Wednesday, October 29, 2008

2 years 22 issues and what I learned.

I’ve been with Pacific NorthWest Sculptors since the first meeting at the Queen of Sheba restarant. It has grown beyond any of our original expectations. Initally a way to meet other sculptors, PNWS is now an organization that offers much more: opportunities for professional development, different venues for showing our work, chances to learn new techniques and materials.

It’s still a great way to meet other sculptors.

I took on the newsletter thinking I could help without having to attend meetings. Little did I know that it would force me to meet so many people and learn skills other than sculpture. When I began, I asked a writer for help. Her words of advice were, “It’s good to have a strong opinion. It’s called a voice.” “Edit ruthlessly. Cut out anything extraneous, you just cannot change the meaning of what a person is saying.” “ Don’t clutter things up with too many different ideas. For the reader, simple is easier to understand and remember.” I’ve found that advice works as well for sculpting as it does for writing.

Under the end of the month deadline and last minute additions, something I wrote and liked would be deleted to make more space. Lessons: Don’t get too attached to your work. Leave space for last minute revisions. My working motto for getting the newsletter out each month became: Done is better than perfect. I’d send out one month’s issue and begin immediately on the next month so that working was more flow than dead lifting an entire month in one day...

Being editor gave me permission to ask questions,
to be curious about other folks art, how they make it and more importantly why they make it.
Seeing is important to learning about art.
So is listening.
Sculptors are storytellers, even when our work is abstract. Hearing Rick Gregg talk about coaxing steel into a sweet bend, listening to what the material is telling him or Sarah Swink speak about her dreamlike quirky ceramic figures gives a visceral appreciation for their work.

The newsletter is a good place to practice telling the story of your art, sharing the excitement of beginning or finishing a piece. The writing and photos doesn’t have to be perfect. Fear of it not being perfect not only stops us from creating art, it also stops us from promoting and selling our work. Lesson: Put it out there! (I had a captive audience, of 650 Garden Writers of America looking at my botanical sculpture for 90 minutes at their 2008 Awards Banquet because I wasn’t afraid to ask if there was any venue for garden inspired sculpture at the conference.)

Finding Voltaire’s quote: “ I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” allowed me to have my own aesthetic opinions and wholeheartedly celebrate our collective creativity. PNWS is not about any one kind of aesthetic or medium. We all are here trying our best in an art form that takes a lifetime to learn.

Thank you to each artist who shared their work and process in Artist Profiles. Thank you to everyone who helped make the editor’s job easier by including all the pertinent information with their art images. It’s well worth the time to think your goal through and supply all the information you want other’s to know about your sculpture or show. That makes it much more likely you’ll be published than if you leave it to someone else to dig up the information.

I’ve enjoyed these last two years and everything I’ve learned. It’s time to put that time and energy back into my own sculpture, which now includes writing about it here on Shadows on Stone.

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