More Lessons from “Camp”

Back to reality today.

I am running loads of clothes through the washer and dryer and sifting through Outlook to find the important emails among the marketing messages. (When did anything at Pottery Barn become a “must have”? Don’t get me wrong, I love  Pottery Barn, but I don’t think they sell anything that I can’t get by without. Squirrel?)

I’m working on production of some books to meet upcoming deadlines, enjoying the peace and quiet, and yet missing the giggling and noise of the kids. I’m also thinking about other lessons from “camp.”

Lesson # 2 – Everything is better with a buddy (even if you disagree).

I tend to work quietly by myself. I’m sure working from home in my own studio reinforces this – but after spending the week with my niece, Amelia, and my nephew, Colin, I am reminded how much a buddy can add to the process. They bounced ideas, humor, even disagreements off of each other and came out better for it. And most importantly they had someone to pal around with.

I’m trying to build more community into my art making, through teaching,  meeting regularly with other book artists and having “play dates” with my friend, Wendy Sprague, who is a watercolor painter.  I don’t work in watercolors,  but setting aside time to work together adds to the richness of both of our work. I never know when a technique from her media will be useful in mine and vice versa.

I am also making more time to have lunch with my friend, Gloria Huet, a painter and printmaker. Our media is not the same but we have many of the same professional challenges – getting our work out into the world, interfacing with galleries and collectors, and marketing our work.

I’ve heard from many other book artists that there isn’t a community of book artists in their area. Consider that artists in all media have some commonalities and having artist-friends to share the trials and tribulations of art making with – even if you disagree – will enrich your process and support your development as an artist.

Lesson # 3 – Remember to sing (just like when you were a kid).

On the last day of “camp” when we were cleaning up and getting ready to leave, Amelia started singing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah. (One of Amelia’s many charms is that she often sings while she is working on art, cooking or taking a shower.) My mom joined in and so did I and by the end of the song we were loud and smiling and had lighter hearts. If you work quietly in your studio – whether you have a “good” singing voice or not – try a bit of singing out loud. It may make that deadline, or your frustration with the glue that just won’t do what you want, seem a bit less overwhelming.

Out of curiosity I did some quick internet research on the health and emotional benefits of singing, and found an interesting article in a UC Berkeley Wellness Alert that says, among other things, that when people sing their antibodies go up because singing makes them feel good. Works for me!

Do you have a song that you sing while you work?

Zip-a-dee-dooh-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

My, oh my what a wonderful day!

Plenty of sunshine heading my way

Zip-a-dee-dooh-dah, zip-a-dee-ay….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s