Aug 27, 2009

The best way to learn it is to teach it

Last week I ran a summer camp 'Beads 'n' Bowls' for kids. It was a blast, a little on the tiring side, but full of inspiration. It was amazing watching the kids teach each other things that they had just learned. That's when the light bulbs would go on. You could see their confidence growing and their skills accelerating. The picture to the side is a group of kids I taught at the MAKE camp the week before.

Now it's my turn, heading into the fall, I'm doing a lot of teaching. From business to blogging to beading. I'm sure going to learn a lot! Have a look at the new NGB blog that lists the upcoming workshops that all the artists at NGB are hosting this fall...

In the meantime, think about something you want to learn, or practice. Maybe you can find a student. Imagine the learning then..

Aug 7, 2009

Diving in Fully Clothed

Last night, after dinner, we decided to take a quick trip down to my favourite rock beach. It was a beautiful night, light breeze, big waves where you could actually hear the rocks being tumbled ashore and washed away again (thanks Matt for pointing that out), and 3 giggling Fair's messing about. James was looking for sticks to make into pretend weapons and in between jumping waves trying not to get wet, Matt was watching the sailboats in the distance and wishing he was out there I'm sure and me with my head down on the 'hunt'.

At one point I said, 'come on orange'. Referring to my desire to find an orange piece of beach glass. Looked down and was what at my feet... not an orange piece of beach glass, but a piece of an orange peel. Note to self, be more explicit when I call out my wishes.

I continued to think about a piece of orange glass and giggled as I pictured myself diving in the water, fully-clothed, blackberry and all to get a piece. And there's no doubt that that's what I would have done if one had caught my eye. There's not many things in business that I would jump in fully clothed for, but it's good to know that I still have something that gets me that excited.

What about in your business, is there still something that would make you jump in fully clothed (and it doesn't have to be literally like in my case)?

Studio vs Dining Room Table

I've had a few people ask me about this, so I figure it's time to do a blog about it. Last spring the artist roundtable group did a studio tour and one of the stops being my studio (at that time that meant my dining room table). The discussions are always about the business of art, not art itself, so I talked about why I choose to have a home studio vs a dedicated space (leased or owned). So I rhymed off this list of reasons:
  • I can work when I feel inspired, and can sneak in 5 minutes here and there

  • I don't have to lug stuff back and forth, or end up leaving something at the wrong place

  • I don't need duplicate things like a hammer or Internet

  • The price is right

Jane Thelwell, a pottery on the tour, asked if I would ever consider having a studio outside of my house. And I thought briefly and at that moment all I could think was about the benefits listed above and the main benefit was that I could spend more time taking care of the house, my family and spending time with my son. So I answered, maybe one day, but right now I need to be at home.

And now, just a few months later I have a studio. So what changed? My family. They didn't change, but after that day at my house, I took a long look at how I was doing things. Was really being at home more efficient, did it really mean I got to spend more time with James? No. When I was trying to work, in what was supposed to be our family space, I got frustrated that they were interrupting. The lines got blurred between art time and home time and I was doing neither efficiently.

Those 5 minutes here and there, were interfering with playing games so I had to put everything away each night, which meant that it would take me half and hour to set up again and half hour to clean up, leaving me with barely any time to create. Not to mention that I couldn't work on anything that I couldn't put away, so I hadn't worked on a mosaic in months.

Then there was a safety concern, although I never did any polishing inside, I was still getting nervous about other aspects of my work being around my son and his friends. What if they got silver slivers? Or whatever, but still.. So I started working off-sight to do any polishing or sanding.

So I started looking... and found a space. Since then I have realized so many other benefits about working somewhere other than my dining room table such as:

  • I can sit and do some research, or sort glass without feeling guilty for not doing the laundry

  • I can accomplish more in a short amount of time both at home and at the studio, because I'm focused for both

  • James maybe spends a little less minutes with me, but way more quality time since I'm trying to squeeze in 'just one more thing' when I'm with him

  • I now have inspiration, critics and mentors right at my door, when I need a sounding board or an opinion I just go down the hall

So sure it costs a little, but so far it's been worth it!