02 September 2010

Fallow Season

I have been absent from my own blog {remember my no obligations rule? I won't be apologizing for it}. I have things that need to get done. I still have a house to sell {and we are in the process of doing all sorts of updates to it with a new realtor for fresh ideas. Sell, dammit!} and in terms of creating there is much to do on the horizon... More things need to replace those sold at the gallery exhibit in August {over $2000 worth!}, an upcoming art show called A.R.T.S. Night {A Reason To Shop, benefitting the local Women's Fund}, the launch of my Etsy site {I posted 4 things yesterday. Progress! But more on that another day...} and a creation of a special jewelry set to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the College of Natural Resources on our UWSP campus {using the specially made 2" tiles that adorn the entire south face of the massive building in a really amazing mosaic. I am honored that they would think of me.}


Close up of the tiles created by local artist and former UW-SP art professor R. Schneider over 40 years ago. And yes, that is a poison ivy leaf!



The full 3 story mural on the side wall of the College of Natural Resources at UW-SP. Isn't it cool?

I got sick of working in chaos, so I pulled every single thing out of my studio. Now I have to climb over it to get to where I want to work. But I am repurposing furniture and things in my home to help make me more focused and productive. I am not giving up on having a more permanent system of cabinets, but this is an economical first step. Just putting it all away will be a big thing for me. {Except now I have forgotten where I put everything so it takes me twice as long to do anything! More pictures of the studio re-do another time....}

I haven't really created anything in what feels like quite a long time. And I miss my creative mojo.

Back in early 2009 I had been reading The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin. And about the time I hit secret #4 Surrendering to Creative Cycles, I somehow lost my steam or got creative again. I never did finish that book or continue participating in the book club that I was reading along with, so maybe I need to see if I can find that book again. I think my creative cycle might be warranting a closer look. Here is a little exerpt of what I wrote back then that is just as timely now...

"Surrendering to the cycles instead of fighting with them is a skill of the creative warrior." ~ from The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women

Surrender......interesting choice of words.

All I can think of is that famous scene in the Wizard of Oz - you know the one.

"Surrender Dorothy"

written in script from the tail end of the wicked witch's broomstick against a china blue sky.

Is it surrendering if I am jumping in with both feet? if I can hardly contain my enthusiasm? willing it to happen? like.......now?

But perhaps that is the lesson.


"There is no way to push the river; equally you cannot hasten the harvest."

{Laying Fallow, original oil painting by Erin Spencer of Painting in Dutch}

I like this imagery.

Am I, too, going with the flow?

Or am I trying to swim against the natural current of my life?

Am I planting the seeds and nurturing them to grow?

Or am trampling any hope of growth by my impatience?

This image also reminds me that creative cycles have swirling tide pools where the water flows slower, or not at all. Or times when my creativity lies fallow awaiting the rays of inspiration.

So when is my fallow season?

And more importantly, what am I doing during that fallow time to ensure that my growing time will produce abundance?


For me one fallow season would be right after Christmas. In the weeks leading up to the giftiest time of the year, I can be found most nights in my studio from 8p-2a creating on demand. Amazingly, I am able to do just that. {And for my Gallery Q exhibit, nine months in the making, I have had to pull all sorts of fancy, limited edition, one-of-a-kind rabbits out of my creative hat.}
But, as you can guess, that burns me out completely. I need a break. So I go fallow in January. {And I realized that I am fallow right about now.} In fact, there are weeks when I don't step foot in my studio after that mad dash to Christmas. It doesn't help that every single bead and tool I own is strewn about hindering my ability to think clearly when I go in there. {Hence, my need to completely rearrange my nest again. I will be done by this weekend, gosh darn it!}

But one day I decide that my beads need me. And I need them. So I take a deep breath and charge right in. It may take a few days to rein in the chaos, to control it at a manageable level, but I do. And the creative juices start flowing again.

During this downtime I am recharging my creative energy by reading books I have purchased but not found the time to read, perused magazines and online blogs that I have been missing out on, commenting on posts and connecting with other artists. My hands may be idle, but my imagination is not. And this helps me vastly when I am ready to dig into those beads and make something new.

For my fallow cycle this summer I...
....wrote for the Stringing Fall Blog Carnival and found that I have been accepted as a regular contributor to Art Bead Scene.
....made a few custom pieces and repairs for clients that had been waiting for the time to do it.
....launched my brand new website www.tesoritrovati.com. Check it out!
....pulled every single, gosh darn thing out of my studio...and now I am trying to put it all away and find a place for everything {still a work in progress...grrrr}.
....quit the business networking group that I had spent the last 3 years attending each week {it was really hard to say goodbye...I completely lost it during the announcement...these people are like family to me!} because I know that my reach is much farther than just my local community.
....planned to use that same amount of time on Wednesday mornings as my very first daylight hours to create {and I did just that on September 1st! Squee!}
....thought more about my ideas on what sort of resource book I would like to see....and started laying the groundwork for writing it myself
....finally, FINALLY listed my very first pieces in my Etsy shop...don't laugh okay? I have no idea what I am doing {and learned that it isn't as easy to do as I had thought it would be...how do you all do it? I have a LOT to learn! Including taking better pictures...how shipping works...}
....decided what I wanted to create for the upcoming A.R.T.S. Night show and the Gallery Q and Riverfront Art Gallery holiday exhibits
....found a vendor for something that I need to complete my pieces for these shows
....ordered a special treat from a friend just for me
....felt a bit more relaxed and refreshed. And maybe focused. Just a bit...
....found that I miss my creative time and am ready to get back in the studio and start doing some new-to-me things.

