I’m in a strange place right now with all of my work, and I’m trying to figure out how to organize and direct my focus day to day. My head is completely consumed by my book, and I have to admit that I have zero interest in my studio practice right now. I have all of this time on my hands to work on my studio practice, but the problem is that my mind simply isn’t in the right place for that.
I’ve done all of the grunt work getting my book out to key people, so now it’s a matter of waiting to see the fruits of my labor. So there’s my problem- I hate waiting, and I hate feeling like there’s nothing more for me to do. I’m certain that there must be more to do, I just can’t figure out what that is.
I also worry that my book will only stay inside my “bubble” of colleagues and friends. In order to break through this bubble, I need someone in the media who has an strong, established audience to champion the book for me. Unless that happens, I fear that my book is doomed to remain inside my bubble.
In other news, I’ve been devouring the reviews of my book on Amazon as they come in. There are already 15 reviews! Here’s one of my favorites, written by a former student of mine.
In my freshman year at RISD, I remember Clara saying that her mentors’ words of wisdom from when she was a student would repeat in her head like a mantra while she worked, even 15 years later.
Years after I heard that, it’s Clara’s words that repeat in my head while I work. She has a knack for cutting to the heart of an issue in a succinct manner. Clara classics like “Jump off the cliff”, “Never apologize for your work”, and “If you’re afraid of something, you should probably do it” are short but powerful maxims that, in my experience, lead to greatly increased artistic productivity.
That’s why I’m so glad Clara has published this book. It’s a clear, pithy distillation of all the great advice that you will hear in a class with Clara. The book is well-designed, dotted with often hilarious illustrations, and beautifully organized. There is also a section at the end with frequently asked questions like, “How do I manage my time better?” and “What if people don’t like my work?” Clara’s advice in this part is relevant not only for the beginner, but for older artists facing temporary crises.
Lastly: books can be judged, in part, by how you feel after reading them. Even though I’ve heard much of this advice from Clara before, reading this book reminded me of a lot of things I love about making and provided an extra boost of positive energy. After finishing, I felt prompted to reflect on how I could become even more productive and inspired to push myself harder. I will keep this book close at hand wherever I go or work in the future.