Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maybe it's time...

So, I have been thinking, perhaps it is nearly time to do what I've always wanted to do... quit my day job and spend my time making and selling my creative concoctions. It's not that I hate my job by any means, it's just not what I where I am meant to be. It's not quite what I signed up for. I was signing up to work in a close knit environment, in a particular classroom, M-F on a set schedule, where we follow the licensing rules set by the state as to how a daycare should run. So far, nothing has held true. I could handle being over qualified, the low pay, the lack of benefits, constantly being conned into staying late or swapping rooms so others can go do whatever they want, working through the stomach flu, spending my evenings and weekends running all over for bogus "classes" without any compensation, having to get stuff for my toddlers out of pocket, and the general panic due to lack of organization or enforcement of policies. But... I think today marks the next-to-the-last straw... a mandatory, unpaid meeting on a Sunday morning... so much for 48 hours to myself. I think i should move into work permanently. Just live there. I wouldn't have to waste my gas for weekend meetings. Who in their right mind schedules SUNDAY meetings?! I always felt that Sundays are a day for family, quietness and relaxing a little before Monday and the crazy week returns. I sure won't be spending that day as one of those rare days off with my husband.

I work all day (I usually sew on my lunch break), and when I finally get home, I put in another 4-5 hours each weeknight on something related to my Etsy shop. Then, on Saturdays and Sundays, I get up early so I can catch the tiny amount of sunshine I may have so I can take my photographs. Since it is winter, and since my apartment faces the wrong way, I have about a 1-2 hour window of opportunity IF the weather is decent enough. Since I live in Ohio and it is always cruddy in the winter, I may go a week or two without good lighting. After all my photos are taken, THEN I can get to work with whatever I have slated for the day. Since it is the weekend and my only two days off work, I tend to slow down as Monday looms closer. I have to get the laundry done, catch up on the dusting and sweeping, go grocery shopping, etc. Somehow, I even find time to spend with my husband a couple nights a week.

It becomes physically exhausting chasing 12 toddlers around all day at work, coming home and doing the housework, and working on my Etsy shop. I am being brave and signed up for a craft show in May, so I have been working extra hard on getting everything organized and ready to go while creating enough to stock my shelves. I go, go, go all day from the time I get up until the time I go to bed. (Let's just say, I get about 6-7 hours of sleep on an early night.)

I am starting to wonder if it is time to stop dreaming big and start acting on those dreams.
I have a degree to teach K-12 Art, and would very much love to get a real teaching job in a public school. Last year provided me very few opportunities and zero interviews. I am hoping this year will turn up something. There is nothing like being in an art room full of students ready to learn and have fun! The art room is where I get to be who I truly am.
But, there is another idea...
I have always thought it would be really awesome to create and sell my stuff in a little shop of my own. And not just my stuff, but promote stuff other people have made. To have other people to work with and beside that have a creative spirit- people who can all feed off of each other's creative energy and positive vibes. Perhaps we have a little place where we can sit and have coffee while we discuss new ideas, give each other feedback and enjoy each other's company. Perhaps, we get together and collaborate on a big project here or there. Perhaps, we have a little studio space where we can each have our own corner to work in so we don't have to work on our living room floors in the dark by ourselves. Perhaps, we make our living using the talents given to us to make the world a more beautiful or informed place. Perhaps there is a sculptor, a painter, and drawer, a potter, a sewer, a knitter, a weaver, a designer, an illustrator, or a jewelry artist... and we all get along with out debating whether or not our vehicle of expression is art, a fine art, a craft or a type of hobby. Perhaps we all find value in each other's work and expressions without having to justify our work by whether or not it solves some social issue. Perhaps, at the end of the day it is about creating something that didn't exist that morning and having a place to share it... and maybe make a few bucks so that we can create something again tomorrow.

Yes, I have my Etsy shop, and I enjoy it (even though online sales are a little down this month- but I have had quite of few sales on the side so it's not sooo bad), but perhaps it is time to move to a physical place and establish a presence locally. I have been crunching the numbers to see about a semi-permanent spot at a local marketplace for at least the summer. I would need a lot of sales to make it worthwhile enough to leave my day job, and because of the days I would be committed to- there is no room for both. There are a lot of what-ifs. What if it flops? What if I grossly miscalculated? What if I have to go back to my day job? Can I? What if it takes off? What if I can't keep up enough inventory? What if I like it so much I never want to go back to a regular job? What if I can't do it on my own? What if I mess something up? What would happen at the end of the season? So far, my husband's main question is, "Can you confidently say you can make X amount of sales each month to make it pay off?" So far, I can't promise anything like that because there are too many variables, but isn't that the name of the game? "The life of the artist" so to speak? If a friend or two wanted to embark on such a journey with me, I could see it as completely do-able. I like to figure stuff out and create, so perhaps something like this is what I need to keep me happy and on my toes...

The only Sunday morning meetings I will schedule will be between me and my husband over a plate of homemade waffles and a cup of coffee.

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