Putting It On the Back Burner: No. 25 of 40 Forts
If you can’t guess from the all-green fort, I made this one on St. Patrick’s Day. I once again dove into my collection of stamps and found some inspiration. The small Italian woman looking down as she is weaving on a loom reminded me of a bit of advice I received.
One night I was at the studio for a First Fridays opening and Lynn, my sculptural book teacher, popped in. She was visiting the gallery next door and was surprised to find me with Lucy in tow. I lamented over the lack of work I was able to produce. She has two grown daughters and frequently cheered me on in class during my pregnancy. She didn’t seem to mind that I pounded bags of popcorn and clementines each week during class. She mainly just encouraged me to keep working despite how I was feeling. “Stay active.” I tried.
So on that summer night, she suggested that I work on technique. You can’t really take on anything big with a baby by your side or on the floor or pulling everything off the shelf or tugging for you to pick them up. But you can work on small variations of your craft. I tucked that idea away until this project when I spent forty days seeing what I could do with forty pages of recycled magazines and the same accordion fold.
Otherwise, I have shifted my expectations. Maybe it is best to say that I have lowered my expectations in certain areas of my life. On the flip side, I have really stepped up to the plate in other areas. It is not to say that one is more important than the other. But I finally heeded the advice I found jumping off the page of me three different times in as many days.
You can have it all. Just not all at the same time.
Keeping this advice to heart, I came to this little message for this fort.
Shifting her expectations made room for new growth.
Tucked behind the vellum message stands a tall, strong woman holding a bundle of wheat. This image reminded me of a breadwinner. It also reminded me of someone who is really putting themselves out there and selling their goods. In January, I posted some items on Etsy. But anyone who has sold their own goods knows that promoting yourself can be more work than that which you are creating. So I came to terms with the fact that I am saving my productive time to be more creative than promotional. Instead of looking out, I am looking down at my creation in my lap.
This first year of motherhood has been an interesting period for me. I have found that it is an extremely creative period. Plus it is one where your ability to edit and focus is heightened. You only have so much energy left over, so you have to love what you are doing. Otherwise, it can wait.
This paper sculpture, roughly the size of a coffee cup, is one of forty forts I created during Lent 2010 as a creative exercise and spiritual exploration.