Although I have not been making new work (I still have a good amount of stock available), I have been using my creative energy in other ways. For one, wedding planning takes up quite a bit of time and energy. Between shopping for dresses, and gathering addresses for all the guests, creating spreadsheets, and designing invitations, there's a lot to be done.
Other than wedding planning and working, though, I've started volunteering. This past weekend, my fiance, Dave, and I, volunteered at Potluck in the Park (through Hands On Greater Portland). We served warm meals to around 450 people in need, most of them homeless. It is one of the only places, not associated with a church, for people in need to get meals on the weekend, and they have not missed one Sunday in 19 years. When I was 14, and hanging out downtown with a lot of homeless kids, I remember seeing the Potluck in the Park trucks at this location, and was so glad to see that they were still operating. Even more, I was so happy to be able to help.
After we finished for the day (we were some of the last people to leave), Dave and I looked at each other and agreed that even though times may be tough, at least we have each other, a roof over our heads and food to eat.
I have been hesitating writing this post for weeks. Perhaps I have been in denial, hoping the situation would change somehow. Here goes...
A few weeks ago, after many long months of being mistreated, taken advantage of, and basically being paid slave-wages, my fiance Dave quit his job. I had watched my lovely partner go from an energetic, happy man, to a despondent shell of his former self. With the bad economy, he stuck out this job simply out of fear of not finding more work. Honestly, it was like coming home to an abused house wife every day. I finally told him "Honey, follow your heart. If you need to quit, then quit." So he did. Luckily, the financial adjustment hasn't been so bad. (And on the up-side, he just got a new job..starts in a couple weeks!)
However, this meant that I needed to take on more work as a nanny. Did I mention we're getting married next August? So, on top of all our normal bills, we are paying for our own wedding. I am now working around 50 hours a week as a nanny, and when I get home each night, I just don't have the energy to go into the studio. Any parent can relate to the insane amount of energy it takes to be at home all day with kids, followed by having to cook and clean and maintain a house.
I am taking on a few projects (and looking forward to a rather empty weekend coming up), as commissions, but I'm not "producing" work. I have all these beautiful stones and bezels sitting, waiting to be set and made into beauties, and I just don't have the energy. It is honestly breaking my heart.
As much as I may look at other careers as paths for myself...nursing, occupational therapy, etc.,...I am a maker at heart. I have had to go many months without making jewelry before, and the emotional effects are bad. I have to do something creative, preferrably involving soldering, hammering, and sawing. I am now considering putting up some parameters at work (restrictions on evening shifts, etc.) so that I can save some energy and get back into the studio. Wish me luck, and hopefully you will see dribbles of new work soon!
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