Being An Artist

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I think I’ve probably been an artist all my my life, but didn’t truly allow myself to claim that particular title until my late 20’s.  I know many people define an artist as a painter, but for me an artist is anyone skilled at any type of artistic expression, be it painting, sculpting, working in metal, glass, or any other material to create a work of art.  And I don’t believe it’s got anything to do with whether or not you sell your work or are “famous”.  When I was younger I didn’t think I was talented enough or sold enough of my sculptures and other creations to call myself an artist.  But as my skill developed and I got deeper into the world of creativity (gotta love the internet for finding like minded people!) I realized my work was just as good, if not better than others who called themselves artists.  Now, at almost 40 years old (good grief, how did THAT happen?!) I’m quite confident in my skill and when asked what I do I’m happy to tell people that I’m an artist, specifically a sculptor in polymer clay.  I like the term artist because it covers the multitude of things I do including sculpting, making jewelry, making mixed media pieces, and anything I may venture into in the future.

One thing that makes an artist what they are (IMO at least) is the passion that goes into their work.  This has become even more apparent to me as I watched my boyfriend sculpting in metal.  The light in his eyes, the excitement as he talked about his latest piece, the absolute joy in not only the completion of the project, but in the entire process- that came through so clearly.  He and I are very close and I easily pick up on his feelings (as he does with me), and his excitement just about flowed through me.  For about a month we both created new work like crazy.  And that work (although quite different) was so inspired.  See, I’ve always been a bit of a loner, and never had the opportunity to work with anyone creatively.  Sure, I shared my work online and participated in a variety of crafty groups, but that’s not the same as living with another artist and getting their input on your work as you’re creating it.  And I did the same for Sal, throwing around ideas for colors, composition, and finish options.  Of course there were times when we didn’t agree, but that was OK too.  I’ve found that having that different perspective can really add a lot to my work and help me look at things in a different way.  Just last night we were talking about the wedding cake topper I’ve been working on (I’ll post more about that later).  I had been feeling something wasn’t quite right, but couldn’t put my finger on it.  Sal looked at it and thought very carefully then said “What if the couple were turned towards each other, maybe holding hands?”  That was it!  That was exactly what I needed to do to make this custom order 10 times more special and unique.  Will it take a little extra work and require a bit more skill on my part?  Well, yes, but when I make a custom creation like this I want it to be as absolutely awesome as I can possibly make it.  It’s part of the artist in me- I can’t do things halfway.  And Sal’s the same way, which is one reason we understand each other so well.

Sometimes being an artist can be lonely, but if you can find others who can relate to you and your passions it’s truly magical.  I’ve developed some wonderful friends online through artistic channels and since moving to Arizona have met quite a few interesting artists in person.  And when those creative juices get flowing, especially if you got other creative people around you, there’s just no telling what amazing things you can end up creating!

I don’t make things for the money, I make things because I have to.  I MUST create, whether my work sells or not.  The fact that people are actually willing to pay money for my creations is just so wonderful (and it keeps my house from becoming completely filled with sculptures- LOL).  And knowing that my creations make people happy is like a gift for me, especially when I’m doing custom orders, making something just for them.  If you’d like to check out my work you can view hundreds of items at my online shop, CreativeCritters .  If you’re interested in having me create something just for you email me at macreativecritters@gmail.com.

Thanks for spending a bit of time with me ;)

~Michelle of CreativeCritters
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