Life is good. I have a great partner (Robert), I live in a beautiful part of the country and I have free time to create. I got a call from a placement agency yesterday saying they might have the perfect position for me and I plan on having 9-5 employment very soon (more like 7-4 but you get the idea).
Another thing that is beyond exhilarating is that I've tapped into the most amazing group of artists that do "fine folk art" like me. I guess, you could call it "fine craft" as well. I went to a gallery one time to show them my stained glass portfolio and the girl says, "Oh...we don't do crafts." I was too appalled to think clearly or I would have told her to look at the paintings, glass work and sculpture in her gallery and tell me how they were made if not "crafted". (Bitter much? ;)
Well, Crafters have come a long way since then (all of 5 years ago) and I really like what I see. Thanks to Facebook, Blogspot by Google and the internet in general, these enterprising artists have created their own galleries of sorts with shops on Ebay and Etsy. There are groups of these artists that hold challenges like "All White" and then sell the amazing results in a highly publicized sale - complete with teaser notices.
The most exciting thing for me to discover about these folk folks is the camaraderie and willingness to share tips and techniques. I found myself surprised when an artist I'd watched for a while in magazines and the internet responded to a comment I placed on his Facebook page. He was encouraging me to do my own thing to set myself apart from others and to keep at it.
Another artist I met at Glitterfest in Santa Ana, CA spent 20 minutes with me telling me about where she got the different wool for her doll's hair and how she finds the fabric for the dress/clothes. Another let me in on a technique of smoothing out paperclay with a wet paint brush. It felt like I was getting some of their top secrets. I guess I was expecting these artists to be secretive and competitive. All I've received so far is genuine graciousness and generosity.
I consider myself to be one of those artists and am taking this all in as I "learn the ropes". I've been researching different blogs and websites ad nauseum and, quite honestly, don't want a 9-5 job so I can devote my time to making fun stuff. I have noticed, however, that making things requires money and so I'll take that 9-5'er as a stepping stone to full time artist. Many of these artists are in or were in my same boat. So I know it's possible. (It helps to be REALLY good.)
All in all, it's been a great experience watching how these artists market and create a following and sell things on the internet and at shows. I'll be participating at Glitterfest as an artist on October 2nd in Santa Ana. I will continue to absorb this culture of artists and make a name for myself and not only sell things that people might like, but to continue on the journey as an artist, cuz I like making stuff.