Filthy Lucre, Scratch, or Sugar? Why tether? part 1

I’ve kept trying to write about the show a week and a half ago, but am finding it difficult. As someone who spent a few years doing quite a few show/sales, most aspects of doing them are pretty old hat to me now. So, perhaps unfortunately, perhaps simply honestly, sometimes the thing that stands out about a show is whether it was financially successful or not. And lately they have been disappointing.

I don’t see money being written about too often on the creative blogs I read. We generally can deduce, eventually, whether someone has a day job or is a full time artist, whether they have someone else contributing to their income or not, but oftentimes even these basic points are not apparent. And generally, this is a good thing. We read creative blogs because we want to see someone’s creative adventure, not their worrying about the car repair bill. But, on the other hand, even if someone’s medium doesn’t involve significant materials, tools, or facilities costs, there is always the question of time. Whether we have the time to develop our creative pursuits or not is almost entirely determined by the facts of how our financial needs get met. How much of our individual time is spent in making sure that the housing, clothing, and food needs of ourselves and our loved ones are being met? Not to mention the time spent caring for the more nuanced, non-material needs of children and others who depend on us. These factors do affect our creative lives.

I’m certainly not the first to point this out. The classic essay, A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf is the piece that jumps to my mind most readily. (Someday I will figure out how to get a direct link to specific books at www.alibris.com, but for now I’ll simply point out that Amazon is not the only option. Alibris is a network of independent booksellers.) But I’m no Virgina Woolf, so I’m wary of wading into the topic of money for fear of a devolution into the crass or negative. Money, and conversations about money, can be so many different things. Opportunity and resources? Or limitation and distraction? The breadth of connotation just from a glance at the thesaurus is astonishing:

Almighty Dollar, banknote, bankroll, beans, bill, boodle, bread*, bucks*, cabbage, capital, cash, check, chicamin, chips, coin, coinage, dinero, dough*, ducats, filthy lucre, finances, fund, funds, gold, gravy*, green, green stuff, greenback*, hard cash*, jack, kitty, legal tender, long green, loot*, lucre, mazuma, moolah, pay, payment, pesos*, property, resources, riches, roll, salary, scratch, silver, skin, specie, sugar, treasure, wad*, wage, wampum, wealth, wherewithal*
Source: Roget’s New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1)

From the joy of knowing that new materials or tools will enable one to work on a long dreamed of idea to the frustration of a studio insurance bill that is just a little too big or arrives at just the wrong time, money does affect our creativity, for good and ill. And I’ve often felt very successful and lucky for the time and money that I’ve been able to dedicate to my jewelry. But I’ve also had periods when I was churning out more of the same thing, because I thought it would sell, when an exciting new idea kept getting shoved to the bottom of the priority list, and it felt like I was having to anesthetize myself creatively.

The major financial choices of my adulthood have been very connected to my desire to give my creative pursuits a significant role in my life. And I’m at a point where I’m feeling a need to make some changes, without being certain of what those changes should or will be. That is part of what led to starting a blog; wanting to make a place for me to think more deliberately about what I’m doing, how I’m trying to do it, and maybe get some input from others.

And to be honest, I’m worried that making some sound financial choices will mean giving up some of my dedication to my work. So why tether? Because I want to chain myself down, cement my resolve, formalize my dedication to my artistic life, not accidentally let myself wander away from this pursuit which has given me so much joy, challenge, and self-knowledge over the past thirteen years. While what I do and how I do it may change, I don’t want to thoughtlessly wander away to something else simply because it looks like a greener pasture. So this blog is, in part, the chain that I want to keep myself circling around my work, rather than accidentally wandering away. And, I hope, the chain that I use to attach something valuable to myself, to be certain it doesn’t get lost.

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