Tag: studio

Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

After nearly two years, the studio has reopened.  Starting in 2018, it will be rebranded as Sunrise Studio and will include the art of the Common Shaman and Neko-Jin Designs.

Every Saturday in 2017 we will be open from 11 am to 6 pm.  Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, we will be open from 10 am to 7 pm, offering sales and free goodies.

For me, this is a new beginning.  The same dream, manifesting in a different way.  Instead of going it alone, I have business partners that are amazing and so skilled in their art.

This is the most amazing thing for me.  I have never stopped making art, but I had not the strength within me to keep the studio open or to teach.  Now, things are changing. Come help us celebrate!  Here is a link to directions to our studio.

Writing this on Thanksgiving is appropriate.  I am grateful beyond words.  To further entice you ere are some of the goodies that will be available at the studio this weekend:

 

 

feeling like an artist again

This weekend we had an event at the studio.  My business sign went back up and we compensated for the fact that the studio is still in the chaos of change by putting up a tent and selling our wares from the front yard.  This involved both my art, and the art of my roommates – check out their work at Neko-Jin Designs and The Common Shaman.   (Their work is on the right and I can attest to the quality.  The jewelry is powerfully lovely and those pillows are freaking huggable.)

The experience has left me exhausted and in a lot of pain, but for the first time in ages I feel anchored in what I do – I am a maker to my core.  During the first day, Friday, I was able to make 60 wee watercolors and pen and inks. Although, insomnia did help with that glut of drawings.  Yesterday, I made about five slightly larger pen and inks.  Today, I was a poet.

Sitting in the sun with nothing to do other than create and sell art was a joy.

A lot of locals came by, pleased that I am not either dead or moved out of the area.  It let me know how far I have hunkered down during this past two years.  Oh, but the change in my circumstances brings up such optimism.  Life has gotten better.

This time in 2015, I could not move my left arm much at all, I could not throw, I lost nearly all my income for the full year. Surgery on the shoulder in October 2015, then a hysterectomy in February 2016.  But by June of that year, things began to change.

Even now, I am still struggling – my hips need to be replaced, I am in a cauldron of pain – and yet, I am still making art.  Somehow, I have survived all of the crap that came my way.  Even heartbroken, I made art.  Even when I can barely walk,  I am making and selling art.  I am working as hard as I can to keep my house and have been grounding myself in faith that I can do it.  There have been days that I had to dig deeper within for strength than I thought I went, but it worked!

I continue forward with both my regular job and the art that is my vocation.   The first has not dented my passion for the second.

I am so grateful for the friends who saw me through this weekend.  Perhaps I have been whining too much in these blogs, because what I should be shouting from the rooftops is how wonderful life can be when you have friends that have your back.  To be able to rely on people and know that they will be there for me, that is a priceless, beautiful thing.  They set up the tent, set up the products and then tore them down in the evening, three days in a row, all with out a stitch of help from me because I could not move any of those things. What a blessing it is to have people who do not just share your dreams but are willing to put their shoulders into fulfilling them.  This is a case of actions speaking so loudly, all words were drowned out.  Without their kindness, none of this could have been done.

Basically, this is a blog of thanks.  I am grounded in what I do again, which will help all things – the physical struggle, this financial difficulty, my regular job, my art.  If you were here, you would be able to see my smile, hear my loud, outrageous laugh and listen to me sing to my cats about the glories of life.

I have “all will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well” tattooed on my arm. Too often, I need the reminder. But, today, I did not read it.  Indeed, I did not even glance at it.  The next few months are going to be very hard, financially and physically, but good friends are teaching me that I can trust in the universe enough to reach out.  I am asking for help and receiving kindness.

This is the miracle of my life.

Because, I am talking about asking for help, I am compelled to say: you can make me $3 closer to being able to sustain myself while I am recuperating from surgery. My end of that deal will be to keep making art, even when I am flat on my ass in bed.

But for now, let not think of what could go wrong.  Instead, let’s sing songs of joy and thanksgiving!

