I guess it was on my mind because I’ve been talking the last few days about the movies of M. Night Shyamalan. (And by the way, I think I am the only person in the whole world who loves all his movies. Yes, even The Village.)

So maybe it was inevitable I woke up this morning thinking of that emotional, finely wrought scene with Cole and his mother in The Sixth Sense, where he tells his mother that he’s talked to Grandma (who’s dead.)

He says, “Grandma says to tell you, the answer to your question is, ‘Every day.’ What did you ask Grandma, mama?”

And his mother answers stumblingly, with a heart full of tears, “I asked her….’Do I make you proud?'”

I’ve been struggling for so long now with doubts and fears about my artwork. Profound forces beyond my control seem to push me this way and that, and conditions under my control hold me back. (Have I really told you how cluttered and stifling my studio is lately?)

Yesterday I drove five hours to spend a day with silver jewelry artist Kerin Rose, who gave me an impromptu class on Precious Metal Clay. I’m exploring ways to transform some of my designs into sterling silver, and Kerin has graciously offered to help me explore to do that. I’ve been hugely excited about the new audience I could find for this work.

We spent the entire day talking, playing, experimenting, kvetching, day-dreaming (will Sundance Catalog ever discover us???), brainstorming (thank you, Kerin, for suggesting I contact this gallery to see if they’d be interested in carrying my work.)

Kerin and her sister Mara are delightful, witty, warm and loving people. It was a wonderful, perfect artist day. I look forward to more! I am also the proud new owner of what they lovingly refer to as this honkin’ big ring (the flying heart one in the center.)

But on the way home, exhaustion and weariness, and more self-doubt crept in.

Is this really the right thing for me to do? Should I segue sideways into silver work, when there are already so many other artists with much more talent and passion for the stuff? More time, more creative energy, more equipment, more money, to make even more disparate work for what feels like an ever-shrinking audience?

Am I off on another wild goose chase for the “thing” that will bring me what I want?

And what the heck do I want right now, anyway?

I feel like I’ve let myself become so distracted with should’s, and could’s and maybe’s, I have no idea what is in my heart anymore. Maybe I’ve let the jewelry pull me too far away from the fiber work. Maybe the fiber work is done. Maybe the writing is pushing both out.

Maybe I’ve listened too hard to the loving people who, wanting to help, have offered many other paths I could take. I know I’ve listened too much to the jealous, destructive people who really don’t have my best interests at heart.

And maybe, as several people have told me lately, maybe I’m just over-thinking all of this. Second-guessing myself to the point of self-destruction, artistically.

I woke up thinking of that line:

“Do I make you proud?”

And I’ve been crying ever since. (Yes, for an hour now!)

I don’t know who I’m speaking to.

But I know I so desperately want the answer to be, “Every day.”

I know now the first thing I need to do, before I pick up any other tasks or commissions or orders, is clean my studio.

A visitor yesterday said, “How can you even work in here??” and I realized I can’t. My perfect, beautiful, cozy studio full of interesting, clever stuff has become a rabbit warren. (No offense, Bunster!)

It’s going to be painful. I need to let go of so many things that represent new ideas, new possibilities. Every item in my attic and studio represents “potential”. But it’s also just weighing me down.

I’m sure the silver line is still a good idea. I do love silver, and I still get excited about the many ways it could enrich and expand my designs. But I know there is something else that has to happen before I pick up even one new thing.

I don’t know whether this is fear speaking today, or whether it’s simply what a dear friend used to call a “come to Jesus” moment, when the final reckoning begins. But I know it’s time to clear the decks, if only to make room for the answer to my prayers.

And to end this essay today, I’m also wondering if perhaps the “sixth sense” in the movie is not the ability to see ghosts, but the ability to love.

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

8 thoughts on “DO I MAKE YOU PROUD?”

  1. Welcome back by the way!

    Congrats on taking the plunge into Precious Metal Clay. Have you heard that they’re coming out with bronze metal clay this summer? Check out and the Conference site for more hints and details. The conference is in July in Indiana.

