How the Pandemic Is Affecting Our Members
Some members of the Anderson Artists Guild shared reflections on how the coronavirus pandemic lockdown is affecting them:
Just prior to isolation, I purchased a Babylock Lyric sewing machine and Babylock Tierra III mid arm quilting machine. I am teaching myself how to quilt by watching YouTube videos, reading blogs, and making new friends through Facebook quilting pages. I find that quilters are the most kind and helpful people. It’s nice to have a community who have the same interests and goals to create beautiful works of art in this medium. Once I master making traditional quilts, I will attempt thread painting and painting on material to create art quilts. I am really looking forward to working in this new (to me) medium and expressing my creativity. There is always something new to learn and try which is not only interesting but challenging. I have not been bored for a moment. I hope everyone is keeping safe and staying creative.
I am steadily staying busy surprisingly. My mail orders have increased by about 40-50 percent, both for my equestrian jewelry and shadow boxes. I believe with people being home more, not able to go to stores, they are spending more time online. Best wishes to everyone.
I'll be honest—I hoped for things to slow down for me. But my orders haven’t slowed down. People seem to need art and crave the connection it brings in this time. When my regular printing lab closed down, I was ready with an alternate (though more expensive) option. I removed the cards from my online shop that I can no longer fulfill and shifted some of my items to different fulfillment partners that are still open. I’m grateful for the past year that I spent researching printing and vendor options. That's one of the amazing things about small businesses: we are nimble and resourceful, and we'll make things work. If people still want my art, I’m going to figure out how to get it to them even if it means taking a loss. For this month, for printed products, it has meant a profit loss for me. But that’s okay; I'm lucky enough to be in a position where a loss isn’t going to force me to shut things down.
I finally found the confidence to raise my prices on the custom family crests that I make and those haven’t slowed down either. I think I can probably will go even higher. I’ve taken a lot of projects on and am working hard to only take the projects that I really connect with, can charge over $1000 for, or can get increased exposure for.
People are craving something authentic and real and they have a lot of time to really deeply consider their family. For the type of art that I make, people are really connecting with it in times of crisis so I am actually seeing increased demand. The pieces are like an illustrated meditation. I’m turning down projects.
I’m working hard on my mindset. I’m not motivated at all and am having difficulty staying focused and delivering on the items that I’ve promised. I feel like the passion is gone from my work and doing simple tasks is harder. I’ve stopped exercising. I drink almost every night. I follow rabbit trails and lose track of time. I’m very motivated still at my new job doing graphic design at the museum, but all that focus evaporates when I get home. I’m very grateful to be where I am and I know I need to fill the promises that I’ve made, but all this seems so unimportant when I’m afraid to go to the grocery store or pump my gas. I’m thankful for my little virtual community around me.
Well, to start with, I hesitated entering the Anderson Arts Center show. I had finished two pieces specifically for the show and wanted them to be seen. I don't think that it will ever be open to the public, so I guess I will hold them for some other time. I was awarded the Ruth Hopkins Award for Watercolor. This to me was a great honor as I respected her works very much.
My travels have been put on hold for now so I won't be doing any new adventures for travel journals. That being said, I went back through my inventory of pictures and put together a journal for a short trip my wife and I took to Chattanooga, Tennessee. After posting it to my Blog-spot I put the link on Facebook for people to view it and my other trips as we are all house bound. I have seen that several people have taken me up on my offer. The link is The Traveling Man.
Week one was like a free ticket to spend in my studio. Crossing off all appointments in my day book opened up time I hadn’t planned on having. Usually a painter, I decided just to play with some clay—seemed less of a commitment. I got lost in it, making several pieces, and looked forward to more.
This week is a little less of a surprise of time. Already, the days are assigned to home chores and other living responsibilities. Still haven’t gotten back to work on the canvas. My mind is a little out of focus on creativity and more in tune with the realization of what this virus may mean. A lack of focus is bad for good art.
I feel like I’m getting closer to finding my voice. I think this is because I’m giving the artwork more time but also because I’m approaching it with a greater intensity as I try to block out all the anxieties swirling around in my head. So it’s nice to feel progress and satisfaction in this one area of my life as everything else spins out of control.
Our world has changed so much in the last few weeks. With each passing day my unease increases and the uncertainty weighs me down. On the surface it seems like having more time at home and in my studio is a great thing. Normally, it would be.
My studio is where I put all aside and lose myself in the creative process. As most of you know, I paint from a place of joy, mystery and awe of our universe and our beautiful Mother Earth. Now, I am finding it harder to bring myself into that place of joy. Yesterday I couldn't even manage an hour in my studio. This will pass. The enthusiasm will return.
We have been given an opportunity to slow down and reflect. There is so much to be thankful for. In the midst of frightening news, we also see stories of incredible kindness and generosity. Families are posting photos of hikes and board games with their kids. People are commenting about finally having the time to read a novel or complete a project they've put aside for months.
When my Jazzercise classes had to be cancelled, they started a Facebook group where we could exchange fitness ideas and encourage each other to keep up an exercise program. We even have a friendly competition going with a game card where we check off fitness tasks as we complete them. We post funny, inspiring photos and stories of how we are adapting to our new workout routines.
All these things and more help us build meaningful connections with our families and our community. We can find joy in troubled times.
I found myself suddenly thrust into the role of full-time homeschool teacher and entertainer of four kids! Though the older two are nearly independent, the younger two need my constant presence. During this time away from physically creating, I've done a lot of thinking about the purpose of my art and am feeling that I want to take the theme of my work in a more message-driven, spiritual direction. Stepping away has been good and clarifying, even if it hasn't been profitable!
I’ve spent a LOT of time disinfecting everything in my house. And walking the dogs…
I have been working in my home studio, sewing facemasks and taking weekly Zoom yoga lessons with my sister-in-law in New Jersey.
Almost to Lebanon Rd. was the piece that was accepted to “Southworks” National Juried Exhibition in Watkinsville, Georgia, at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation. They have switched the show to an online gallery at ocaf.com from April 17-May 29. Each artist that is in the gallery show will have a link to their website. My website is collageandpaint.com.
I logged into a “hangouts” collage-making workshop with a facilitator in Barcelona that I found on Instagram. It was tons of fun!
I participated in an Artists’ U Grant Writing Workshop on Zoom.
April came and with it the realization that this isolation was going to go on for a long time further.
And walking the dogs and working in the yard…
I will be working for a few weeks in another Artists’ U Workshop on Zoom entitled “Shift.” This is a free workshop sponsored by the SC Arts Commission and is targeted for SC artists working together in this time of crisis. The website is http://www.artistsu.org/south-carolina if you are interested in joining the conversations.
I’m sure I’ll continue walking the dogs and working in the yard. My goal is to create art, not get sick and keep calm and carry on.
Stay well everyone! We will be together soon!
I've been a total slug, having just recently retired Feb. 28th. I lost my favorite jean jacket in the airport when we went to Reno last August for a family wedding. My stepson bought me a replacement but I was so PO'd at myself for losing the original that I refused to touch it until this past week. I created a new and different Mother of Dragons jacket. Also in that theme, I'm painting new blinds with different dragons for my bedroom windows.