Sunday, November 6, 2011

Life of an Artist

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Hello, I am Joanne Bast, beader, felter, knitter and embroiderer, back as your blogger for the month of November. I thought I would discuss a little bit about what it is to be an artist. While there are artists who design and have others produce their work, the members of the Potomac Fiberarts Gallery are individual artists who work for themselves and by themselves, designing and carrying out the creation of our items. We are our own bosses and our only employees.

You may think that working for yourself is liberating. While it does have a certain amount of freedom, it also requires a great deal of self determination. Working at your own pace can easily lead to not working at all. When there is no one but yourself to tell you when and what to do, you must set your own deadlines and have the strength to adhere to them. An individual artist must decide what to make, how and when to make it, how and where to market it, evaluate it and make changes, and keep appropriate tax and inventory records.

Involved in this process is the need to keep up with the chosen artistic medium. Many professions have mandatory continuing education. Artists are again on their own with respect to keeping up with advances in their chosen area. We do this by subscribing to magazines on various techniques and media, by belonging to organizations and/or guilds of artists, by attending more or less formal meetings, retreats, classes or workshops to further our interests and expertises. The Potomac Fiberarts Guild is one organization that allows artists working in various forms of fiber art to meet and learn from each other and from outside teachers. We meet once a month and often bring in nationally known speakers and instructors to present programs and workshops. This year we will have programs on many differing aspects of fiber art.

Back in June, Mickey Kunkle blogged on attending the annual Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee. This is only one of many organizations with national seminars that include classes, lectures, vendors and other experiences. Just this past weekend, I attended a less formal retreat of fiberartists called NeedleArts Adventures in Ocean City, MD. This was a gathering of people interested in creative fiber work where we shared information and critiqued each other's work without designated teachers. I've included some photos of the retreat showing some round table discussions and some working shots. Boy do fiberartists cart a lots of baggage around. As a bonus, I've also included a spectacular sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. What could be more inspiring? Joanne

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