All right, so if my troubles organizing my studio aren’t really about my studio at all, but about my own life as a person-who-needs-a-studio, then perhaps I ought to have a little bloggy chat with myself (and a few hundred of my closest internet friends) about that crafting life.
I mean: What exactly is my PROBLEM? Why is it that I have so much difficulty allowing myself to set up a workable, organized, inspiring studio space?
Fact: I have the luxury of being able to devote myself full-time to my writing-about-craft. It really is a luxury, let’s be clear: I’m able to do this because my husband believes in me, and because his job pays the big bills. My job pays…
OH WAIT. Stop Right There.
I think I’ve found Piece #1 of the Problem Puzzle. I’m struggling with the notion of myself as a “serious” crafter because I am not the breadwinner in our family, because my job is “not as important” to the financial stability and well-being of my household as that of my husband.
I used to be the breadwinner. There was a time, early in our marriage, when I made a good deal more green stuff than N., and my job paid the bills. Then, when I worked at Interweave, things shifted, and N. and I were co-breadwinners, our earnings being more-or-less equal. Now, he’s a tenured professor, and I’m a full-time writer/editor/speaker/teacher/crafter.
Notice what I unconsciously put last: Crafter. Uh-huh. Veddy Interesting.
I think of people like Ysolda and Casey and Jess and Abby, and I realize that in my head, I consider them SERIOUS craftfolks, because they actually make a living (more-or-less, no one gets rich being a craftsperson) doing this stuff; it is how they support themselves. If I didn’t have N. to help with the bills, I doubt that I could support myself on what I make as a writer/speaker/whatever.
So not only do I think I’m Less of a Serious Crafter because of the money thing: I don’t even know that I believe in my ability, in my being-good-enough-at-what-I-do, to support myself doing what I do. (Of course, I am conveniently forgetting the entire Interweave job thing. Yeah. I wasn’t good enough, and that’s why they made me managing editor of Knits, and asked me to be founding editor of Knitting Daily, and put designs of mine on the covers of magazines. Right.)
Look at that. I’m judging my worth as a craft writer/designer/maker on the basis of The Money I Make. (Or don’t make, as the case may be.)
In the words of a business man I know: “Money is my report card.” I don’t make a lot of money doing this, therefore, I am not Good Enough to call myself a writer/crafter. Those who are financially successful doing this have a good report card, and thus have earned the right to call themselves craftspeople…and to put energy and money towards setting up a nice studio for their Serious Money-Making Craft Work.
Apparently, my report card is mocking me, and I, as a craftsperson, do not deserve a nice studio environment.
Dude, that’s harsh.
And it’s so unlike me. In fact, I like to think of myself as someone whose report card is based on anything BUT money.
However, it was the first argument that leapt out through my fingers when I sat down to write about why I have trouble setting up a studio: I don’t make a REAL living at this, so therefore, ergo, and there-you-have-it.
That reasoning is so unexpected that I don’t even know if I ought to post this. I didn’t know I felt this way. I was ready to write about how tough it is to unpack boxes, or how cold it is in the room that we’ve set aside for my studio…anything but money.
But the point of Advent is to clean out the corners, to open up those closed-off rooms, clean the dusty linens, and get some fresh air into spaces that don’t normally get fresh air, so that there’s less dirt, and more room.
More room for Good Things. (Like a workable, and beautiful, studio.)
Alllll-righty then. So the first big dust-monster to tackle is: “Money is my report card.”
N O T.
On the other hand…
Small Things Are Important
As an example, I present to you: Wee Knitted Gnomes.
See? Isn’t the world just a better place because mimknits spent time making those?
And those little guys don’t think money is ANYBODY’s report card…