There are many ways to structure a creative life. I admire those that can make a living from their pen or brush. For me, anytime I have attached profit to my creative endeavors, the business of it all can suck the very joy out of the process. In my experience, it takes at least as much effort to market and sell my work than making it. Now in my 60s and retired from teaching for over 2 years I am asking myself “How do I really want to be spending my remaining precious time on this Earth?
This dialogue has cropped up again in the wake of my first holiday show of the season. Yes, I walked away with a few hundred dollars in my pocket but was it all worth it? I could have made that money easily with some substitute teaching (which I don’t mind) and been far less exhausted. By the time I crunch my time in my studio, schlep my stuff to the venue, sit and sell (hoping for good attendance), make my booth fee, schlep home and unpack, ask myself “Where is the joy in all this?”
Thinking about profit sabotages both my spontaneity and my passion, like a relationship gone stale. I have one more show and then that will be it. My Etsy shop will remain up. It will generate a few sales and act as a portfolio of sorts. After the first of the year, I will be selling my big kiln as there will be no need for it. If someone wants to buy my work, great, otherwise I will enjoy donating it to others and make just for the joy of making.