Buying, Writing, Doing: The Triad of my Present Dilemma

It’s become increasingly apparent to me that it is much easier to purchase art supplies than it is to apply them in creative ways.  It doesn’t seem that this in any way should really be a problem for me:  I did work my way through an AA program in Art (I couldn’t justify it the first time around with my BA, nor at the Master’s level…at least, currently), so I know that there is some part of me that is creative.  I also know that I’m skilled, though as I said before, when I don’t exercise those skills, they’re hidden within me.

Unless I practice, my skill and creativity won’t have the chance to show themselves, or to develop beyond the point they are at, now.  Maybe the problem I’m facing (starting out with incipient projects) is the one faced by writers of all types (which I’m well familiar with, as my BA actually was in Creative Writing):  fear of the blank page.  Or white paper.  Basically, it’s the same thing.

What I can latch onto right now are the exercises which build increasing familiarity with my media. Right now, I am very, very drawn to water-based media (inks, acrylic inks, acrylic paints, watercolors, water-based block printing).  I have a feeling that this is majorly because I don’t like to deal with toxins when they’re unnecessary, and cleaning out watercolor brushes isn’t a big deal to me, at present.

Ah — and, I used to work more in dry media (pencils, pens, colored pencils, most apparently) — until I got tired of the tiny point of contact with the paper (give me brushes) and the graininess of most of my attempts.  (Keep in mind here that my Prismacolors were purchased well before the year 2000, so I don’t have the advantage of the smoother laydown of the new formulations, in that brand.)  In contrast, inks and paints are much more…captivating for me:  they lay down solid, (usually) unbroken, and (usually) more vivid color.

Color is something that I at one time began to organically grow into (toward the end of my stay in Community College) — and then I restarted the Library & Information Science program.  At that point, my energy focused on the goal of gaining an MLIS in order to be able to be a Librarian, so that I could have a steady income stream, hopefully benefits (though I have heard that these are increasingly being cut in Librarianship proper) and work within one of my areas of interest, while also performing a social good.  In my spare time, and with the spare resources I would gain from being an Information professional (or so I’ve heard), I have planned to work on my Art, thus bolstering my psychological resilience.

Right now…it’s hard for me to formulate or say what my point is, within LIS.  It’s where I am now, and it’s what I know, but that doesn’t really count for much of anything when I realize that I’m already at the top of my pay scale and will have to change positions soon if I want to become more efficient at earning money.

What I want to be doing right now, is helping to construct Web pages.  It’s fairly evident, even just through my experience with this blog and my drive to personalize and edit its structure.  It fits in with my other two degrees in the aspect of being production-based, but not entirely so much in the fact that it’s technical.  I presently do not have the ability to customize pages and sites.  If I keep on in the LIS program, I may eventually gain the skills, however:  and a new perspective on the experience of designing for someone else.

I have a feeling, though, that this will put me about even with the youth coming out of high school in this era — technically speaking.  Technology flows on, and keeping current with it is one of the things to which I’ve resigned myself.  Design, however, is a specialty, and requires skills and knowledge that not everyone has.  And, as has become increasingly apparent, it’s not about me or my expression (as versus Art, which seems to require drilling deeply into myself to draw out something that only I can do).

Right now I’m in a class on User Experience, which is an aspect of Design — and it’s very apparent that Design encompasses much more than the utilization of art skills.  Designing is not the same thing as producing Art, unless the person you’re designing for is you.

And writing for yourself is not the same thing as writing for someone else.

I think that if I did not have the fear of repercussions for expressing anything unique, I would have an easier time with both Art and Writing.  But I’m old enough to know that expression begets consequences.  Whether those are good or bad consequences is unknown and ultimately subjective; whether praise or hatred will prevail is yet to be seen.

This could be the reason why I have seen so many take a brash stance against this psychic wall…because if you don’t stand strongly, the force of that wall could crush your light down into a black hole.

Of course, it helps to have solid grounding and conviction in something reasonable, first.

M has expressed frustration that I have been acquiring supplies — particularly for painting — and have not progressed beyond, “little squares.”  (I’m not sure she understands how difficult the medium of watercolor is, however…)

My little squares, though they could be made in a more aesthetically pleasing manner, are doing something for me:  they’re familiarizing me with the medium.  I don’t feel comfortable jumping from having done nearly nothing into a place where I have no ground to stand on and don’t know how to kick or stroke.

