Paperwork: Love it or hate it?
I am choking in paperwork. There seems to be an inordinate amount of show applications due by October 1, along with the proposals for the American Sewing Guild conference. My inbox is overflowing and all the bills are due on Thursday. I had all the banking to do from my trip last week, and my work from the summer shows is starting to return, one of the pieces from the Small Expressions exhibition sold, and I had to ship that out this morning.
I spent the afternoon, trying to decide what images to send to a major exhibit here in NJ. It is a show I’ve never gotten into, sponsored by the NJ State Council on the Arts, but in reality, I may have only applied a couple times in my whole career. For the first time in my life as an artist, not just a clothing designer/handweaver, I feel like I have a strong body of work to actually use for the application. Except I’ve already applied to two shows last week, for the same time frame, and apparently it is a big no no to use the same work for more than one application, because if the worst happens, and both shows accept the same piece, you can’t write them and say, sorry, I’m sending it to someone else. There is gallery exhibition etiquette here, and I’m new at this game. So I spent about 3 hours on the application, trying to figure out how to navigate this one, after driving to Bergen County with my husband for a field trip.
I got one of my pieces accepted to the Art Center of Northern NJ’s 18th National Juried Show. I posted the show, which runs October 11-November 2, in my events calendar, in the widget on the right. The drop off for the work was today, and I invited my husband to come along for the ride. He was born and raised in Bergen County, and I thought it would be fun to drive around the area and see what’s changed. Change is an understatement. I enjoyed his stories, of shooting troubles as a lineman for the phone company, where there were serious breaks in the phone lines, one on Christmas eve, where he stopped at a tree seller, and threw a Christmas tree in the back of the phone company truck on the way home to his mom’s, and hanging over a stream trying to repair a line hit by a backhoe, as a thunderstorm hit. Funny the things we remember, vividly. It was a lovely afternoon.
I ran into Nisha Drinkard at the Panera where we stopped for lunch, former fiber department head at William Paterson University. We chatted for awhile. And having just gone to the Peters Valley 38th annual craft fair yesterday, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to other fiber artists, and how they are fairing in this poor economy. I’m always amazed at how upbeat artist’s are, and how resourceful they can be, and how they aren’t afraid to reinvent themselves.
So, back to the paperwork. I haven’t decided if I really hate paperwork, or I am challenged by it and am really good at it. It is a love/hate relationship, but the bottom line is, I can’t teach if I don’t write proposals, and I can’t get my work into shows if I don’t fill out entry forms and applications, and I can’t stay in my house if I don’t pay my mortgage and utility bills, all of which are due within the week. So, whether I love it or hate it, it all still has to be done.
Which is why I took a break for what my weaving buddy Sally calls, a weaving snack. While I was at Sievers last week, I stayed in the teacher’s cottage, which is full of lovely things that other instructors have done and donated to decorate the house. (Note to self: I really need to make something to send to them for the house…) On one of the end tables was a beautiful mat made from inkle loom strips, five in each direction, plaited together and stitched around the edges. Simple enough. I don’t know who made the one on the table at Sievers, but I thought it was a great thing to do in about 15 minutes with a finished inkle band. God knows I have enough of them.
Sidebar: After I graduated with a degree in fine arts, in 1977, I went to work for a retail chain of mall stores, called the Craft Showcase, owned by Cole National Corp. It was the only experience I’ve ever had working in corporate America. And that was quite enough. The stupidity of some of the mandates from corporate headquarters, like change every price tag in the store to read .99, instead of .00. We had to drop one cent on the price of every item in the store, thousands of items, and when we finally finished the job, headquarters decided we had to change them all back. I still remember stupid stuff like that.
I did enjoy the job, I taught classes in calligraphy, stained glass, macramé (which you will recall was the technique du jour in the 70′s), along with needlework, fine art techniques, and anything else that came along where we had to promote the products and teach students how to make stuff. I was responsible for making sure the ceramic owl eyes were always in stock, making a macramé owl plant hanger was the most popular class. And I did all the window and wall displays. I learned a lot from that job, and I picked up a lot of things while I worked there, which still exist in my studio and come in handy. Like my macramé board. With the $2. price tag on it.
Of course I had to go looking in my daughter’s room. When things are missing from my studio, I can usually find them there.
And here is the final mat!
And here is a great shot of the new dog, Bjorn, that my husband took the day they brought the dog home. He has the sweetest face.