Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Ode to Joy

One of the things I most often write or say when someone comments on a piece of my work is how much fun it was to create. It's true, I love to paint, sew, knit, collage, make books and it is fun, a lot of fun! It's often also difficult and frustrating work if I'm honest, but I rarely if ever mention that, maybe because the two things seem on the face of it pretty contradictory and therefore hard to believe. The reality of work for a great many of us is that it's something we do 'out there' whilst dreaming of the weekend, summer holidays, retirement. We are very fortunate - I am very fortunate - when we can do something we love as our work because that can change everything! 

It can also, however, be a source of conflicts too; ones which lead us to feel awkward and needing to justify or dismiss our creativity in a time-equals-money obsessed world. Whether you work full time as an artist/artisan or squeeze your precious creative space from the remains of the day it may be hard to keep the faith that what you have to offer is valuable and unique. So, the other day I came across an article by Quinn McDonald which touches on this very subject. What she wrote struck an extremely strong chord with me, so much so that I wanted to share it here with you.

'We don't think our work has value in the "real world". We don't allow ourselves to think that art is "real work". When someone congratulates us, we are quick to point to the fact that we were having fun, as if that diminished our effort or talent. Interestingly enough, when history judges a culture, it doesn't do it on how fast business turned around jobs, but on art, music, inventions and other creative work.' *

I need to be reminded of this occasionally. It won't stop me telling people how much I enjoy what I do but it might help me remember that joy is a vital part of life and that far from diminishing my work it is a condition to be welcomed and cherished for us all.


* What Makes You a Professional Artist? by Quinn McDonald, published in Somerset Studio March/April 2008

8 comments:

  1. we all do it - but creating is very hard work and if I ever have a moan about it I then feel guilty 'cause everyone always tells me how lucky I am to be doing the 'hobby' I love. Thanks for sharing this article its good to be reminded - Judy x

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  2. That is a great quote.. art and culture are so important

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  3. I heard a similar quote a while back and it is something I repeat to myself on a fairly regular basis...

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  4. Excellent thought and thanks for sharing that.

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  5. You're so right about the guilt thing, Judy, lol!

    Glad you all like her words as much as I do :)

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  6. i deal with this almost daily - and there is also the guilt of doing something you love when 98% of the population hate their work - there's always that to deal with...

    (ps. yay i own that beautiful painting!!!)

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  7. Oh, Adrienne, what a ray of light you have in that painting! It's hard to do creative work because it requires qualities that are scarce in our surroundings--quiet, reflection, willingness to not know or be wrong, ability to see ordinary things in extraordinary ways. It's hard work we do, but possibly the most important work in the world.

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  8. Yes! Thank you, Quinn. I do believe that giving myself permission to be wrong is one of the things I often struggle with but you are right of course, it is a necessity. :)

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