Doing that, and working out my familiarization in a way in which I am likely to destroy my first five paintings (if not more), would be…almost traumatic, for me.  So I’m working on little squares.  Little squares, I can handle; and although the progression there is incremental, and likely to hit a roadblock when I try actually using the colors in application, at least it is something, and I’m learning from it.  Without something, I’m paralyzed because I’m being expected to perform as an intermediate or advanced student without having taken beginner classes.

Maybe M can move forward like that; but I’ve noticed that, in her own design work, she doesn’t think ahead.  She plunges forward and then hits a roadblock and doesn’t know where to go from there.  In contrast, I think things out much further, but then am criticized for my tentativeness and my expensive preparations and my lack of starting.

And actually, now that I’m looking at my notes, I can also see a pattern here:  and not just in the delicateness of my process and my work.

I probably write about art so much because it’s easier for me to write about art than it is for me to get up the courage to actually do it.  I’ve been writing nearly constantly, for all of my life.  Writing is familiar to me, and it’s easier for me to do this than it is for me to sit down with a paintbrush, no matter the chances of coming out with something beautiful as an end product (though maybe I will try and keep that in mind as a goal.  I have a chance of making something beautiful if I risk failure.  If I do not, I have no chance of doing the same).

Writing about work, though, is not at all equivalent to actually doing it.

I’ve got to make a number of lifestyle changes relatively soon.  Many of these — most, actually — are related to my mental and physical health.  I need to floss regularly.  I need to brush my teeth and wash my face well in advance of bedtime.  I need to avoid late nights (sugar cravings come on after 11 PM).  I need to drink more water and avoid excess sugar.  I need to shower more often, and to exercise (and stretch) more often and more regularly; and if I can, I ought to try to meditate regularly (doing all of this may allow me to reduce my medications…and drop down a few sizes).

Along with this — I wonder if it would be too much of a strain for me to try and wake up with the Sun, so I have all the hours of the day to do my work and my art, as versus doing art in the afternoon and taking photos in the late afternoon or evening (when it’s dark).  Or, less optimally, doing art at nighttime with less-than-natural light.

It’s something to think about.  Maybe tonight I can try going to bed early, instead of trying to wring all the good I can get out of the day, and see if I am able and willing to get up at, say, 7 AM tomorrow (as I tried to do, today).  And maybe if I have the art play as a lure to get me out of bed…I’ll actually do it.

art and nervousness/nerves/nerve

Today (or at this specific moment, yesterday) the trips to the art stores happened, within the span of about an hour.  This was fun, though now the hard work comes:  actually using the supplies.  Which is what everyone wants me to do, and which is likely why I met with no resistance when getting to the places, today:  I actually did use some of my supplies.

Although I had planned to spend around $60-$70, I ended up spending a bit more.  I knew it might come to that.  Although the big-box art supply store had more types of X-Acto blades, they had only two of the three types I wanted.  They also did not have 2″x 2″ linoleum blocks, and their prices on block printing ink were higher than at the smaller art store for identical inks.

I’ve found a hesitance to work on the actual execution of these projects:  they are beautiful in my concept, and having the supplies and the time, I have no excuse not to work.  I think that I have a fear that my execution will not fulfill my concept, however; that I’ll end up ruining a project or messing up.  Though this is kind of ridiculous, as I consistently surprise myself where it comes to ease with my media and the skill I have which is hidden until demonstrated.  It’s also ridiculous when the materials are inexpensive.  Maybe I would have been better off just getting one or two more inks.  Maybe.

On the other hand, the randomness of color printing, when using mixed inks, is an obvious upshot of working with prints.

Then there is the fear that I’ll really really like it.

And end up collecting plates of glass to roll out my inks…

…but why is that scary?  Because then I’ll be doing something fulfilling?

I need to go over my receipts and see what I did get which I didn’t plan on getting.

I should also work on my “crocus” before the urge becomes too stale.  I can already see myself forgetting how to work the image in drawing.  But then there are new elements to this, now:  one of which is that I have new knives and gouges that I should practice with before cutting a final image; the other of which is that I want to experiment with image registration, though multi-color prints may realistically be very advanced from my current position.