Another twenty minutes

the studio 1
a view of the gallery part of my studio

Really, by the time i finished getting the photographs together, i am down to fifteen minutes for a blog.  However, i really think it is important to write something down today and fling it into the ether.  My first drop in class for the season – not a regularly scheduled student – will begin at noon.  My kiln is filled with sculptures and tinypots and as soon as it has cooled enough to harvest the shelves, i will start another kiln firing, all pots in fire red and ocean blues.  Even though the house is in a terrible state, the price paid for doing so much work out here, i am halfway through a business plan, i have been able to keep the gallery open for customers, the gallery/studio itself looks really good despite being back into production.  Kind people have offered to help me through the last legs of this rough patch.  i am getting responses to my ads for the rooms for rent upstairs in the house – and even had one walk through already. Customers are coming to look at my art, and soon they will be coming back to buy.

Even though i am still so far behind and have been in the pit for too long, some sunlight is starting to make it to me from the surface.  Small, delicate fingers of sunbeam whose caress means the world to me.  A deep stirring in my spirit tells me that this is not just the blessed entrance of spring, but it has something to do with how i am moving through the world.  Even on the days i have had to force myself out of bed, i have.  When i felt bankrupt of all words and inspiration, i kept working.

the studio 2
that this table is clean makes me happy beyond words

i realized something over the past few months – even when i am despondent, and my thoughts circle defeatism’s drain, i actually cannot quite surrender.  Of course i can have a temper tantrum for a night or two, and i can bring out several people to testify to the whining, eventually something in me started going forward again. Even when i am not ruled by joy and hope, although i always wonder if i madness and faith are more accurate, i cannot actually manage the process of surrendering.  This is a lesson i have to keep learning: i do not really have the common sense to give up even when other people demand that i should.  Thankfully, i have enough other people in my life who are just as dedicated to the arts as i am, who have inexplicable faith in me, and they have spent a lot of energy this winter keeping me going.  i am grateful to them beyond words.  In fact, i find myself singing these thanksgivings as i putter about the organized studio/gallery.

And now, as i wait for today’s students, i feel like some of the flowers in the yard.  My roots grow strong again, and i have started to open up to the wind, the sun, and celebrate the possibility of change with every cell and all my heart.

The Blessings in New Year’s Day

studio5I love my studio.  It was part of the reason I chose this house in the first place, after working in a tiny studio in Virginia or in my condo’s small living-room.  Two floors, the upper that could be private, a sanctum sanctorum for art, and the other for teaching and messy, muddy work.  The big door to bring in canvases and (as it turned out) kilns, wheels and tables. It felt decadent.  I had space for kilns and wheels and slab rollers and tables.  I could teach and make art on a level that I had not previously conceived.

Today, Lara Max was kind enough to watch the pop up after we drew for the raffle today (we only have one more full day – given the weather coming in Sunday, we’re going to let artists start collecting their work at 2 pm Saturday) and during those lovely empty hours of the afternoon my friend Melisenda Ellis helped me with a project I had been stressing over and avoiding:  moving my wheel into the house so that I can keep making pottery this winter.  There was a huge part of me that resisted this change, even though it was unavoidable.

Heating two buildings last winter was crippling financially – I just cannot do it again.  Now, there will be times I can work in the studio – just after a kiln has fired while it is heated by red-hot pottery wrapped up inside fire-brick – but to get the bulk of whatever sculpting and throwing I want to do this winter done would require my wheel and tools to be here in the house. Praying for a miracle windfall of cash has not been as effective as making do with the resources I have: a spare room in the warm house.  By Halloween, I had moved the glazes (and the shelves required for them) to the house (again, thanks Mel).  However, the wheel had been too much for that dayDSCN5425, both physically and psychologically.

Today, even though it was cold, we had no ice, no snow and (thanks to Mel’s kindness) two strong women to muscle the equipment over.  The wheel now sits on hard plastic in my spare bedroom.  While we worked, I had an epiphany on how to protect the walls and floor from clay splatter and how to set up my tools for easy access.

