The Feeling of Making
Last week I was feeling especially lethargic. I have these ups and downs with my creative life that sometimes become overwhelming. Having launched my lille huset dollhouses 5 years ago, I took on a lot of responsibility to get it all going. Now that I have decided to diversify my making and have gotten into creating my own fabrics and goods, I have the constant cloud hanging over me and of course being completely vulnerable in the outcome. Rather than sit around worrying about it I set goals for myself on the making end of things. So, last week when I knew I needed to go print in order to have enough goods for the One of A Kind Show in Chicago, I did just that. I drove over to the screen printing co-op, put on my apron and headphones and just started printing. The feeling of making, I think, is best described as a fluid process that flows from you onto your medium. There is a definitive start and end and most importantly a physical result. There is something completely satisfying about being in the maker zone, just feeling the rhythm of the process. Once you are completely taken over by the the rhythm you can just go.
I think this is why I value the handmade so much. When I was doing the dollhouses, I was so removed from the process of making that I forgot what that flow feels like and I knew I needed it back. Being lost in the making is like a reset button in your brain, it makes you forget about your worries and focus on completing a cycle and yielding an end result that has value. I think of the art of making goods as valuable as that of cooking. I think of every piece I create as a sort of recipe with ingredients that I have chosen, designs I have created and the end result that is a finished piece.
As a woman in my 40's who has been doing this for a while, I struggle with the validity of my making, as if it isn't a "real job." I have always had a "real job" that would help support my making and contribute to my family but now at the age of 41, for the first time in my life I am completely dependent on my making for my half of our income. I have never been more afraid in my life and am also completely vulnerable in my own ability to turn what I am making in to money. I have endured repeated rejections over the past couple of years and with my entire being, am forcing myself to continue, because it is all that I have. For me, making is like breathing, it is something that I have to do and it is something that I fear is seen and only valued as a hobby. With all of that being said, it's time to get to work.