Yesterday, Matt and I did our first First Friday at the studio at 450 Harrison. I wish I had brought my camera with me because our studio looked great. I was really happy with how we arranged all the work and thought everything worked well together. I only brought 4 of the 16 mini-manti with me to represent what we would have available for the Open Studios next weekend, and I had Manny on display as well (of course). So while my table was not jam-packed with goodies, it was only to introduce myself and to give folks a taste of what is to come. We handed out cards, met some of the other artists in the building, and chatted with a whole bunch of people. It seemed that our work was very well-received. Not to pat myself too hard on the back (as none of the minis sold last night), but I do love it when people see my softies and react in a visceral way - when they gasp or squeal and smile openly, eager to hold the toys in their hands. It's amazing how they really bring out the kid in just about everyone. I can't help but smile when it happens.
I have to say I actually feel confident about the upcoming Open Studio. I feel like I am pretty ready for it. I am still working on a few pieces, as I am finishing up my submission for Plush You! (Hooray! I got a whole bunch of light-bulbs at Sears.) However, I am not experiencing any of the self-doubt or panic that I did the last time. I know everything will get done, and I know it will go well. If I seem a little punchy lately, I must apologize. There are other things going on behind the scenes that have been weighing down on me, and I am trying really hard not to let it all get the best of me. I missed a deadline for one project, I let an offer fall through the cracks, and another offer that I was totally on board for fell through on its own. My big thing for October is not happening at all now; I kinda wish I had never even mentioned it on here in passing. And that's not even to mention Matt's less-than-enthusiastic attitude about the Open Studio. He has been struggling with his art and with his feelings about art and the process of making art for a while now, and while I love him and believe in his work, it is hard sometimes to be supportive in the face of such overwhelming hopelessness. It knocks me off of my course a bit. Sometimes I end up questioning myself and wondering if any of this effort is worth it.
I love what I am doing too much to give up on it. I enjoy making things. I have fun designing a pattern and working out the kinks until I have what I want to see as my finished product. I enjoy just about every process of softie-making, with the exception of stuffing, which I loathe but only because it hurts my elbows so much (and sucks up sooooooo much time). I wish I could just wiggle my nose and have the softies magically stuff themselves. Some days are easier than others. Some days, I feel super-productive and happy out. Other days, I get stressed because I feel I am not working hard enough and allow myself to be distracted by all these other things, allowing myself to get sucked into the negativity and the hopelessness. Right now, I am trying to stay focused, and I am trying to think positively for the both of us.
I am finishing up this batch of penguins. So far, so good. I am using wool stuffing with these because I was thinking how wonderful it would be if they would retain the warmth of your hands. Granted on a day like today when it's 90º out, perhaps that thought is not so appealing. But I'm thinking ahead here. I'm thinking it would be great in the Winter. I am hoping to have these and a few other projects done tonight.
Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend!