Why? How often do you ask that? Next question: Why does it matter?
Since October of 2016, it has been something I have talked about and especially thought about. This past week I took "Why" and started doing something with it.
Last October we had our yearly Church women's "Bible study weekend" and the Priest from the Episcopal Church in Toccoa GA lead us in a program of asking ourselves "Why?". Such as: "like why we do something". Is it because it is expected of us, or because we really wanted to do it. At the end of the weekend, she asks one last question of each of us. "Think of a time in your life that was perfect, and why would you want to go back to that time?"
When it came to my turn to talk I said I would like to go back to the years between 55 and 60. The ladies died laughing as most of them were in that time frame of their lives and none of them thought it was the greatest time of their lives.
When I was 54 Charles and I moved from Florida to the mountains of Georgia. Charles had built us a huge studio on our property. Half was mine for my pottery and tile painting and the other half was for his woodworking hobby. I still had quite a lot of tile business still being shipped to Florida and Georgia, but most days I was free to create whatever I wanted to in clay. I joined the Sautee Nachoocee Community Center which had a fledgling little art gallery. The first year I served on the board and by the second year I was chairman of the art committee and the art center was really growing and able to hire a curator. During that time I was daily in my studio creating large sculptures. At some point, I was asked to be the featured artist at the gallery. I had a number of large sculptures all in the $300.00 range. One was $325. My hubby says, "Jaymi, it will not sell anyway so why not change the 3 to an 8. So that is what I did. The next day before the grand opening party I went in and there was a sold sign on the piece.
Over the next couple of years, I had two ladies who purchased all of the sculptures I produced. It was a great time when I let my hands be free to create whatever they wanted. Both ladies died within a couple of years of each other, but by then I had become the director of the non-profit Georgia Heritage Center for the Arts, and I no longer had time to be in my studio.
That was 1997, and In 2014 I closed The Georgia Heritage Center for the Arts Gallery and started playing in the clay again. This time I started selling my art on Etsy as Eastburn Originals. I started making more commercial pieces such as mugs and dishes.
Now it is 2017 and the business continues to be good, but after the women's Bible Study weekend, I began to ask "Why?".
Questioning myself brought back a memory from when my son was around eight and he was not happy so we decided to put him with a counselor. Only that means Charles and I also had to be counseled. One day the physiologist ask Charles what is the one thing you dislike about Jaymi. His answer was she starts things but never finishes. The physiologist's answer changed my life. He said, "Jaymi is an entrepreneur, all great business people and millionaires are entrepreneurs who start something then either sell the business or surround themselves with people to do the finishing as they move one to create something new."
No, I never became a millionaire businessperson, but I no longer feel bad about myself when I choose to turn a corner and go in another direction.
February 2017 I attended a clay conference
and one of the artists who was demonstrating talked about his walk through his clay life and how he went from commercial to creative and how it changed his life. I came home and thought "OK, twice I have been hit square in the head with "Why". Why are you doing what you are doing creating functional pieces of art?
So, I'm taking a new path and I am going back to creating not what will sell but whatever my hands decide to create. Over the last two weeks I have been in the studio again creating all new pieces and in May watch this space, I will be introducing a whole new line of art.
I'm only 79 so who knows how many new paths I have yet to adventure down.
These are just two of the sculptures I did. The first one was when Tiger Woods first hit the golf world and the press was like vultures hanging over his head. The second one was a sculpture of the womb symbolizing the birth of Christ. I rarely took photos of my work because when I finished one I was already over it and working on the next one. Two I wish now that I had photos of is the one I called "Barnyard Ballet" (you can imagine what the animals were wearing) and the second one was a rock mountain. On one side climbers were scaling the mountain and on the other side, there was a tram and people were riding to the top. I called it the Will to succeed. Different people do it different ways.