been having great fun helping to curate an online show of Experimental Glass Jewellery, for example. The show is called 'Unpolished', and the idea is to find work that is fresh and un-evolved. The show will go online in March on the Contemporary Glass Society website. I enjoyed this so much that I have begun to realise that this is something I will be pursuing in the future.
The other thing that New Year seems to have crystallised is that I don't have to have answers right away. I often feel frustrated that my path isn't clearer, but it dawned on me that as a creative person, that path is never really that clear. It's the whole point - to tread new paths. Obvious really, but somehow I had lost sight of that. I often feel that I live right on the edge of failure - failure to make an real money, failure to have a proper job, failure to know what to make next. I felt that this was necessary from time to time, but that it was something to be 'got through', until I could see the sunny light of success and clarity. I think that actually, living on the edge of failure on what being an artist is all about. It is a permanent state. The ancient Persian poet Rumi said 'sell your certainty and buy bewilderment', or something like that, and I think he may be right.
Despite my embracing of the murk of creativity, another thing that has come clearer recently has been that I need to maintain a critical edge for me work. I like the new stuff
that I am producing, but I feel that it doesn't have the sophistication of the Domestic Gospels work. I saw part of the 'Made Up' show at Tate Liverpool before Christmas, and I loved it. I felt that my work was conceptually dwarfed by the stuff there, and that I do need to raised the bar for myself. Not sure how, but that's another story.
Image: Work in progress, Victoria Scholes. Glass and enamel transfer