What I did do today, as well, though:  I made a toolbox with all of my knives, gouges, blade holders, adhesives, brayers, and black pens (fineliners, brush pens, Sharpies).  Do you think that maybe I should just concentrate on two-tone prints, for now (positive and negative space, as versus color)?  I can see where maybe I should…

And maybe I should put my weird-nib Pitt pens in that kit, too.  I don’t have to be concerned about water resistance, here, as I won’t be painting over them (Pitt black pens have a tendency to leave a grey haze when water is washed over them — a reason they aren’t more central to my work — but they have some special felt nibs that behave in interesting ways.  As I’m just after the design, shapes, and lines…there isn’t any drawback to using them).

But yeah, I pretty much had to pick up the violet ink today because my little flower print does remind me of a crocus.  Maybe what I can do is work suminagashi or wet-into-wet watercolor on the paper first, then make multiple little prints on them with the newer crocus linocut?

Wow, I just realized that if my Boku-Undo inks and Sumifactant are still worth anything, I should be able to make pale pink/blue/violet marbling (the inks are very weak) and then print multiple crocuses on top of that in violet, via block printing.  And I can even add translucency to it, because I got an extender for the ink.  And…I also have a blue and magenta, so I could print multiple colors mixed together on one stamp, instead of a straight violet.  Then I can cut the prints apart and give them to people.  🙂  No kento registration required, though if I really wanted to, I could put in a border…

And yes, I did just think of Artists’ Trading Cards…am I getting a “thing,” now?  Are flowers in water-soluble media now my “thing”?

I should find my palette knife so I can mix the ink…I think it used to be in a pot with the brushes and pens at my old craft area, but that was before we rearranged.  I know where it might be, though:  I can look for it after we’re facing the Sun again.  😉

I forgot to mention that I moved the majority of my “dusty” media (hard pastels, pastel pencils, charcoal, charcoal pencils, White Charcoal, white Rembrandt soft pastel), graphite crayons and pencils, and their accoutrements (erasers, blending stumps, chamois, X-Acto knife [#11 blade] for pencil sharpening), plus some earth-tone watercolor and colored pencils, into an old ArtBin which is stacked under my Printing kit (which is in the toolbox I used for my art supplies when I was taking art classes).

I should take photos of this.  I can see myself not recalling where I put the stuff…if I maintain visual records, though…at least that will be something I can reference without having to catalog everything…

Okay, self:  tomorrow is a new day.  Do not fear it.

Okay. Can’t sleep.

I’ve been busy thinking up things to make linocuts out of, and don’t know how coherent I’ll be — sorry!  🙂

I did find my old stash of X-Acto blades and blade holders!  So I know I don’t need any #11 or #2 blades, and I won’t need an extra handle.  There are three types of blades I’ve decided on — the #10 (general, curved) and #12 (detail, curved) for the #1 handle, and the #28 (concave) for the #2 handle.  What I will need help with are biomorphic forms (flowers, leaves, feathers), so I’m hoping that the curved blades will assist, here.  I think that if I sharpened my initial tools, they should work; but as it is, the only knife or gouge I have that is still reliably sharp is my big U-gouge.  And that’s because I didn’t use it in high school.  (I don’t know how to sharpen gouges.)

I still haven’t (“still”? it’s been what, a day?) gone back to my original design — though I did get the idea of printing multiple layers of color, today.  If I can find a strip of wood that is exactly the height of my linoleum blocks, it would help with registering the prints — that is, lining them up exactly so that I don’t miss and get a weirdly printed copy.  I’m not betting on this, though.   I do have strips of cardboard that I’ve saved from old drawing pads, which I can cut to size and then tape the print to (while lining up the bottom edge with the block) — I think this should help, but I haven’t tried it yet.

The thing that I still can’t justify buying is a baren.  This is largely because they’re expensive, and largely, it’s just a flat surface.  The one Japanese brand I’ve found is Yasutomo, and…let’s just say it didn’t feel like anything…special?  On the other hand, it was $10 less than the Speedball one.  The latter, though, will stand up to Western printmaking papers and doesn’t require oiling, to the best of my knowledge.  The Stonehenge paper I’m using is very…tough.  I think it’s a cotton rag paper, but it’s really thick and kind of hard.

