Photo by Nan Spring, used by permission of the photographer.
Here I am with my mouth open, as usual.
All is well. The book signing on Monday night at The Twig Bookstore went really well and my appearance at a FASA meeting earlier also found Susan and I charged by an eager crowd of (mostly) grandmothers who bought New World Kids as gifts for their children and grandchildren! And it's been so much fun to see orders roll in from around the ether. Thank you to all who've taken the time, money and attention to purchase! Here's one point in our presentation that really gets to the audience:
We as grownups see the attention and money and resources being spent by folks who are trying to find their true callings, some even having made it big in the world's terms who realize that what they are spending their lives doing has little to do with what their hearts want to do. The What Color is Your Parachute series is just one of the long-running successes that help people figure out what to do next -- Julia Cameron's Artists Way books are another. So why don't we give kids the tools and means to figure this out earlier? Once children know their strengths, know something about what and how they are good at what they are, the whole focus of the educational system makes a shift. Students take charge of their own learning to a much greater degree; discipline becomes less the classroom focus; learning becomes its own motivation. Peter Drucker, the business guru, says, " The most important thing is to know what you're good at."
Learning what you're good at can push one into unexpected skill acquisition: I've spent a good amount of time setting up the NWK website with customized Squarespace templates and then mastering the ins and outs of Paypal buttons. Valuable skills all. Next, the studio desk and work table became the site for proposal staging. I killed my share of trees sending in the paper work with proposals to teach at the 2009 International Quilt Festival, mostly in the Mixed Media classroom, but also a lecture proposal derived from NWK and the Sensory Alphabet. I hope I can teach there again as I learned so much and this time I plan to do it right.
But it seems that I've had little real art time since Thanksgiving and my soul has noticed. What I do best is make art (and teach it), and all this other folderol is just a means to that end. The little nagging ache in my heart means I've neglected the artist and spent way too much time on the support services. We have such a tightrope to walk as working artists (though I am sure this is a quandary for other sole-proprietors/one-person-offices in other fields). I teach at the Majestic Art Ranch this morning, so at least I'll get my hands into the demos and a few samples, since we're on the wind-down. And sometimes just getting my hands on a dyepot puts the momentum in action. What are you going to do today to get yourself back to the heart of things?
PS. If you'd like to see more photos of the booksigning, check the NWK blog later today.
P.s Just found a link to a nice article online about our appearance at the symposium in Dallas in January -- The Baker Idea Institute.