When my blog posts first started gaining momentum, I truly believed I would be able to schedule myself to write more on a weekly, or even monthly basis, but the truth is, that felt way too contrived. Every time it came up on my calendar, I felt a tightness instead of the free flowing of the good story telling of my favorite posts. The truth is, like any creative, I have to take advantage of these moments when they happen, as you can't plan them.[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1800.0"] Photo by Kelly Ruffing Photography[/caption]
While I have spent hours making my studio into this beautiful space, where I complete most of my work, it is almost never where the good ideas start. Today, this idea came with Eddie in the jumper on my right, and Tommy watching Madagascar on my left (why yes, I do like to move it move it). Ferociously jotting down notes on leftover receipts or on top of layers of scribble Tommy has put on every page of my once neat and tidy journal.
This blog post highlights periods of time, when I just could not get enough of making, (read: obsessing) and how each one of these projects has helped bring me to where I am today. Anyone else grappling with the creative/entrepreneurial gene knows what I'm talking about.
Around age 6, I convinced my best buddy we were going to hit it big time by making and selling these kinds of hair clips. The owner of Fishtown Candy Company took pity on us, and allowed us to sell our wares at her shop. We would make up any excuse to come and see if we sold any, but inevitably spent all of our earnings before leaving the shop.
Next came the friendship bracelets. These definitely took too long to mass produce, but there was always a work in progress tied to the back of the headrest in the car to get in what I could, didn't want to waste any time not making something.
Then came the introduction of fimo clay. There were books showing how easy it was to make intricate designs like these. Despite our best efforts, ours usually ended up looking more like this. Except, I'd say at least 70% of the time, they were on the darker side from being almost burned in the oven, which of course we did totally unsupervised.
Then there was that Christmas during middle school that I made everyone their own handmade "wave machines". In my mind, they looked like this: In reality, they were complete with leaky packages and the scent of mineral spirits and inevitably flammable. (Mine did not have a motorized mechanism either.)
That same Christmas I went on a big tie dye kick. Because what grown up didn't want a tie dye T-shirt for Christmas? Since it was the 80's, my brother was happy to accept most of them to take to college, whereupon they all promptly turned all of his clothes pink.
Now this next hobby really taught me some things about profit margins. Hilarious (and embarrassing) as it was, I lived off of selling hemp necklaces for an entire summer in college. I made them by the car load, and more than anything, I loved creating the color combinations of the African glass beads I bought in bulk.
Fast forward to wedding season, and my then obsession. Mosaics. I couldn't get enough of adding hints of mirror that would glimmer as you walked by. I learned while teaching my students in Evanston, and went wild. After all of the gifts I made, I took a few commissions and realized this love was not going to pay the bills, but still one of my favorite past times.
Then a few Christmases ago, exactly one year before Leland gal began, money was pretty tight and we made everyone felt pillows. My husband was thrilled to be participating in this activity while we soared through the first few seasons of Mad Men (pre kids).
My family was always very patient, and always supported the messes I made, and the endeavors I attempted, no matter how ridiculous. Each and every one of these obsessions taught me considerable lessons about making a product whether I sold it or not. Some lessons were financial and some had safety hazards. Others taught me about an overall completed product composition, what colors worked well together, and the importance of contrast when trying to make certain parts stand out. Each and every one of these projects has lead me to my latest obsession turned passion which you all give me permission to continue creating, Leland gal.
The fact is, when you are a maker, non makers always want to know "How many hours did it take you to make that?" As though your artwork is equal to an hourly rate.
The fact of the matter is, after spending my entire life span making, the answer is "A lifetime".