Coffee in the Chicago skyline mug, " 'Round Here Somewhere" by the BoDeans on the apple TV. It's raining. Again. Yesterday saw yet more papers sorted and appropriately filed (i.e., mostly recycled), kilns fired, glass cut, pieces made, pieces shipped. Yawn. I yearn to be in the garden. I have been dissatisfied with the necessity of subverting my creativity to economic realities--something that happens to all production artists at some time in their careers--for awhile now. Finally last night I came to a momentous decision: I am done with professional glass--it's time to move on to the next step in my life.
Before we moved to Atlanta we lived in Austin, and I went through the 10-week training and certification program (including 50 hours of public service work) to become a Master Gardener. I specialized in the incorporation of native plants in the urban landscape and ecological gardening--no pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers or regular watering. I loved it, though the only outlets I had were our home yard (and I had to fight the neighborhood association tooth and nail as they wanted me to plow all the native vegetation and buffalo grass under and put in Bermuda grass--something the people who bought our home when we moved have done. *sigh*) and some friends' yards.
When we moved here, I had a blank slate again. The backyard was a sea of red mud, and the front was full of boring, inappropriate builder plants and some sod which died before I identified it. Now the front has a curving pavestone walk, a traveler redbud, a witch hazel, three quince, a small pond, a moss "lawn", jasmine, gardenias, camellias, a service berry, ferns, a flying dragon (tri-foliated native orange), and assorted other wildlife-friendly plants. The back has a weeping cherry, a ginko, a weeping elm, an ironwood, a small Japanese maple, a weeping deodora cedar, two Texas persimmons, an American smoketree, a fragrant tea olive, and a bamboo forest--and that's just for starters!
I designed the entire backyard including adjusting slope and soil and accommodating drainage and existing light. I even put in the circular stone patio with a low wall surrounding it myself (with help from two contractors I hired to grade and spread the 15 dump truck loads of topsoil I purchased). And I did it all in two weeks from start to finish--playhouse and bamboo to soil, sod, a dry "creek" bed for drainage, the afore-mentioned patio, and all the trees and shrubs... then I had to get back to my regular job, and I have done nothing back there since other than the annual mulch and thrice-yearly major weedings.
Now the bamboo is shooting, the grass is getting ready to sprout, the pond creatures are stirring, and I want to to get back to my yard and to help other people with theirs. I thoroughly enjoyed the general contracting and materials ordering and coordinating that came with the project, I was very good at it, and I love the smell of dirt.
Practicalities: The College of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia offers two degrees that interest me--Master of Landscape Architecture and Master of Environmental Planning and Design. The existing studio building is a perfect place for a discreet professional office--and if we end up moving to Austin for Dave's job it will be easier to pick up and move a landscaping career. Plus it gives me a lot more time to sell off my existing materials and product inventory from the glass business because I start NOW.
Oh I'm not saying I'm going to sell everything and never do glass again, but it's time for it to take a back seat and become the enjoyable hobby it was when I started over 20 years ago. I'm too tied down by all the "stuff" that goes along with being a production glass artist. It's time to Move On! Off to the studio to start tagging everything for sale (too bad I have that big Bullseye order coming this week--but at least I am on the downside of my production cycle). Final thought--that artist who was copying my work now has a clear field and I don't have to worry about it anymore!
Happy April 1 everyone.