Carving a "Spring" votive

There seem to be two types of artists in this world – one that constantly creates because (s)he just feels compelled to and the other that needs a little bit of a kick in the keister to get into the studio.  I fall into the second category.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love going into the studio and making work and (especially) seeing the final project when it comes out of the kiln knowing, “I made that!”  However, it does take a particular project or deadline to keep me from finding house chores to do, bills to pay, my dog to play with, television to watch, etc.  I can be a prime example of Newton’s law of motion – bodies at rest tend to stay at rest until acted upon by a force.

When I was in college and being given assignments and projects to do, I just wished for the day that I could have my own studio and make what I wanted to make when I wanted to make it.  Funny what happens when you get smacked upside the head with the real world, isn’t it?  I have found in the last 7 ½ years since graduation, I need to give myself assignments and deadlines to myself to get into the studio…and, I had to tell myself that I am not necessarily a bad artist because of that. 

My main problem over the last 7 years has been my worries that my work wasn’t “ready for prime time.”  I have been content to let Jason apply to gallery shows and do outdoor festivals while I worked two jobs to keep us paying bills while we strove to make livings as artists.  All that time, I made some work.  I even sold a little here and there. But without the deadline I need to really propel me in the studio, I worked in fits and starts. 

Sometime at the beginning of 2010, I decided I could not just wait around until my work was “ready.”  If I truly wanted to be an artist, I needed a radical overhaul on the way I thought of my work and myself.  I decided that I was no longer “working in advertising and marketing while working toward becoming an artist.”  No!  I am an artist that is currently working a second job during a down economy.  That is all it took.  A complete retool in the way I think of my career, easily summed up in one sentence.  From there, I found a drive that had been missing.  I updated the website, created a Facebook page, became part of Etsy, started this blog, applied to shows, and most importantly – I MADE WORK. 

Glazing pots at the table while greenware waits to be prepped for spraying.

Recently, Jason and I signed up for the Orlando Home and Garden Show at the Orange County Convention Center (Save the Dates! – September 10-12).  We have reserved a 10’ x 20’ booth for the show.  Whether I like it or not, my work needs to be ready for prime time, and my new outlook on my career has brought a new-found confidence that I may have lacked before.  This coming show has given me the deadline I needed to drive me into the studio, and I have been making more work than ever before leading me to become a better artist the more I make. 

I no longer worry about whether or not I am truly an artist just because I need deadlines; I embrace it.  There is no right or wrong way to be an artist.  To quote one of my professors, Rob Reedy: “just M-A-K-E. Make!”  That is truly all it takes.  An artist creates and makes beautiful and/or profound items.  As long as I keep making, I AM an artist –not working toward becoming one.

Not familiar with Jennifer and Jason Lachtara’s work?  Visit our website at www.lach-arts.com to see a portfolio of pottery and ceramic art as well as listings of current and upcoming shows (including the Orlando Home and Garden Show in September – don’t miss it!)

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