I’ll probably end up getting the Speedball one; it just kind of hurts a little.  😉  But you buy it like, what, once, and then you don’t have to do it again?

Earlier tonight I was thinking of stocking up on those little tiny 2″x 2″ linoleum blocks; now I’m wondering if it’s overkill.  I have the receipt next to me and can see that they cost $0.69 each.  So I guess that would be, what…about $3.50 if I got 5 of them?  I had been thinking of doing a color rendition, but at the present moment I can’t remember what that version would look like.

It may not be overkill, though, if it will save me a trip.  Speaking of which, I did just check — and I’m not sure the little store carries the blades I want.  This will then require locating other sources.  I should call ahead.  I think I have the phone numbers of all my regular art supply stores in a case…aha; found them.

The other irritant I’m facing is how many inks to get.  I know I should not go all out and invest in too many at once; on the other hand, this art store is not a convenient place to get to.

Ah, hell.  I’ll get a magenta, a blue, yellow, and brown, plus extender (which may be more interesting than diluting colors with white).  I have three prints that have come to mind…and this should give me the widest possible color range (even though I have wanted to buy violet and orange).  The first print to try or retry is the flower thing that looks like a crocus.  Then — I want to try a gingko leaf (3 blocks required), and the idea of a hummingbird has also come to mind…though I should be able to print that with these colors, I now realize!

I’ll just get the three tiny blocks instead of more…the gingko thing and the crocus thing should keep me busy for a while.  After that I can practice some more and work on my key block for the hummingbird thing…some time will have elapsed, by then.

It looks like the printing inks are cheaper at the big store, but not by much.  The baren is not, and I don’t see how the linoleum blocks could be.  Maybe I’ll hit the big box store, get the X-Acto blades and ink, and then hit the small store for the baren and linoleum blocks…and look at their selection of gouges.  There are two Speedball kits which contain gouges…I’m thinking of using a very small gouge for the leaf, but am not sure if it will even help, as the veining has to be in reverse in order to print (unless I make the veins lighter than the leaf).  The benefit of a gouge here is that it removes material in one swipe, but that’s really suited to later projects (feathers) than either of these two.

And then…do I want to get an X-Acto gouge set instead?  I’m pretty sure they exist.

Anyway…I’m now getting tired, and I have a plan now.  See you in the morning!  I mean after the sun is up!

(almost the) First linocut done since high school!

I am trying not to title this post “Bahaha,” though I’m sure you’ll be able to sense my excitement!

I was able to take a trip out to the little art store I wished to go to.  Amazingly — I got out of there with a bunch of linocut supplies for under $25.  It probably has to do with the fact that I got a bunch of little tiny linoleum blocks — the one I’ll show here is one of the smallest, at 2″x2″ — and the fact that they were having a sale on the hard pastels I bought — which were the most expensive thing, at under $5 for a set of 12.

Last night after getting home from that trip, I honestly felt like going to bed, but I interrupted myself.  I didn’t want to go and get the art supplies and then never use them, so I started looking through my cheap little notebook at my designs.  I realized fairly quickly that the way I had been sketching was suited to linework, but that printing would probably require a different approach, utilizing blocks of color or tone.  With that in mind, I started sketching — in pencil, albeit in 8B pencil.

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My initial design is at the top of this photo.  Below are iterative versions of it, on tracing paper (center), translucent marker paper (left), and Saral (carbon) paper.

I actually surprised myself with my initial design, as I’d somehow managed to draw a diamond shape which had a little less than 60º as the angle of the inner corner, making 6 petals totaling 360º.

This is the actual first transfer of that image to (translucent) marker paper, on the right:

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I used marker paper because I felt it would hold up better under fineliner (I used a 0.1 mm pen, here), and I intended to fill in areas with black to see what the design would look like in high contrast.  As I was doing this, I remembered some examples in a Dover book on the principle of Notan (balance between positive and negative space), and was curious about what would happen if I introduced shapes pushing from the negative space into the positive space — this is why the petals are notched.  I also realized in this iteration that I needed to pay attention to the center of the star, because if the petals didn’t have a coherent center, it could throw the design off.