    Lots of info. on line on PMC at, blogs, free videos, etc.

    So, did you like it?



  2. Well Luann, you make ME proud, for one! 🙂

    If you have the storage space, maybe you can just box up some of the stuff and store it for a while (like a year). Then it might be easier to get rid of. Or if you find yourself diving into those boxes during that year, then you know not to get rid of them after all.

    Good luck!



  3. I DID like the PMC, Elaine, but don’t want it to take me on a giant zig right now! It’s going to be a great way to experiment with silver versions of my work without going into major casting mode. I’m looking forward to playing with that aspect.

    Barbara, thank you for your sweet comment. :^)
    And you’ve given me a great idea. The first round of clearing out should be in the attic, where I’ve already stashed all those prior “great ideas” that I never followed up on. Yay! A game plan! Thanks!!!


  4. Wow—I could have written your words!
    Self-doubt—wondering–and messes of kept tidbits!
    I am new to the blog world, and need to read up on your past posts. Helpful info!
    Your art is WONDERful! Believe in your creativity! No reason to doubt there.
    I’m a dabbler…little of this, bits of that. Sewing being my main focus for years, now photography. I started to blog to get some words out!
    But—not really sure why.
    Bit of a shy hermit…hugely insecure. But need to find my ‘corner of the sky’. Best wishes as you tackle those piles….they do weigh you down! (Read my ‘Clearin’ a Path” post if you’d like.)
    Glad i found you–i’ll be checking back in!


  5. Hi Luann
    I’ve just come across your blog via a recommendation from the Crafted Webmaster.
    I sooo empathise! I think anyone involved in creating goes through what you’re describing. We’re not doing a job where at the end of the working day the boss says – yep! you’ve ticked all the boxes – here’s your pay – and well done!
    When ideas/commissions/sales seem to have dried up and I’m running on a fast dwindling purse and sense of self-belief – I feel like chucking it all in – for 30 seconds until I really think what life without painting/making etc would be like!!
    We need to go through times of questioning/uncertainty about our work otherwise we’d end up in a rut. It feels horrible while it lasts but I now think of it as labour pains! ‘Its always darkest before the dawn’.
    And if you feel like that with the wonderful work you produce and your fantastic writing – then I feel hugely encouraged.
    Thanks for sharing
    PS I even loved The Village too!


  6. I so relate to what you wrote about the fear of the PMC being a big ZIG…and the messy studio that has the ability to cripple.

    I recently went through a similar experience- so I started cleaning my studio and havn’t stopped! I also felt pulled every which way…and that resulted in getting no where… I made the decision to focus in on 2 areas in my art- mixed media collage and watercolor painting…and it is working. They work together, as each have such long drying times, I can go back and forth (I set up 2 different areas). I made the hard decision to pack up my fabric/metal/and anything non-watercolor and collage…I am also selling some items on eBay and giving away items at Freecycle…and boy do I feel better! You will too…I think it’s all part of our process- it’s just painful going through it.


  7. Hey there Luann,

    It’s been awhile since I have sent a comment. One suggestion.

    Read the New Earth by Eckert Tolle. Had to take my time with the book but found it extremely helpful. It’s all about being in the moment. I love the last chapter touching on Acceptance, Enjoyment and Enthusiasm.

    Take care



  8. Welcome, Nina, and thank you for your great comments on my artwork. You can come back any-y-time! :^)

    Rosie, what you say is so true. I just ran into someone today who started out the same time as me, with jewelry–and she’s quit already because it got too hard. The whole time she was moaning about not making her work, I was thinking, “I’m soooooo glad I didn’t give up when it got hard….”

    Elizabeth, you are so right about the power of focus. And thanks for sharing your own experiences. Good to know someone has made it through to the other side of the piles!

    Deborah, welcome back! I will definitely check out that book. You are the second person to recommend it to me, so I better listen. :^D


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