Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sculpting a Life:
Susan Gallacher-Turner’s turn in the Pacific Northwest

Sculpting a life can be scary. Whether or not the economy is up or down, the art process itself is a roller coaster ride of hills and valleys. In the past two weeks, I’ve had a few of my own.

The hills are easy to talk about, aren’t they? I sold some of my art work at a mask show and my own open studio event. I picked up a kiln that a kindred art supporter gave me. As a result of owning a kiln, I can work in clay again and I dreamed up new ideas for clay figures. I made some new sculptural vessels, worked on a new screening piece and my copper repousse’. I taught a new class through the Museum of Contemporary Craft. And met a lot of wonderful, kind art supporters.

The valleys are not so easy to face. I had a show and nothing sold. I heard other artists sold much more at their open studios than I did. I don’t have any other classes or openings scheduled for the next two months. I had doubts about my work, my direction, my creative ideas. I spent more time cleaning my home and studio than working in it. I sweated about my finances, and wondered if I should get another job.

But then, this weekend, teaching a class, I saw the students go through similar hills and valleys. Excitement and fear. Creative visions and expectations. Inspiration and resistance.

I guess I’m not alone. It helps to know that. I know valleys are a chance to face my fears and use my creative dreams, talents and work to climb up and out. I know that hills give me a chance to show my work, see my progress, share my skills with others.

Even knowing all this, I'd like the ride to be easier, smoother and less scary. But that’s not the way it works, is it? What can I do? I can acknowledge my fear and let it be. Then I can ride the roller coaster instead of letting it roll over me.

Read Susan’s blog at or visit her website at

No comments: