Etsy Lessons ( short essays on making a creative life )
"The Name Game"
I have wanted, for some time now, to begin to write about my experiences as they pertain to making a living as a "maker-of-things". I suppose that very phrase may be as good a place to start as any.
This question is for the creative soul. . . What do you call yourself?
I prefer to describe myself as a maker of things as opposed to an artist. The reason has nothing to do with my thoughts about the word itself being too general, which I DO think by the way. Saying one is an artist narrows the field about as much as saying physician, custodian, counselor, teacher, performer, laborer etc. Nothing wrong with it really. . . but beneath the surface it usually seems to belie a lack of certainty and confidence while still attempting to stake claim to a desire to be creative.
For me, the realization came that calling myself an artist allowed me to stay stagnant and not move forward with my desire to live a creative life. I floated in apathy and dead space. Though I never stopped creating.
I realized that the term artist described nothing about my passion or my creative soul and offered me no motivation to get moving. At the same time, I had come to think of some of my favorite people around me as artists though they had no traditionally creative outlets.
They were artists at living. They created a life that suited them in every way.
That appealed to me greatly
So, a maker of things? Yes, that, although as general a term at first glance, came to seem far more true to nature. At least, to my nature and to the life I wanted to live.
I make a living by making things. Simple and true enough.
What is most important to me is to be working with my hands and my mind in unison. Exploring many avenues and always in search of new roads to explore and ideas. All with the intent to tell my stories and offer my customers and casual observers the opportunity to be a part of them.
I didn't want to settle on one form of expression. If I was to be true to my creative origin, I could not do that. Though it seems that is what an "artist" is supposed to do.
I make photographs
I make miniatures
I make entire worlds in forms and words
I make music
I make poems
I make things
And above all else, I play
I felt that, to be successful, I needed to embrace every fiber of the vivid and unending imagination of my childhood. . . or more precisely. . . to bring it all forward into my "adult life" and allow it to take over now as it did then.
With that comes the pleasure and the pitfalls and the constant fight against the programming I believe we all receive about what life and adulthood are "supposed" to be and look like.
Also, it is imperative to say that nothing went as planned during this transition period of my life. I had to think on my feet and constantly rework the original plan, sometimes daily.
I was able to change my life completely in a little over two years. And while I feel that I am well on my way, the path is just beginning in many ways too.
The excitement as raw as it was in my youth.
So, yes, a maker of things indeed.
Not just art
Not just craft
But of a life itself.
nicolas hall 2012