Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sculpting a Life
Susan Gallacher-Turner’s turn in the Pacific Northwest
(Six of my copper & screening masks)

Ok. I’m a little late getting this blog out because I’ve been too busy sculpting to write about it. I’m happy to be working in the studio creating 5 new masks for a mask show that opens tonight. But, being under a tight deadline is good and bad.

The good part is easy to see. I’m working not procrastinating. I’m in my studio everyday, except Sunday, pushing, pulling or painting. There just isn’t time for worrying about every mark made and that keeps my fears at bay. I’m forced to keep pushing that copper, keep painting that screening, keep moving one stroke at a time. Everyday. No futzing allowed. That kind of focus is good for me.

The bad part is a little harder to see. The adrenaline rush of excitement hides the fact that working under tight deadline pressure is scary. It’s that fear of not getting the pieces done on time that makes me lose sleep, get impatient and tighten up. I make mistakes. I correct them. I push myself harder and harder. I make longer to-do lists because I’m afraid I’ll forget something.

I did make my deadlines. I even had almost 24 hours to savor the end of the process before I delivered the pieces to the gallery. I let myself have a mini-celebration and went out to lunch.

Then, I put together another to-do list of all the things that I’d put off to meet my deadline, including what I had to do to get ready for the openings. Pick up announcements, distribute them and send email announcements. Check in and chat with friends. Look into other opportunities I’d put on hold. Clean my studio. Take those other projects out of the closet and finish them. Get some new work started. Write this blog. Write my other blogs.

Now, I’m proud of the fact that I’m a self-motivated person. I set my own deadlines when I don’t have one from somewhere else. And that’s a good thing, usually.

The bad thing is pushing myself too hard, too long. A part of me is rebelling against another week of a long to-do list. My to-do-list side doesn’t like this at all.

My body won the battle by making me feel dizzy. I took the hint and took a nap. Did yoga, walked in the park and vegged out in front of a favorite movie. Read a book. Sat out on the patio enjoying the change of the season. Talked to my friends, family and neighbors. Enjoyed a live concert. Then wrote this blog a few days later.

So, here’s what I’ve learned this time about sculpting a life. I enjoy sculpting. That’s good. Now, I just need to remember to enjoy life a little more along the way. Should I put that on my to-do list next week? Just kidding…

Read Susan’s posts every other Friday in the Joy of Living Creatively. Visit her website at or blog at

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