I’ve been cleaning my studio HARD the last few days. That means I’m not wandering around trying to put away a few things or trying to clear a pile. I’m actually hauling boxes of stuff upstairs to sort out later. A film crew is coming in a few days, and they need to actually get INTO the studio to film. More essays on booth design are bouncing in my head, but I have to say firmly, “Not now–WAIT!!”
I always gripe about cleaning the studio. But actually, I thrive on this. “Company’s coming!” is the best fuel for cleaning. Years ago, my husband actually said, “We should invite people over to dinner regularly so we clean the house!” He had discovered my secret.
This panic inspired me to buy a new bookcase for storage, which encouraged me to clear a space for it, which made me realize it was time to take down the display tables from last year’s open studio event. (Yes, it looked so good I left them up for ten months.)
I’m now able to throw away piles of paper that “needed my attention”, but actually just needed to sit for six months until I realized I don’t really need them at all. Someday I’ll be able to determine that in a few minutes or days, and then I will have a clean studio all the time.
I’ve actually gotten my booth back upstairs to the barn attic. For the first time in months, there is actually floor space in my studio. Granted, not much–but more than paths. I’ll take it.
But even the thrill of seeing the floor for the first time in ages, and finding that lost check, and making a home for the new box of vintage buttons I bought, wears thin. This is comfort mode for me, not creative mode.
Which is why the link to this delightful video, sent to me by a friend this morning, was so welcome.
Animals at Play
Why is this link such a gift to me today?
Because this moment of sheer magic–a polar bear playing with a sled dog–lifted my spirit out of the mundane. And back into that place of power where I know I am an artist.
What I often forget, in the hustle and bustle of getting my art out into the world, is that a moment like this is what art is all about.
It is that palpable flight of the heart to another, higher place. It is pure joy. It’s as powerful as any other ecstatic moment. For a moment, we truly feel the world is a bigger, more wonderful place than we could ever imagine. We feel our true place in it, even as our heart rises above it for just that moment.
And to feel that flight, if only for a moment, is a gift.
At my very best, that is how I feel when I am making my little bears and horses and birds. And at my very best, that is where I am when I talk about my art.
And when my work is at its very best, it makes that connection, and provides that moment of flight for someone else.
At the fair this year, I was telling a woman how I came to be an artist–the exact thoughts that went through my head that changed my life forever. She listened carefully, then said slowly, “When you said that, just now, a thrill went through my entire body and down my feet.”
My art starts with me, but once it’s in the world, it goes somewhere else. What she felt was that connection I hope for when it does.
It brings to mind a movie that I never cared for very much, but the title always broke my heart: “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”. That’s what it feels like.
I wish you such a moment of flight, of unbearable lightness, to set you on your course today.
Remember what you’re here for.