Wouldn't it be a better world if we were each encouraged to go "on sabbatical"? I have always liked that concept. I know that I would be happier if I were encouraged to find that which moves me to study and immerse myself in for the sake of my own betterment. Imagine how we would come back to our regular lives with that new knowledge! To explore that which piques our interest or brings our soul joy...to discover who we really are or are meant to be. That would be living!

My fallow moments are most fertile. They are places to dream big and project where I want my life to lead me. And maybe if I dream big enough and hope long enough {and add some fertilizer to the seeds of my ideas} these things will grow to an abundance such as I have never known before.

"Letting go and seeing what we're really drawn to fertilizes the creative process, and finally the next step appears."
What is the next step for you? Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

10 comments:

EB Bead and Metal Works said...

Wow - I can't wait to see all that you create for the Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the College of Natural Resources. The tiles are an inspiration right there!
I feel your pain on about working in chaos. Mom can only take it so long before she has us do a major cleaning, which occurred a few weeks ago. I also feel your pain about the not having the creative mojo. Both mom and I go in spells, and at least we both do the spells at different times so something gets accomplished!
During your fallow season you sure accomplished a lot. I can't wait to see all that you post on your Etsy shop. Good luck with everything you have to accomplish and congrats for everything you did accomplish!
Our next steps are get through the two shows we have this month and re-stock the inventory for our major show in November. I am still submitting photos for Stringing and Bead Trends.
Have a great day and may you find creative time your studio!
Beth

SummersStudio said...

A well deserved honour I think to be asked to create jewelry to commemorate the colleges 40th anniversary. And congratulations on your Gallery Q show. Sound like it was very successful!

I lie fallow in January as well. I actually just sort of collapse right around Christmas. But I do think it is good to go with your creative cycle. There is always something going on even if you are not physically making something. The studio clear out sounds cathartic. I need to have one of those myself. It's down right dangerous to walk through it right now.

Good luck with selling your house. It's a maddening thing to go through. My daughter just listed her house last week. He partner will be laid off in February and there are no jobs for graphic designers in Wichita. So off to Dallas they head. We've sold three houses so now we are in the process of talking her through this very uncertain, nail biting experience. So really, best of luck and i will think positive thoughts for you :-)

steufel said...

Good luck with the house! And your etsy-shop and your pictures look perfect. Maybe you could put one of those etsy-minis at the site of your blog that new readers find your shop more easily?

Davinia said...

I just wrote a long comment and then the computer blacked out. Damn it! anyway what I was saying is if you had a nine to 5 office job you would be entitled to annual leave so if you think of your fallow time as a well earned holiday then you have time to re-charge, re-arrange and re-affirm and all those wonderful creative ideas can percolate for awhile. Wonderful news about the 40th anniversary piece, I hope we get to see it.

Cindy said...

Erin, my head is just spinning trying to grasp all that you have been up to lately. Just incredible...so many accomplishments to be proud of - from the Gallery exibit to your new Etsy shop (yea!!! You did it!!).
I sure hope your house sells soon..I can imagine what a pain it is to continue worrying about it for so long. It's such a tough market. I can't wait to hear more about your resources project...it sounds great!

rosebud101 said...

Erin, It sounds like you have been recharging and getting your energies ready for bigger and more extensive steps in your career. Best of luck. I didn't realize I had been doing that, too, but I had. I finally decided I AM creative and I AM good at what I do! It's amazing what we can see when we step back for a bit! Best of luck to you!

EmandaJ said...

Hi Erin,

I stopped over to thank you for your comments on my blog about careers and (as always) enjoyed your excellent and thought provoking post. I am so proud of you!! Look at what you have done in your *Fallow season*. My goodness -- you do more in your fallow time than I could even think of in my most creative time.

Right now is a bit of a fallow season for me. Because I am working, I don't have time to create. I'll be working for maybe the rest of this month and then . . . who knows. Hopefully, I will have collected all kinds of cool, odd, and beautiful pewter pieces to create with.

Emanda
P.S. I am hoping to blog about the Reaper Mini goodies over the weekend. Please come by.
ArtemisiaStudio.blogspot.com

Christine said...

I've learned recently that I cannot get upset that a good portion of the summer goes by without any desire to create anything. This year, finally, I just let it go at the beginning of August, quit feeling bad about not locking myself in my work area in 100deg+ temps to make beads over a flame, and just...lived. As a result, now I feel a bit more energized, and ideas are coming to me, rather than me torturing *them*.

I am also slightly behind for my first real, big art show in a few weeks. However, I refuse to get stressed about it (we'll see how well that works).

So, what's next for me? Working on bead sets (something I almost never make) for bracelets, making pieces for my upcoming show, and trying to decide which direction to take the business in 2011. :)

Kristen said...

You are a treasure! I believe you are honored with this because you create from your heart. As far as a fallow season it is a well deserved break for you if you didn't have it you could not create the way you do!

Hugs and Congrats!!!

Janet said...

You always have wonderful things to say Erin! What a pleasure it is to come over here and see *you..ox

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