Quiet

This is what is on my mind lately. Trying to settle in to my summer routine makes me realize my mind is going a million miles an hour. Summer for me is ideally a time of working in the studio. It’s a time to explore, do some research, and let the work find its own path, but deciding to take part in the open studio tour and do an evening art festival meant the beginning of summer was filled with scurrying. Of course scurrying is essential to financial well-being but not an ideal state of mind for reflection or for new work to emerge. This week life finally slowed to the syrupy pace which signals summer to me. In fact, I had to look at my calendar to figure out what day it was this morning!

Last week I attended a NYFA event in Auburn, a long drive from my home, but worth it. I was working as a sort of mentor, a safe place for artists to express their dreams and someone to run their ideas by after a weekend of intensive business boot camp. I gave them feedback and ideas of places/people to look to for help. (Long time readers may remember I attended a boot camp myself and it rocked my world!) I also got to meet D. Chase Angier, a choreographer, and a conversation with her gave me a radical mind shift and convinced me to slow down and rethink a project I am working on, and to DREAM BIGGER. I realised I have been limiting the kind of work I was thinking about creating based on opportunities I currently have to exhibit the work, which of course is totally backwards! Just because an opportunity for a larger or more complex work doesn’t exist right now, doesn’t mean I won’t be able to find somewhere for it to be seen in the future. Meeting Chase was a gentle reminder from the universe to just do the work.

On a more prosaic note – I needed something to wear to the event, so I made a new pair of trousers, I like them so much I made a second pair and bought fabric for a third pair! I used a great pattern from vogue, by a designer whose work I wasn’t familiar with – Marcy Tilton. I also bought a blouse pattern by the same designer, which came out nicely too. I forgot how satisfying it is to sew for myself! While I was in a practical mood I also did some mending that had been cluttering up my work area for at least a year – mending always makes me feel virtuous, and of course it restored some favourite clothes to my wardrobe.

This is turning into rather a newsy post – so the other big news in my life is my quiet new car. I have been driving a 2003 Impala for a while, it is functional, but not so pretty and it was reaching the point of no return. As our youngest daughter has graduated from college we could finally afford to replace it. We have been looking for a while, and then this week we found the one. I am so excited because we were able to afford a used hybrid! It is so quiet and luxurious, I am a lucky girl! I can’t wait for upcoming workshops out of town, as it will give me a chance to test all the bells and whistles.

As I work in the studio right now I am listening to “Quiet” by Susan Cain. The book is about introverts. I am an introvert. I am not shy, or afraid of leadership, but I find people exhausting. It took me a long time to realise this. As a child I spent most of my time ramming around with my sisters (I have 4) and kids from the neighbourhood on our bikes, but I also spent a LOT of time reading by myself. As I got older I realised this wasn’t true for everyone. I envy people with easy manners and the ability to make small talk. I often come across as aloof because I find small talk agonizing and so default to saying nothing at all. This can be a bit of an impediment as a teacher. I am perfectly happy to lecture; I am not particularly afraid of speaking in public as long as I am well prepared, but I find it hard to form bonds with my students by casually chatting. The students I do form bonds with tend to be serious about their work, and that is the way we connect, through sharing ideas and knowledge, not with small talk. I find teaching workshops really intimidating until we begin working. The “chatting” before the workshop begins is excruciating for me. I never know what to say! So if you take a workshop with me help me out! Again I find it easier to connect with people once we are talking about the work. And inviting a curator to my studio is a 10 on my discomfort scale!

I realise now that introversion is one of the reasons this blog is so valuable to me. It allows me to put my thoughts and ideas out at a distance. To have a safer conversation with you. I wonder how many of you this is also true for?

Well time to go back to my quiet studio and get to work. As always, thanks for sharing my journey.

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4 thoughts on “Quiet

  1. Thanks, Deb;  I just got the book “Quiet” as your description of the kind of introvert you are is exactly how I am.  I will be in your class at the Morgan in August–and we will NOT “small talk”  And I love your work.kip

  2. Kip – thanks for the kind words and support. Enjoy the book. For me it explains much of what troubles me in the world today. Especially the conversation about character vs charisma. Let me know what you think 🙂

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