I also realized that I didn’t have to echo the almond shape throughout each petal, and wondered what it would look like if I added a recurve to the outer edge of each white area.  So I traced over this shape with the tracing paper (first image, below center), using this idea — and trying to fix the center of the design.  I did this first in 2H pencil. Then on the tracing paper, I went over the lines with fineliner again (so I could see them) and traced over that on the marker paper (first image, below left).  At this point I could color things in without losing any precious underdrawing, so I did.  I had intended to divide the outer rim of each petal into two and let the white space part the outer edge, so that the petals were implied but not fully stated — but when I filled the space in, this detail was not visible.  I also joined the positive space on the outside of the petals to save myself a headache.

Once I was happy with the design, I traced over — I think the tracing paper copy — over carbon paper (Saral paper) with a 2H pencil, on top of my 2″x2″ linoleum block.  On the first image, lower right, you can see what this did to the Saral paper:  it’s translucent where I transferred the carbon onto the linoleum.

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I did not take a photo of my block before carving, but I was very happy with the line transfer.  What I was less happy with were the performances of the carving tools I mentioned before, which are from my high school sculpture and relief-printing days.  Because they didn’t perform all that well, I ended up using an X-Acto craft knife with a #2 blade to do most of the image cutting.  The area around the image was cleared out with a large shallow gouge, however.

One thing I did find to my surprise was that the little subtlety of the curvature of the white area was not immediately apparent in cutting.  I also found that small circular cutouts are difficult to do in linoleum, and that I would have been better off doing something like I did in the outer petal ring and just cut out an almond, without trying for a circle.  When I did try for circles, I ended up cutting out more positive space than I intended to.  This will change in the next iteration of this project:  almonds all the way!  😉

After the cutting was done, I started looking around for my acrylic plate and the hard rubber brayer.  I couldn’t easily find that plate, though — I know where one used to be, but since we’ve cleaned up, I’m no longer sure where it is.  But apparently…we had extra picture frames, and I was able to take one apart and use the glass that would have protected the picture, to roll out my printing ink with the brayer!

This is water-based Speedball printing ink, which came in a small tube.  I’m really thankful that I didn’t have to buy a 1 lb jar to get any ink at all — at first, all I could find were the jars, but then I found the little packs of ink hanging up in the same area.  I picked up a black, then later realized at home that I probably should have gotten white or a color in addition to the black, so I could experiment with duochrome.  But — next time.

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One of the nice things about this ink is that it cleans up very easily with water; on top of that, it seems to be nontoxic.  It also has good tack, meaning that when I put the paper on top of it (I used Stonehenge, which is designed for hand printing), the paper did not move, even as I burnished the back with the back of a spoon to transfer the image from the carving to the paper.

There were barens at the store to accomplish the same thing, but I felt they were overpriced for something that is basically just a flat surface.  Of course, if I’d used a baren, it would be less likely that I would get those surrounding marks on my print (see above) which resulted from both tipping the inked brayer as I rolled it (it’s a tiny print, okay) 😉 and pushing the paper down into the background with the spoon during the burnishing process.

In high school, I think we accomplished the pressing by rolling a clean brayer over the back of the paper.  And, of course, if I used something like a small press, I wouldn’t have to worry about the stray marks at all…although one of the reasons for starting out with block printing is that you don’t need a press.

And, well, now — I have a good bit more insight than I did before on how to do this, and want to retry the carving process.  I have one more little 2″x2″ block of the same type, and found an old opened (throwaway) linoleum block today (it feels like an eraser).  Seriously, though, these things aren’t expensive, something I had to remind myself of before I started carving!  I think the block I carved today cost $0.66 or something like that.

It is pretty cool to see your work result in something, though!  And that’s not a bad try for being (almost) the first time I’ve worked with this technique in 17 years…(and yes, the BAHAHA moment when it works is great…!)

The attempt to relax…well, I did actually read for pleasure, today…

I’m not sure I’m going to make this post public, so if you’re seeing it, apparently I didn’t get into a bunch of…what I’ve been writing about previously, today (in a paper journal).  Yes yes, I can rant and curse all I want in a paper journal…

I have been having problems concentrating today.  Much of this, earlier, had to do with the fact that I was having so much internal “noise” that I could not focus on my (assigned) reading.  This isn’t literally stuff that I physically heard (i.e. hallucination); this is thinking about things that…had little to do with what I was trying to do, except for the fact that I was doing reading for the grad program and didn’t want to be, but felt I had to.  Then I started thinking about the idiocy that is one of my classes and how my standing in the program may be jeopardized by not sufficiently learning some outmoded obsolete overly complex archaic system from a person with his own issues…which I want to drop, by the way, but I’ve gotten Financial Aid, which kind of makes that a bit more complicated.