A lot of them sit in the kitchen, waiting to be washed so I can start my work for the winter with that last box of porcelain.

tovanquishthesefears
to vanquish these fears – i force my arms to open – i begin to dance (one of the prizes in today’s raffle)

After Mel left and I sat here on the couch being exhausted, listening to my back mumble curses at me, I realized this was one of the best New Year’s blessings I could have gotten: two good friends willing to help me out.  Lara made phone calls for me – something that is a greater kindness than she could know.  Mel’s willingness to lend her strength and stamina to push my dreams a little further has consistently left me grateful.  A chance to continue making art – vanquishing my worries about the change of venue – is a blessing beyond compare.  If I am honest, I will tell you: I already miss the studio.  This solution is not perfect.  I will have to be quite vigilant about clay dust and mess (and curious cats) in the house.  The rhythm of my work will change, without doubt.  However, the important part is that the work will continue. New ideas and challenges already bubble up in my imagination. I already know what my first post-firing project will be – how to best use the slab roller and the work table when I can be in the studio, exploiting a brief gust of heat.

It will be another few days before the spare bedroom is ready for me to be actively throwing and by that time my back will stop complaining about today’s lifting (and it could have been so much worse – Mel moved the clay for me!)

But, today was a new beginning – like every day, every moment.  This particular beginning was proof that I am not alone in this world – that I still have good friends and my art.

Really, what more could I have asked for?

 

 

changes in the studio

A wonderful friend taught me a vivid expression this past spring: I am up to my eyeballs in alligators. Right now, they have gone far past the eyeballs. The pesky gators are actually dragging me by my hair toward the river.

I had thought I wouldn’t be writing this blog for another month, but events have conspired against me.  Thank God, I have a website design job, but that will be taking a huge chunk of my time in September.  Indeed, I am closing mytimchin_may2014_0009 gallery/studio next Monday and all of the week of September 15th so that I can do the work for which I have been hired.

In addition, the gallery/studio will be closed this coming Saturday so that I can do a demo at the Penobscot Marine Museum – dragging my treadle wheel and some finished pottery those crucial six miles up the road.  I believe I will be making mugs.

A week later, I will be closing the studio on Saturday for the Garlic Festival.  This is the only outdoor show I’ll be doing in 2014, which should tell you how much I enjoy it.  Please, come if you can.  The food is incredible, the music always good and the entire event helps Kids Peace.

At any rate, I have known for the past couple of weeks that I will be closing the studio completely – for lessons and events – in the dead of winter this year. Unless there is a fiscal miracle, I will not have an orifice from which I can pull the money to heat the studio and the house January through April.  Heating the house will be challenging enough.  In a fit of madness, I am reorganizing my living-room and spare bedroom downstairs so I can keep making art in the house.

At first, I was terribly resentful of all the the time and effort I am having to put into the other work – not just web-design, computer lessons, social media lessons but also the bookkeeping, advertising and other chores necessary to run a business.  The engine of art that runs within me is greedy for my time.  I descend into every greater weirdness if I do not write every day, much less work with visual arts.  Thankfully, I have had an epiphany this summer.  I have spent so many days barely functional as a human being, and yet I have still been writing, drawing with pen and ink, organizing my life as much as I can to facilitate the creative process.  As despondent as I have gotten, I have continued to get up every morning and make art.  Words have flowed from me even when I didn’t have the cognitive ability to handle work on my books.

I am no longer afraid that if I divert my attention for a time that I will somehow stop being an artist.  Working in the studio is glorious and wonderful, but if I work from the house that will not make me less of an artist.  This is who I am.  Whether the studio is open or closed for customers, I am still going to make art.

When I made that decision, I knew that the time in the fall, before everything freezes, will become a spasm of frantic transition.  Since I am not actually suicidal, I have to close the normal hours of the studio and be open by appointment or chance.  As much as I would like to think I am able to do everything with grace and splendor, I’m not. To get ready for winter, make the pots I need to before weather kicks me out of that space, and get the new web-design work done, I have to give myself a more flexible schedule. If I am there, I will open up the studio, but you will need to check ahead if you are traveling specifically for me.

While I expected these changes, I did not expect is that this would start immediately after Labor Day.  Yet here I am, on September 4th, writing this blog.

