Things are getting more and more eccentric at Casa de la Swain. Changing styles in my textile work, falling in love again with painting and photography...and then there is the ever illusive quest for continuing creativity through working with Eric Maisel. Still on the road teaching, posting now at the Ragged Cloth Cafe and taking the pledge to keep handmaiden up to date.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sabbatical Over

First, I want to thank you all who have been commenting on my infrequent posts. You have not only given me great support but many things to contemplate. Even though I haven't responded to each you know that your spirit of community has been immeasurable. I have been keeping up with you from time to time crusing through the don't think you are not in my thoughts. Again, thanks.
Now to the sabbatical.....all at once everything going on in my life, art, business, family all caught up with me. I realized that I was doing everything half-way...not an approach I want or desire. For me, life is full tilt boogie...taking risks....juggling all the balls. To make a long story short, a small depression set it. Where do I go from here? What am I doing with the art and the business? Most of all why am I doing it anyway? What do I have to say that hasn't already been said (probably better by someone else)?
To come to the point, I became paralyzed by all these questions and doubts. I couldn't face the studio after having been on a very productive cycle. Thank you Christy, my business manager, for keeping that end of my life in order. Otherwise, I felt totally overwhelmed to the point where I didn't even want to work.
As many of you know from reading my ramblings, I think about art, how it effects our collective lives and my personal life on a regular basis. What were my options? I had to find a way out of this funk. In part, I knew I had been on the road too much which had caused me to be just plain tired. On the other hand, I love teaching and don't want to stop. The driving force, however, is the art....and there is nothing worse than an artist who is avoiding what they love.
Finally, this weekend, I sat down with one of my journals, drew a line down the middle of the page, put a + on one side and a - on the other and began listing the positives and negatives of every aspect of my journey.
I would like to tell you that for every negative there is a positive and vice versa but that just isn't so. Some are all positive; some all negative. However, it gave me a clearer picture of where I was and what was causing my depression. While reading what I had written, things started to come into focus, light bulbs went off, bells and whistles began to sing.
1. I was physically tired and needed rest. The fatigue had brought on part of the depression.
2.I want to make art...lots of different art...painting, quiltmaking, photography.
3. I don't want to work to anyone else's restrictions....size, style, production level.
4. I don't care about being "a famous" anything; I just want to do the work. I am over marketing myself to reach gallery owners, corporate collections, etc.
5. It's nice to be in shows and I am always delighted to get acceptance letters but that cannot over-ride the way I want to or technique. Shows cannot be the reason I am making art.
If you have made it this far, meet the new and improved Gabrielle. Artist cycle like this all the time and no one knows that better than I do. It had been a long time since I had experienced one of these downward cycles. I don't suffer from clinical depression; this was just a cycle of questioning that all artist face from time to time. Now onward and upward having defined clear objectives to focus on for the rest of the year.
I hope this finds all well with you and yours.


Karoda said...

Gabrielle, thanks for sharing this aspect of what you've been through...I was reminded of this "cycle" as being perfectly normal to stress earlier today by looking at the writing of Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Her work always gives me a sense of liberation.

Trista Hill said...

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do
to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it.
If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
Do not lose heart. We were made for these times -- Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Mrs. Mel said...

I can so relate.

You are so smart to have made that list.

Taking care of yourself first will culminate in taking care of every other thing better.

Without art, what is the point?

Gerrie said...

That could be my list. Welcome back! I missed ya! good for you for taking time to connect with you inner artist.

teri springer said...

Good girl. You can't make real art if you aren't making it from your heart....And I love what comes from yours and so do lots of other people. You and Mel are way beyond the need to be in shows.