Stay Fresh, or Get Stale

Lately, Ive become aware of how far my artistic output has strayed from where I first started.  I was all gallery work, once upon a time, then this whole other world of writing, teaching and products evolved.  And just recently I realized that my own creative exploration had dwindled to practically nothing … almost all of my creating was directed towards workshops, product support and fan interaction. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course!
I am telling you this because I see it as an pattern that many of us artists, and especially many in the polymer genre, find themselves repeating.  We start off creating as a hobby or something we do in our spare time, then our art becomes noticed and people want to know how you did that, and can you show them how, and can they do it too!  It’s all very exciting and flattering.  Next, you’re zipping around on the workshop circuit, offering products of one kind or another for sale, trying to keep up with social media, working long hours …. and spiderwebs are taking over in your studio.
I’m not complaining!  Honest! Many creative people would love to be where I am – I’m totally aware of that.  And I don’t have any intentions of quitting this wild and wonderful ride…but here’s the thing that I feel is worth us thinking about  — if you don’t stay fresh, you get stale.
Trying to earn a living from your passion changes your passion.
Ok, so, now what?
What I am learning, and want to share with other career creators, is that it is absolutely necessary to SCHEDULE some regular time to create solely for the joy of the experience and without concern over how that creation will be marketed/monetized/commercialized.
Since I had this little realization, I now make time to be in the studio, just for my own creative needs, just to stay fresh!  I try always to take pics as pieces are progressing, and AFTER I am done creating, then I put on my business-girl pants and decide if i want to market/monetize/commercialize what I’ve created.  Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.  But that process  is separate from, and comes AFTER the act of pure creativity.
Because of this small change, I have a renewed sense of excitement as an artist.  And I notice if I do post the results of these creative journeys, the response is more satisfying as well. Win-win for the artist in me as well as the marketer.

I’m just sharing this little epiphany for what it’s worth to my fellow career artists, and those headed down that path.

Keep your soul, even while you sell out!  ;-D

Ok, so now that I’ve testified, brethren and sistern, here’s one of my recent “just for me” creations.
w-DONE-Elucidate      w-bugDone

And after it was done, I shared the steps on my facebook pages here and here, and  on my pinterest boards here and here, and it lives on my website here.

Both halves of me were satisfied – my inner artist and my outer businessperson.

About christifriesen

I am an artist because I must be. My mind wanders and my fingers follow. Just feed me a little more chocolate and I'll be fine.
This entry was posted in business, creativity, polymer, Polymer In Progress and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Stay Fresh, or Get Stale

  1. How did you make the awesome wings on the dragon fly?

    Sent from my iPad



  2. I needed to hear all that.
    How I manage to schedule in that time to just create –without an agenda– is hard. It will require sacrifice of some sort or another, as days (and sometimes nights) are a blur of activity. But you did hit the nail on the head about stagnation as an artist, about losing the pure joy of just making something without having to think of how you’d market it. Thanks for the timely reminder.


    • Charlene – sorry for not replying sooner, somehow I missed a few comments here!
      I appreciate your thoughts – in these days of constant activity, finding time for anything is difficult, especially creativity. I hope you’ve been finding some “joyful making” time!


  3. Elsie Smith says:

    It’s like “date night” with your polymer clay. You gotta do it to keep the “romance” alive 🙂


  4. Susan Sampson says:

    When I find myself creating for the buyer instead of my inner passion the work isn’t as good and although it may sell it is not the same as a piece that you were crazy about inside and then it came out better than expected and so original that I don’t care if it sells or not I LOVE IT! It is usually those “Fresh” pieces that more than one person wants to buy and I end up trying to replicate it for someone. I have to start taking notes or something when I make these passion driven pieces so when it becomes a hit I can go back and make it again without trying to remember what I did in my “mania” state.
    Christi, I would love to be in the club and have access to all your stuff but I just can’t afford another $25.00 a month…I’m actually surprised that you are going that way but eventually I will try to become a member
    Susan M. Sampson


    • Susan, the way you describe it as a ‘mania state’ made me laugh – that really is a rather accurate description of how it can feel when creativity takes over. I do also find it difficult to recreate anything a ‘fresh’ piece… there is a piece of our soul in those pieces, and so not easily reproduced!
      About the subscription Neighborhood – I can very much appreciate your budget constraints! I will be working hard to add more free content, and additional classes/projects that are purchaseable individually. The reason I went to a subscription-based monthly ‘club’ of exclusive content is part of the that age-old dilemma of being an artist as a career – in order for me to be able to devote my full time to creating and and sharing my creative ideas, i have to monetize that either by selling my work, or selling my unique viewpoint and projects. Without money coming in, I would have to get a ‘real’ job to support myself, which means little or no time to create. I feel I have something unique to offer the creative community, and i am not able to support myself by selling just my artwork alone, so i’ve branched out to books, products and projects, including the $25/month Creative Neighborhood. I totally get that it is pricey for many budgets (and I am looking into a way to bring that price down!) and I am never offended if someone can’t/doesn’t want to pay for that. But I did want to explain it to you a little.
      We live in a time where so much free content is available online – which is GREAT! (I have dozens of free videos online too!) but it definitely makes us all balk a little at paying for creative work – music, videos, tv shows, art lessons. We are all figuring out how to manage that! it’s a new world!
      I want to continue to create full time and share that creativity – sometimes freely, sometimes at a price. I so much appreciate your honesty, Susan, and for sharing your opinion! I hope this gives you (and others who I know have wondered the same) a little insight as to why I’ve chosen this path for now. We’ll see where tomorrow takes me!

      happy, happy creating! and here’s to those glorious times when the ‘making’ takes over!


  5. Pingback: The Daily Polymer Arts Blog » Blingy Bugs

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