Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pick my Brain, please

It's been weeks and weeks of head-down, focused hard work in the studio.  Not the painting room, but the dirty, dusty, messy room where casting, carving and sanding take place.  And not the "difficult" work of metaphor or story lines but the "hard" work of chemistry and physical labor.  Because that's a lot of what being a sculptor is.  Chemistry and physical labor. 

And it's been good.  Mostly.

  My hands don't look great but my mind is clear.  I've told you before that sometimes this job doesn't seem like a job at all. Sometimes this job is a couple of hours of thinking while floating on a raft in the pool.   But other times this job is a thirteen-hour day in my own personal sweat shop, doing repetitive labor.

But oh how, after all these years, I am an expert at what I do.  On all sides.  From conception to execution to managing to marketing.
And everything in between.

And no, I haven't been here.  I think sometimes, that I've already said everything I had to say on this blog.  Other times, I think whatever I have to say will be better said in some other format - like books.

Mostly I don't think that much about it.  When I have something to say, I put up a blurb on FaceBook and have done with it.  Because it's easy and fast.  There's immediate gratification of "likes" and comments.

 It's not the same as writing here.  It's sort of like the difference between reading a book and reading an electronic version of a book on Kindle.

The satisfaction of reading a paper book and writing here is deeper.  Somehow.

So yes.  I'm a well of information on the limited subject of being a sculptor, being an artist, making a living at it and managing to find inspiration to keep it all going.

   I can tell you how to avoid air bubbles in a mold, how to pull an idea out of thin air, how to cope with depression, how to skin a catfish or grow squash.  How to create a profit and loss statement.  How to sell prints at a convention.

I'm coming up on 25 years.  Twenty five.  Of making art and making a living at it.  Of finding meaning in it. 

Ask me something. How can I help you?  I want to, if I can.


Diandra said...

Ask you something? Okay.

Could you please turn pictures of your tarot poppets into a deck? I have had dreams about them. ^^

mordicai said...

Wait...Superman poppet?!

What could you do for ME? I guess for me, the poppets with the smaller price points are the ones that are most alluring, because they fall into the "same price as a half decent bottle of wine" & therefore make good housewarming gifts. I don't want to give everyone a plain red poppet though, I want everyone to get something more diversity in the cheaper ones would be my request.

lisa said...

Hi Diandra - That's actually in the works already. It's slow going because any work on projects has to be squeezed in between making poppets. But I hope to get finished before the end of the year.

lisa said...

Mordacai - There's really only one way I can make cool, diverse poppets cost the same as a 'half decent bottle of wine.' I can sell poppets to a licensing company that would then mass produce them in, say, China.

Then, all the poppets would be "Super."

A few years ago I hired a number of studio painters. I paid them well and provided health and dental insurance. I was on the way to renting a building for us when the recession, the fall of the publishing industry and other factors swept my legs right out from under me. I didn't see it coming - was putting all of my earnings back into the studio. Trying to build something that wasn't a sweat shop. Something that would last.
It didn't, but I did, and Poppets did. And it was really, really hard.
If you want to give someone a poppet as a housewarming gift, give them a simple one. Poppets come already in gifty packaging. And they're hand made. A lot of people appreciate that. Or give them a print. I have lots of prints.
I'm working on making books and other things. But in the meantime, every poppet out there is made by hand, by me. And that means I work a lot of hours on poppets, and work when I should be sleeping to write, or blog or manage my studio's business.
Yes, this is my choice. To continue making poppets that are small art sculptures.
I wrote here that I've nearly 25 years as an artist. I'm good at what I do and I know A LOT. And I'm willing to share that information for free.
You want me to make something unique for the same price as a half decent bottle of wine.
What makes you think something worth a 'half-decent' bottle of wine is a good gift?
What makes you think I want to work in my own sweat shop? I expected better of you, Mordicai.

Elaine said...

In the past Lisa, your blog posts have been immensely helpful on the subject of learning to cope with depression. Thank you for that - a number of times your posts were just what I needed to read at the time. Thank you, for that.

lisa said...

Elaine - There are so many tools to deal with depression. Books and books full. The best advice I ever got was to treat it sort of like the flu. Sometimes you still have to show up at work. Believe me, I've sculpted and painted plenty while crying. But you can still be good to yourself. Extra nutrition, breaks, and comforts. And like the flu - we all get down sometimes. Just like with any other worry - know that it's part of being human, it will pass and you can only do your best until it does.

Jen said...

ooohhh... poppet tarot deck. Count me in, too. :)

Lisa, I love that your poppets inspire me. Since finding my first poppet, I've started taking photos, and now, it's one of the things I enjoy most. That, and your posts about coping with depression, is a lot of what helps me keep my chin up in my darker moments.

Thank you.

And .... just thought of this .... I wouldn't mind seeing maybe another bone sculpture at some point. I have the big green bone you did (my husband and I call it the Lettuce Beast). :)

Janet said...

Could you make a shiba inu poppet?

Syd said...

Lisa, I may not catch a new post on the day, but I don't seem to miss it by much. I've always enjoyed your blog--well, from the point I finally trailed over from Neil's blog because he'd mentioned you and/or shown a photo of the kinetic piece you did for him and I just thought, damn, that's And you know how much I enjoy the Poppets!

What can you do for me? Oh, lots of things: never lose heart, keep making amazing art, let yourself be strong and also take time to be good to yourself... When you're ready to work on the book, I'd love to audition to proof it for you (will work for Poppets...although at this point, I'd do it for love), and let me know whether it's better to contact you on etsy or FB, because I have some ideas bubbling in my mind for custom Poppets...

I think that about covers it. For now. :)

RunningWithScissors said...

Lisa, I just recently discovered your Poppets and have since become addicted to you and them! I can't wait for the next Game of Thrones Poppets to appear! I don't know how you do it.......but I'm SO GLAD you do what you do! =^..^=
Oh yeah.........this is Anita from Etsy!