Anyway.  I’m trying not to think ahead to Fall.  I also have something to write…for which, I can consider this practice.  That is, it’s difficult for me to jump right in to answering questions in an essay format when I haven’t warmed up.  I suppose one can consider what I did earlier to be a warm-up, as well, but it feels different to write by hand, as versus to type.

In any case, M had me writing earlier to try and clear my head.  It worked to an extent — I did get seven pages out (I used a bold pen, so that’s double-spaced), though it doesn’t solve the problem (which should resolve itself in several weeks).

I also read through the text portion of Shin Hanga, which was a nice break.  The text is only Part I of the book; the second part is made entirely of reproductions of these woodblock prints and their associated metadata (artist, year, accession numbers, etc.).  Shin hanga were like an updated version of ukiyo-e, but not…the only branch to spring from that.  Sosaku hanga (“creative prints”) were another offshoot, with one person controlling the entire artistic process — whereas shin hanga and ukiyo-e more often were the result of team collaborations.

I found a webpage (from MIT) which goes over how woodblock prints were created — well, more than one, actually; I also found an article on bokashi at Wikipedia (that is, how color gradations were made in this form of printing, used extensively in the prints reproduced in the book Shin Hanga) — and it is very clearly…complicated.  Enough so to make one seriously consider digital printmaking.  I mean…really.  The prints had to be highly labor-intensive and exacting.

The possibility of, say, applying a color gradation in an outline…is possible in digital printmaking, and from my experience, I would say it is likely seriously easier than carving a negative of that linework and then applying a gradated ink wash to it and then lining it up and printing it.  On doing a Google search and then following a Pinterest link, I also found a link to the following blog post (by serendipityartist) on WordPress, from 2007.  This makes it seem less…unclear, but still, the author mentions needing to “season” the wood block and getting just the right amount of water mixed in to avoid artifacting…(I don’t know if that’s the right word when used with non-computer-generated art…)

M wanted me to write more, to clear my head further, but I found it essentially very peaceful to just look at the prints and try and analyze how they were working, from the viewpoints of color, line, and composition.  In this sense, the prints are very…sophisticated.  The reason I got the book, Shin Hanga, in the first place was to study composition:  a subject which is different depending on the cultural origin of one’s training.  I had found this first through the book Chinese Painting:  Techniques for Exquisite Watercolors, (excuse me while I shift back to a common form of title capitalization) by Lian Quan Zhen.  There are a couple of sections in that book, if I’m recalling right, about composition…which leads me to wonder if the compositions of some (or many) of the prints in Shin Hanga (the book) were invented or idealized, and not as they appeared in nature.

But that goes off on a fairly different avenue than what I’ve touched upon, tonight.

I think I’m about ready to start my essay, now…

Notes from earlier: Design, Ceramics

Well, it was a good thing to be at work, today.  I think it’s called, “networking”?

I received two valuable responses from colleagues who have both worked in Art & Design.  One of them was to informationally interview people in the field I was interested in, in order to get a sense of what the work was actually like — this is in regard to Graphic Design.  The main drawback that I can see to this, at this point, is that I do not carry the responsibility for the direction of the work…and that’s what my old Drawing teacher directly warned us about.  (I’m writing this stuff down now so I don’t forget it.)

Given that — that this is a main downside to working in commercial art (that is, that it appears that people who want work done want it done by someone who isn’t human — kind of like how I rail against people most highly valuing stones which look mass-produced [yeah!  let’s look just like everyone else!]), I started thinking again about pottery.  I did ask one of my co-workers about this; he recommended jumping in to what I wanted to do, in order to see the day-to-day reality of what it is like.  This is so I don’t get overwhelmed with worry and fear about what things “might be” like.

Something that also came up was the possibility of apprenticing to a potter.  That actually sounds like a really workable — and interesting — idea.

