Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Susan Gallacher-Turner’s turn in the Pacific Northwest.

When I wrote the proposal for this blog with Eric Maisel, I was dreaming of what my life ‘after kids’ would look like, feel like, be like. My reality at the time was more like a series of bad dreams.

I’ve shown my work in galleries for years in a row, then, this year, I didn’t get into the show that I wanted. I broke my wrist. I had unexpected family changes that shook my nice, secure studio world upside down.

But within and around all the pain, physical therapy, upheaval and fear, my new life took shape. It grew and formed itself in spite of my efforts at the time to keep to my old, familiar, comfortable routines. I see now, that I needed those old routines to be the armature to help me sculpt something new.

It all started innocently enough. I joined the Pacific Northwest Sculpture Guild and put a few pieces in a group show at SE ArtWalk. Went to a few meetings. Met a few new people. Took the risk of applying to Portland Open Studios Tour. Did three demonstrations at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. Met a few more people. Got accepted into Portland Open Studios Tour. Met a few more people. Volunteered to write artist profiles for the Portland Open Studios Tour blog. Met even more people. And so far this year, I’ve shown my work in Art&Design online gallery, The Nipple Project show in Santa Anna, California, and the Justice Center July window show. I’ll be showing work in August and opening up my studio for the tour in October.

For the fourth year, I taught my mask workshop at Llewellyn Elementary school in May. And now, I’ve got workshops scheduled for July, September, October and November in four different places.

Then, there’s writing. I’m doing artist profiles, author interviews and investigating freelance opportunities. Ok, so my novel has taken a back seat, but, well, a few things got put on hold so I could prioritize and get new work done.

I’ve finished and framed 3 new copper repousse’ landscapes. I’m doing patina finishing on #4 and starting #5. My screening triptych is moving along. And a new artist friend is going to help me learn a finishing technique that I can use on some clay pieces that have been sitting in my closet for years now. Because, you see, I thought I was done with clay. But yesterday, I bought some clay to start sculpting again.

So, I guess, this really shows the power of intention, doesn’t it? I wrote about sculpting a new life, not knowing what, where, when, or how it would happen. Yet, just like I sculpt one of my pieces, starting with a dream or an idea, then, day by day, mark by mark, it forms itself like it has a life of its own. Now, I guess, so do I.

Susan Gallacher-Turner
Mixed media sculpture

1 comment:

Janet Grace Riehl said...

"I needed those old routines to be the armature to help me sculpt something new."

I love this line. It goes so well with the title "Sculpting a life." It shows us how you think as a sculptor...a great metaphor.

I want to recommend "Creating a Life Worth Living" to you and all your fans reading your column who are interested in sculpting a life.

It's by Carol Lloyd. If only I could receive royalties on all the sales made from all the times I've recommended this book.

It's by far the best life-design book I've ever read...packing bookshelves of this type of material in a lightweight paperback.

Janet Riehl