We are never not doing. And it often feels there is never enough time to do all of the doing I'd like to do. Sometimes I decide to pause some of the ideas I'm working on and the things I feel like I should be doing instead of frustrating myself trying to do more than I have time for. (As we say "put them on the back burner" which is a fun expression.) And when I free myself from too many to-dos I open a space for other projects and "doings" to flourish.
Certainly it is impossible to "check out" of all of the things on one's to-do list-- family obligations, groceries, cooking, etc-- but I'm not even thinking of those responsibilities or obligations on the same "doings" list. My doings or project and ideas list includes all things art-related, jewelry-business-related, work-related. There is never enough time for everything on that list. And though I enjoy sharing my work-in-progress, my new finished work, and other related thoughts with you, the fact is that constantly posting to social media takes lots of time and energy. So of all of the work-related things on my doings list, social media posting is the one that I would prefer to do only when I am inspired, instead of when the algorithm experts advise, which is all the time! The other item on my doings list that takes time from making is writing this blog. But this writing can help me process my thoughts and allows me to take a moment to think about how and why I work. And I feel much less pressure and more pleasure from writing this than posting to social media everyday.
By now you've figured out that two of the things I put on the back burner over the last many months are this blog/journal and my social media posts. And let me tell you, what a lovely pause it has been! To let go of the pressure to create posts and "stay engaged with social media" was delightful. If I was an "influencer" that wouldn't make sense, but thankfully I'm not.
I have accepted that something is missing from my creative process if I don't have a fine art practice and a design practice advancing in parallel. Very often I have several artistic ideas "on the back burner" but I still like to have a few different things going at once. Obviously this means that all of these in-process projects will move slower because I am not dedicating all of my making time to just one of them. This bothered me for a long time until I understood that I can't make art without sometimes shifting to design and vise versa. Though in all fairness, I rarely talk about my fine art work and post about it infrequently compared to my jewelry designs. That's an interesting thing about social media, we're never getting the whole story, we're only getting what the poster chooses to share. So since I was here last, I'd like to share a few art-related things I've seen or been doing, though none of them are part of my regular fine art and jewelry making.
Each summer when visiting my family in Omaha, NE, I have started a tradition of making one print series at the Roberta and Bob Rogers Gallery (RBR G) which is an incredible not-for-profit print gallery and workshop. My dad, John Rogers, founded and runs it and it is named after my grandparents which is delightful because it continues their legacy of bringing stimulating, high-quality art to Omaha and the Midwest. This summer I made a linoleum print. I'm happy with how it turned out and I will share it with you when I finally take some good photos of it.
While visiting my in-laws in France, I spent a few days in Paris and saw several fabulous exhibits- the landscapes of Henri Cartier-Bresson at his namesake foundation, a group show of women ceramicists from Japan at the Musee Guimet, and the spectacular retrospective at the Museum of Decorative Arts of fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli who ran her fashion house from the 1930s to 50s and was theatrical and inventive and brought Surrealist art whimsy into her designs. I'm a huge fan!
Above images from left: my print on the printer bed at RBR G; one of the beautiful Cartier-Bresson photographs: some of the stunning ceramics from Japan; one of Elsa Schiaparelli's most well-known dresses with a big painted lobster on the skirt.
Another fabulous thing I've been doing is teaching art to kids. I find it energizing and fun! I am working with an amazing art educator named Holly Wheatcroft at her art school named The Art Room. I taught art day camp for many weeks last summer and continue working with The Art Room teaching after school classes. This photo is from one of the art camps when the kids were designing maps. The projects Holly and I come up with sometimes gently guide students to help them understand and explore a new technique or effect through example and demonstration. Other times the projects are more open with a general idea as a starting point. Usually these ideas are introduced through stories about an artist's work or a bit about a particular part of art history. All of the stories are incredibly told and animated by Holly who is passionate about art history and art in general!
I ran away for a few days to NYC where I saw lots of art and filled up on the stimulating energy of my favorite city. One public piece of art that blew me away is the enormous new mosaic in the renovated 42nd St shuttle station. I have never seen such movement and energy in a mosaic. The colors and everything about it are mesmerizing! The artist Nick Cave titled the piece Each One, Every One, Equal All and you can read more about it here.
And lastly-- Last month I planned a big street party with one of my neighbors. I made some invites and got a few teens on the street drop one in every mailbox for 2 blocks. We blocked off our laneway and were delighted to have a huge group of neighbors come together for a big potluck and hang out. My favorite part was the giant cake I brought so we could all have a reason to sing together! I'm sure you can guess what we sang!
So you can see, even when someone's not posting, and maybe even especially when they're not posting, but also when they're only posting certain things, lots more is being done. Because no matter what we see online, no matter how edited things look on a screen, we are all, never not doing.
P. S. My kiln is firing as I type...