As of this moment: the studio/gallery will be open by appointment or chance.  Tuesday’s Clayful Evening will occur next week, not the week after (the 16th) and from the 30th on it will be completely dependent upon the temperature.  Please, I beg you, call ahead or check my twitter/facebook/google+ feeds.  After December 1st, the Clayful Evenings will cease until April.

timchin_may2014_0039Both Monday and Tuesday’s deals – Multiple Mondays (20% off if you buy more than one item) and Triple Tuesday (30% off if you buy 3 or more) will continue, if I am open.  Check my twitter feed, google+ page and  facebook page (like the pages, too, why don’t you!) to see if I am in the studio/gallery on a given day – I will post in my status if I am opening the studio – or contact me directly if you want to make an appointment.

Meanwhile, check my website for the other places where you can buy my art – I have a full list.  I will be updating it today after posting this blog! I am adding more possibilities for online buying this week – those will get their own blog entries, though.

Thank you for your patience and patronage as I make these changes.  I have never been more grateful for those who buy my art and encourage my madness.

 

painting

studio_starti am filled with gratitude.  Some friends have been helping me with my studio – doing a job i can’t: paint the outside of it.  For four years, it has looked more like a scary garage than a Studio and Showroom because i cannot manage to paint it myself.  A latex allergy keeps me away from most forms of house paint, which frustrates me because before the allergy became crippling, i enjoyed painting quite a lot.  While life as an artist has kept me in food, clothes, clay and art supplies, it has not left me with thousands of extra dollars to pay professional painters.

Now the edifice has transformed!  The front side of the studio has now been painted!  The side facing the road is scheduled to be be done the first week of November (weather permitting)!  i sing and dance with joy!

As they worked, part of me felt a wave of sorrow that i couldn’t be out there helping them help me, but then i realized – this was a fantastic moment for me to allow two lessons to settle into my awareness.

First, no matter how much i attempt to coax myself into believing that i’m totally independent and fierce, i actually depend upon the kindness of others quite a lot.  When i fall into the most lonely places, all i can see is solitude enveloping me and remain blind to the great oceans of friendship in which i swim.  The fact that the kindness of other finds its way to me absolutely thrills me and leaves me ridiculously grateful.studio1

Second, this proved to me that i am still committed to my work no matter how many spasms of anxiety and fear i have been enduring the past two weeks.  Thankfully, the thought “Oh, my God! No one is ever going to buy my art again!  This life of joy and bliss is over!” doesn’t charge through my mind as often as it did in the beginning, but when it does it leaves me limping for a few moments.  The realization that i am just a beginner as far as running a small business goes can also leave me shaken.  Leaps like this prove to my doubts that i am continuing to learn and move forward despite them.

Seeing (from a safe distance) the studio transform into this beautiful bright yellow and blue, looking more like a business than it ever has before, leaves me grinning ear to ear.  One side down, two more to go.

transformations

First, i should say: i am not a neat person.  i enjoy a profession where looking like Pig Pen at the end of the day means i have been productive.  When i am dressed up in heels, a suit and (heaven help me) make up, i feel awkward and uncomfortable.  i feel most at ease with myself in yoga pants and t-shirts.  If you enter my house, you will frequently find dishes waiting to be done and dust in the corners.  If not worse.

my dog in a neat studio
My dog in a neat studio

Most of my energy is spent making art.  At the end of the day, i have nothing left.  Too often maintaining a sparkling studio or house just doesn’t rate as a priority. Which probably says something terrible about my character.  But i am what i am.

However, there are spells when my normal comfort with chaos erodes.

i have been transforming my space – getting rid of things, reorganizing others.  This is the third August/September that has involved such a metamorphosis.  My creativity jumps when i enter these restructured spaces, as though chunks of a cocoon have been ripped away, leaving an intoxicating, seductive newness.

Change excites the mind.  Open spaces let my spirit expand.

This week i have been giving thanks that over the past four years my world has become more organized, neater, trimmed of things i do not need or want. Most people would probably be appalled that i am pleased with how things are – for there is still so much mess.  The floors of a pottery studio cannot be made perfect.  i accept the criticism when it finds me; it means they do not know how things were.  Indeed, the poem below describes how things were.  It makes me grateful for what my life has become.

PS: Never fear, i fill the voids i create with more art.