That said, most of my time was spent either applying to various competitions or “calls” for artwork from polymer clay artists or on submissions to magazines. Stressful activity, in that deadlines wait for no one but exciting too because having your work recognized nationally is very gratifying.
I was actually working on some pieces but mostly I was applying. There are these online sites where you park your uploaded images and then when you decide to apply to a “call” -- as in, call for entries-- you just download them into the application, pay your fee online and off you go! The problem is, the images have to be higher resolution than I need for this blog or my Flickr site or for most of my everyday needs and so I just can't financially justify purchasing a full verison of Photoshop. So a week was mainly spent in frustration at having to dedicate large chunks of prime working time futzing with my Canon camera, reading the owner's manual, playing with settings, re-doing shots and searching for someone in my little rural town who could set up the images the way they were needed.
Grrrr!. But happy to say, mission accomplished, my little works were on their way to the Big Time-- that's the International Polymer Clay Association's “Progress & Possibilities” competition, which only comes around every two years-- and I'm anxiously waiting for the winners to be announced. I wasn't even doing polymer clay last time this occurred! One of my submissions for P&P was my “Lady of Shalott” necklace, which readers of this blog may recall was done for an Art Bead Scene challenge and the second one was “Blossom”, which was also for ABS.
Lady of Shalott
In addition to stressing about various applications, I was also bummed that the piece I submitted to another magazine didn't make the cut.
I was reminded of a wonderful quote on my friend Barbara Lewis' website:
“There is a force, an energy, a quickness, that is translated through you into action. If you block it, the world will not have it. You do not have to believe in yourself or your work. It is not your business to compare yourself with others. It is your business to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you, to keep the channel open.” Martha Graham
With all the social networking sites and things like Twitter urging us to put it out there, the volume of work being presented is overwhelming. It almost goes without saying that we will begin to feel competitive and work to a commercial standard, even if working as the quote suggests is the best avenue to a body of work that truly reflects our best creative effort and highest artistic standard.
I had a special new piece that I was trying to finish for Progress & Possibilities but it had a mind of its own and evolved into several pieces so I just let it happen. I think this might just be the best way to work.