Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Studio Spring Break

I had a "first" on Saturday. And not a good one. For the first time in my life, I did not want to go to the studio! And this was not just a small feeling. I hate to admit it, but it was more like dread.
Big red flag!

As soon as I realized I was feeling that way, I knew I had to change something. I've been in the studio working like a mad woman for the past 6 weeks; 7 days a week, 8-12 hours a day in the studio + early mornings and late nights fitting in the business side of work.

I will not complain. Because I still love what I do! I love being busy. I love making art. I am very happy with the work I have been making, and do believe the pressure of having a full exhibition schedule (click here for details) has pushed me to new creative directions. (Who doesn't work better under deadlines?)

But I was overdue for a break- feeling exhausted and drained of any creative energy. So, my husband and I spent most of the weekend gardening. Planted a few vegetables and cleared out another section of yard for a grapefruit tree, lime tree and some more veggies.

It made all the difference in the world! I was able to get into the studio yesterday morning, refreshed and even more productive.

Do you ever get like this? What do you do to bring yourself back into balance? How do you keep yourself from feeling overworked in the first place? I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

Feeling refreshed,



pcNielsen said...

Life, I'm learning, is a balance between rituals and spontaneity. Further, just because you aren't in the studio doesn't mean you aren't thinking creatively. As writer's say, everything's material (paraphrased).

Charles The Potter said...


I've thought about the refreshing and burning out many times. My conclusion is that in order to avoid it, the artist must stop making work for a specific sale/show. The artist must simply make work and when it it time for a sale, select pieces from the available stock. This eliminates the rush, the only trouble is transitioning from always rushing and being almost ready for a show to convincing yourself to make more work than is needed at any particular time on a regular basis. I've noticed a lot of clay artists are deadline driven and I think that over time it's a certain and true path to burning out. Establishing long term production goals and sticking to a decent work week can really help.

Meagan Chaney said...

Paul and Charles,

Thank you for the encouraging remarks and feedback.

Your suggestion to just make work regardless is great! This has always worked for me in the past, and I definitely agree that relieves a lot of unneeded stress and pressure. Wish it was like that all the time.

My dilemma came this time when I was contacted for 2 large shows simultaneously, which create a need for more work than could have possibly imagined. But again, I won't complain! We're artists and we get to do what we love.

And being more "in the moment" will help me absorb more everyday inspiration!

Thank you!

ang said...

hey meagan, I do what you did...garden still productive but really relaxing apart from the injuring yourself part heheheh.. great topic to bring up during the last 2 months making for my recent show my uncle was v sick and sadly passed away but it really helped having creative stuff to focus on, so its also a great place to put your energy what ever kind..

Meagan Chaney said...

Thanks Ang! You're right, gardening is productive and relaxing. Hope your eye is doing better and I'm so sorry to hear about your Uncle.