Sometimes, I do myself in; there's just no two ways about it. I create work where there doesn't need to be work.
It's all in the name of being creative, and in some ways, people's expectations. For the last several years, I've participated in Jennifer Belthoff's Love Notes. I do it because I love snail mail, and because I love creating snail mail. I love sending it, and I love receiving it.
In Love Notes, we send 3 postcards over the course of 3 weeks to a partner. Each week comes with a prompt, and for 3 weeks, my mailbox and I smile in delight.
Here's where I make work for myself: I decided my post cards needed to be hand made. No store bought post cards for me, no sir. It began easily enough, 3 postcards, tiny little 4" X 6" works of art. Sometimes, I opted to create note cards, not post cards, but still, easy enough.
And, along the way, it snow balled. Not only did I send my little works of art off to the current partner, but I sent them to past partners as well, as well as some newly made online friends. And, then to my sister, Denise. And then...
Well, I'm up to 20 pieces of art each week. Yikes!
Really, I love it...well, when I'm home to create, I do. This past week found me in Vermont for 6 days. I came home on Tuesday, did my laundry on Wednesday, and packed yesterday and today for a 4 day art retreat.
The stress levels began to climb, climb some more, and well, I may have been on top of Hogback Mountain with my stress. My art room looks like Hurricane Matthew has come and gone, plus which, I needed to be packing the supplies I'd be using.
Even if I worked non stop for this last day and a half, 20 handmade post cards would not be happening.
My pride / ego got a bit bruised; no one would be marveling on line at my creations.
Yet, here's the kicker. I didn't need to be creating 20 pieces of art; that's not what Love Notes is about. It's about connecting with people; it's about bringing happiness to someone once a week for three weeks. It is NOT about my art or my ego.
I've packed my ego away for the time being; 20 beautiful Vermont post cards are going out into the world. 20 gorgeous images of Vermont in the fall, with those wonderful bright reds, oranges, and yellows. 20 post cards with messages written to bring delight.
The best part? I'm okay with this letting go of stress I've put on myself. I'm okay with realizing I can't do this all the time.
There will be post cards going out next week, as time is limited there as well. Probably, I'll do something handmade the last week; I do love the creating and the joy my tiny creations bring.
But, if not, that's okay as well because like I said, it's not about me. It's not about my art.
It's about connecting, and Lord knows, that's something we need in our crazy world.