Right now what I’m thinking of, is:  No matter what grades I get at the end of Spring semester, I’ll plan to go back into the nearest community college I know of which deals with Ceramics (this is, unfortunately, a 45-minute commute; although I may be able to find a closer school, it won’t be in the same cultural enclave as the one I’m used to).  I can see, then, if I still like it.  I will also, this way, get to know students and teachers, who may be able to help me find a suitable Master to work under.  Come Fall…I am uncertain what will happen, but I will again be able to take Ceramics classes at a closer college.

My desire to work with clay has not decreased since I was able to use the cup I bought…it feels really nice in the hand, and it’s aesthetically pleasing to look at.  I’ve also realized that cafes and restaurants are likely good places to sell to (I noticed the cups in the drying rack of a nearby cafe, today) although this may mean that it will be most practical to make things…that look mass produced.

(?!)  Well, what the market demands, you know.  There was also a place (Heath? Ceramics) which is based in Marin County which provided the hot-cups used at the Honolulu Art Museum.

It would be interesting, though, to see what opens up if and after I learn to speak and understand Japanese language, better…I wonder if anyone would teach me how to make ceramics in an Eastern style…

Where do I want to be in five years? 10?

I wouldn’t be back here quite so soon, except that I had been considering the track of working within a Public Library, as versus on the Web…and realized that I should take a long-term approach when planning this stuff out.  I can see that the Digital Services path — the one I originally wanted to take — is something that will give me a foundation, at least, in tech work.

I won’t be ideally suited to be a Reference Librarian (though I am not sure any other part of me besides my idealistic and ethical [and somewhat lazy/comfortable — seriously, I can work elsewhere] self leans that way)…but I’m fairly certain that I do want to move on into Web Design and into Web Development, when I outgrow Web Design.

Salaries in Web Design are higher than in Graphic Design, but they still top out at ~$60,000/year.  It’s not that I would need a whole lot of money — except for the fact that I live in an area with a bizarrely high cost of living — because I’m single without children and don’t plan on children.  Health care is something else, though; retirement is something else; and there is the question of whether I’ll ever partner with someone.  If I won’t, I’ll need my own emergency cushion.  Web Development, on the other hand — as a next step after Web Design, has a higher salary range.  It’s something I wasn’t looking at when I was researching careers:  that is, branching off into a related career with higher top pay.

And given that, it’s kind of a mystery as to why I would stay in Library Science when I could just get a Graphic Arts degree and move on to an apprenticeship…though of course, that will be training to work for the person I would be if I did get the LIS degree with a specialty in anything digital.  And even if I fail the degree in LIS (there is a looming “e-Portfolio” which I’m not sure I am going to do too well at — here’s hoping I’m not too much of a minority for the ALA), that won’t necessarily matter in Design, if I have acquired skills while in the LIS program which others don’t have.  At least, that is, if it’s like Art:  where no one cares what degree you have, as long as you’re good.

So right now…I have a fall-back position that I just figured out.  If the MLIS program doesn’t work out (I presently fear being put on academic probation because of the Cataloging course, and then getting a B- next semester [which means I get kicked out and still have to pay back all of my debt]), I’m going to re-enter one of my past Community Colleges and work at the Graphic Arts program (it takes two years to complete this cycle).  If I use all of my resources, I may be exempt from the rule which says I can no longer utilize priority enrollment.

I will also want to move into a different job, part-time.  For the experience, for networking, and for higher pay.

Right now I can’t even think five years ahead, because I have an assignment due in a week which is worth 1/6 of my grade…and I’m rocking a C- right now (I checked today).

Yeah, I should get back to trying to catch up…(there is a saga to this that I don’t feel like re-relating, right now.)

…After, that is, I note that I shouldn’t let other people’s philosophies and issues keep me from doing something I may enjoy.  I didn’t continue on with Ceramics because some kid said it was “for old people.”  I didn’t continue on in Graphic Arts because I was told I “could do more.”  I didn’t go back into Graphic Arts because my Fine Arts teacher wanted us never to give into the aesthetics and desires of others in making our own work.  I continued on in Library School in part because a Librarian — and my family — and my counselor — wanted me to.

But none of that is about me, though I’ve internalized all of it.

Anyhow.  I should get back to work…