Friday, August 15, 2008

Sculpting a Life:

One day at a time.
('Sunrise' new copper repousse')

A few weeks ago, an artist and mom-to-be asked me how I managed my studio time. It’s a good question. And one that I wished someone had answered for me when I started out, so I gave it some thought. I wanted to give her something that no one had really given me back then, the truth rather than the myth.

Here’s the myth. That all artists work in their lofty studio spaces alone at least 8-10 hours a day struggling to make their work meet their highest standards of excellence.

Here’s the truth. My work has been done in a variety of settings over the years. I started out with a drafting table in the corner of my bedroom because it was above the reach of my pre-school son. Later, when we moved to a larger house, I put the drafting table in the corner of the den. And gradually the den moved out and my studio moved in. As far as hours a day, I don’t count them. Oh, I spent some time whipping myself into a frenzy trying to uphold the myth of long studio hours, but I kept getting interrupted by life. My life.

Here’s another truth. I work best in 45 minute segments, about the length of one of my favorite CD’s. If I work on one piece any longer than that, I start undoing my own good work. I call it ‘fuzting’. It’s very frustrating. So, what I’ve found works for me is to have about 3 pieces going at once which I work on for 45 minutes each about five days a week. Some days I work longer. Some days I work less. Some days I write. Some days I go out and have fun. Well, ok, I’ll admit, I have a hard time getting myself out for fun, but I’m working on that.

The point is, small segments of time add up to finished work. Think of it this way, Michelangelo carved his masterpieces one chip at a time. So can you. Studio time can work with you, around your life, your kids and walking your dog. It may not happen in one month or one year, but in time, you will have a portfolio of work to show for it and, if you’re lucky, a couple of healthy kids and loving relationships, too.

Just one more thing…don’t forget to play. Go out and have some fun on a regular basis. It feeds the soul. Speaking of which, I’ll talk to you later, I’m going to a movie.

This post was also published in the Joy of Living Creatively at I post there every other Friday and I have several other posts there you can check out. As well as my myspace page at

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