Monday, January 19, 2009


(Moon-Susan Gallacher-Turner)


Sculpting a Life:
Studio secret revealed.

I used to have a secret about something I did in the studio everyday that nobody knew about. I did it everyday, the same way. I felt a little guilty about it because it felt so good to do it. So I kept it to myself, my little studio secret. What I didn’t know then was this; this secret was important to my success as an artist, my health, sanity, relationships as well as my productivity.

What is it? It’s hard to put a label on it. So I’ll just go ahead and describe it step by step.

First, I’d make coffee. While that was brewing, I’d light a candle or two and put on a CD, usually instrumental. When the coffee was ready, I’d pour myself a nice, big, mug full and head to my studio. I’d sit down in the wicker chair with my dog at my feet and begin. I closed my eyes, sniffed and sipped my coffee and concentrated on nothing. I did nothing but sit, sip, listen and breathe. Thoughts would rush through my head. Feelings would bubble up from within, sometimes I’d sigh, sometimes I’d cry. But through it all, I’d keep sitting.

I treasured that time and called it my Creative Meditation. I got brave after awhile and put it on my schedule as C.M. I was able to do it after everyone else had left for school or work and I was alone. It felt so luxurious to have that time, alone, all for me – everyday.

Where did it go? Life changed. It’s hard to find the space and time to do it. My kids are college-age, live at home and are here most mornings, so I’m no longer alone. My beloved dog, Heather died and, although, a wonderful new lab has come into my life, she doesn’t always sleep at my feet. I’m also feeling the economic pinch, the need to push myself harder, to make more money, to be more productive. That means more to do and less time to be.

I remember when I started on my road as an artist and I began my creative meditation, I was afraid if I stopped and sat down, I might never get anything done. Of course, that didn’t happen. I’ve gotten a lot done over the years and have the portfolio to prove it.

There’s a lot to do. Right now in the studio, there’s a copper leaf piece on the table, three clay busts on the rolling stand, and a screening sculpture on the easel waiting for another layer of paint. There are new classes to plan and organize. Writing projects for blogs, freelance, interviews, book reviews that all need to be finished. Then there’s the work that goes with living; dishes, laundry floors, cat boxes, garbage, cooking, walking the dog. It seems an endless list that once done needs to be redone. Everyday.

I love what I do. And whether I’m sculpting, teaching, writing or connecting with new people I’m focused right there. So why can’t I focus on taking this space each day? Why is it so easy to-do and so hard to-be?

Fear. Now I’m afraid that if I stop doing, I’ll be swallowed up by fear. My fear of the unknown and my feelings of powerlessness will bring me to a grinding halt.

But running away from my fears doesn’t make me less afraid, all it does is keep me away from me. And after all, in this world of unknowns if you don’t know yourself, what do you know? I think that one way to get through the unknowns is to get back to what I do know. Me. Everyday.

Today, my to-do is to-be. For 1 cup of coffee, I resolve to let myself have a space everyday to be, to sit, to breathe in and out, to listen whatever pops into my head or heart.

4 comments:

Susan J Tweit said...

You go, Susan! Thanks for sharing your studio secret in such a thoughtful and insightful way. And I love that silver moon with the copper and gold? spray below it. Wow!

Susan GT said...

Thanks, Susan! I must admit to being a little 'shy' about letting my secret out there. I'm glad I got over it and shared it anyway. And I'm so glad you love the silver moon, it was made as part of a series of Masqued Ball Masks for a show several years ago. I think it would be so cool to wear to a ball, don't you think?

Anderson said...

Susan, this is something I've been trying to do for some time now. I managed to find that time in the evenings for about a week and then once again life happened. I inted on posting about it later on. It's so important that we take that time for ourselves.

Susan GT said...

Anderson,
Why is it we can find the time for a while and then not? Where does that time go? You are so right, it is so important.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.