Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cultivating a creative living...

I've been trying to add a post with some new photos for a couple of weeks now, unfortunately something is causing the photos to load incorrectly. They all end up with strips of color through them or only half load. So instead, here's a little piece I wrote this morning while I was sitting in a cafe drinking too much espresso.

"Who could have known it would take a trip of 2000 miles to teach me that Rapid City had become my home. I never thought I'd miss my place in the Black Hills, that I'd long for wintery weather. And yet here I am three months into my adventure and I'm ready to load the car and head West. I've said a lot of awful things about Rapid City in the past, for those sins I pray forgiveness. There is a beauty in the solitude of the hills and I miss it deeply.

I miss the friendships that were formed there. I realize now that it is far more meaningful to have a few true friendships than to cultivate many partial ones. I never really gave Rapid City the chance it deserved. I think this behavior results from a life spent with too many expectations. I build places and people up so that they are destine to fail. I'm uncertain exactly when this behavior began, but I know I've spent my whole adult life practising it. A perfect example is how I've treated my college education. I often hear an undertone of embarrassment in my voice when I say the name of my alma mater. Even as it happens, I'm questioning, "Why?". Why do I act the way I do and how can I change? I'm tired of "Angry Ashley". I want to be "Happy Ashley" again. I miss her, she's way more fun and a hell of a lot cuter!

I know there's a direct link between my creativity and my happiness. This has become very clear during my time at JCCFS. Perhaps, "Angry Ashley" is a bi-product of the creative dry spell I was going through. Perhaps, she is the embodiment of my creative frustration.

I have to find ways to live my creativity. To stop getting so wrapped up in working full-time towards other people's dreams. I fully believe that way of life robs us of our creative spirit. When I spend 8 hours a day 5 days a week working, it leaves little time and energy for me to concentrate on my own dreams. So, my first step in manifesting a happier life is to only work part-time. Thirty hours a week is plenty to yield enough money to pay the bills and keep me fed. Plus, there would be time and energy left for art and writing."

The above has lead me to make a list of the things I need to do in order to cultivate a creative living. Here's what I have so far:

-Finish and publish my cook book. All that is left are the photos, the index, and the forward.

-Teach Printmaking classes in Lino-block and White Line printing.

-Teach Cooking classes in vegetarian, gluten free, and vegan cooking.

-Make and sale my artwork through Etsy, local galleries, and art fairs.

-Apply for more art grants.

-Work only part-time in order to keep the lights on and my belly fed. So that I may spend more time living my passion.

-Spend more time cooking at home, practising yoga and meditating.

-Spend more time with my loved ones.

-Practise open communication. Spend more time listening and less time talking.

-Volunteer at places I enjoy being more often. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A day off, that's just unheard of.....

I sat out to spend the day blogging from the Bella Luna Cafe, only to discover that they weren't open. They also had no hours listed upon their door. Which according to a local gallery owner, is due to the fact that they don't keep "normal hours". So instead, after buying some wonderful soaps at Blue Moon Elise, i found myself in a tiny Italian Bistro named, Antica Roma. The coffee was perfect and the cornetto marmellata left me in flaky pastry heaven! The only draw back was the lack of available wifi.

There's an auction taking place in my house today, which means even less privacy than usual. Thus, the need to fully escape for my day off. This fact was punctuated by a student (who knew it was my weekend off as we had talked about it just last night) asking me questions through the bathroom door, prior to me quickly fleeing campus. "No rest for the wicked", doesn't even graze the surface of how never ending the job of a student host is. Luckily just when I think it sucks, I realize that I'm getting a $1000 vacation/class every week. Its totally worth people interrupting my morning ritual to gain all of this amazing craft training.

I feel like I've learned more in these week long intensives than in the six years it took me to finish my art degree. Maybe its the school? Maybe its me? Maybe its the instructors? Or, maybe its the time in my life? All I know is that I have to soak it all up, and not take a single second for granted.

Which is an important lesson to apply to the rest of my life. I have a hard time living in the present. I'm a planner, a list maker, a schemer. I have to start making a better effort on living in the moment. This sabbatical is just as much about reconnecting with myself as it is about making art and learning new skills. I hope to return from this with a renewed sense of balance, one again the loving happy beautiful soul that sometimes hides at my core. Its a time for stepping back into my integrity and reclaiming my spirit.

Time to see what adventures are lurking around the corner just waiting for my arrival.