Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Creative Life in the Heart of NYC

When people ask where I do my work, they can’t believe what I tell them. My “work space” is just a small desk in the corner of my bedroom next to a window with southern exposure that looks toward downtown. I live in the Gramercy Park section of Manhattan. It’s a lovely area and great location for getting to any part of the island. But our apartment is not large and I guess you just get used to what you have to work with…

In the mornings, after my youngest daughter heads off to school and my husband leaves for work – my day begins and I get in gear. I cover the bed with a sheet (to prevent errant beads from making a permanent home for themselves on my husband’s side of the bed :). Then I set out the trays of beads that have spent the night on my desk chair! If it’s a sunny day – what a joy, if not the Ott light comes out and all is well.

Flash back to early May. Daughter goes to school. Husband leaves for work. I’m left staring at a mountain of paper plates and plastic bags filled with beads, silver, and findings. Not a good scenario. After months of creative frenzy this is the aftermath and it is not pretty. What to do? Avoid it of course. Lots of good excuses. So many other things to do…

Looking at the mess was making me very anxious, depressed and unable to focus on making something new. But after a week or so of feeling this way, I decided to undertake the very painstaking, dirty (my desk is next to a window, remember? – NYC - soot!), and time consuming job of going through every paper plate, plastic bag, tray, box, desk drawer, and shelf.

I separated every bead, tiny piece of silver, you name it and put them into newly purchased plastic containers with neat little compartments. It became a meditation unto itself. I just let all my thoughts of inadequacy and doom float away and did my penance. Max, our year old cat was my daily companion. He’s a bead cat. He sits and guards the trays of beads while I work!

Well, about 2 weeks later, (told you it took a long time!) everything had a place; the paper plates and plastic bags were on their way to be recycled, and I was set free! I felt so much lighter. I had energy. I wanted to make something new! And that I did.

Now every morning when it’s just me, Max the cat, and my beads, I sit at my desk and let the energy flow through me. My beautiful Pachakuti Mesa sits on the top shelf of the window bookcase, bringing in additional creative energy. Now…if I can just keep it this way!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

1000 Markets – From Cyber Community to Real Life Friendship

One of the benefits of being a part of 1000markets has been getting to know all the amazing folks who inhabit this venue for artisan merchants. I opened a shop on another site about 4 months before I discovered 1000markets. I haven’t made any real connections with other shop owners even though I joined several groups. I felt isolated in my creative life.

Then I discovered 1000markets. I was blown away by the elegance of the site, the concept of markets, ease of setting up shop, and most of all the level of professionalism, workmanship, and artistic expression. I literally froze in my seat staring at the computer screen – shop after shop filled with the most amazing work. Stunned at the explosion of creativity before my eyes, I thought to myself – I have finally found a place where I am surrounded by my peers. By people whose work I respect and admire and who fill me with a sense of wonder and limitless light. People whose work and spirit inspire me. This grand virtual experiment has attracted such kindred souls!

In the last 5 months, I’ve spent many many hours on the phone with Pam Tarpy (thetatteredgypsy) working on Passport Market while getting to know each other. I feel blessed to have connected with her. We have so much in common. I also enjoy cyber relationships with my other “spiritual sisters”(and brothers!) - Manny, Diane Ferguson, PattyMara, and the members of Passport, EarthBorn, Bohemia Esprit, MindBodySpirit, Peace&Love, Old Town, and Jewelry Artisans' Marketplace.

So…you may be wondering what does all this have to do with real life. Well…when I read PattyMara’s (PattyMara’sSacredHeartCafe) post that she was in NYC for her daughter’s wedding I knew I couldn’t pass up the chance to meet her in person. We made plans to meet in the East Village for lunch and upon meeting, there was an instant connection – we could not stop talking! It was as if we’d always known each other. We went to a unique teahouse, Podunk, and shared sacred space and food and the most soul satisfying tea. The hours flew by. And all of this would have never happened if it were not for 1000markets. A place to sell my jewelry and find amazing friends! Who would have imagined!

My advice to those of you who are new to 1000markets or who just haven’t connected with anyone yet is to get involved. Visit shops and leave a note. Read the community and market forums and post a comment. Be active and you will be rewarded because this is not just another artisan venue – it’s a community. A community that reaches beyond cyberspace!