Saturday, November 6, 2010

Jack of All Trades or Renaissance Woman?

Artemisia Gentilleschi as the Allegory of Painting
Often we get an idea that seems like this great big idea. But as we execute it we realize that really it's just part of the really really really big idea. It's like an entry point that's doable and because we don't realize what it leads to we're able to see it as possible. Think about it this way. If you started dating your future husband with the idea immediately that he was THE ONE...well, would you have been as casual and "you" or would you have clammed up and run from the bigness of it all? Not to say that we don't date someone with the idea that they might be "the one", but I never felt certain one way or another until we'd spent some time together.

Similarly, so many of us feel badly about how we flit from one craft to another, not really ever "settling" down. I hear that so often and I can relate. At one time my husband got so frustrated over my constantly shifting devotion to one craft or another that he told me "I was going to end up a jack of all trades and a master of none." The idea is that if we really put our time, energy, and concentration towards one area of art that we'll master it. Good advice generally, but I really don't think it's good advice to give you. Here's why:

1) Most of us are in a learning stage where it's a good idea for us to acquire as many skills as we can. You'll never know when you'll feel inspired to combine your knitting, soldering, and stitching skills to create something absolutely amazing. Early learning needs to encompass all sorts of areas so that the student can begin to make connections across those different areas. If we concentrate on solely one thing we won't develop that ability to cross over which really is important.
2) Unless we try different things we won't find that something we just "Love" to do and feel passionate about. Great art expresses passion somehow, and a great art life allows us to do that everyday. Back to the dating analogy, very few of us meet the love of our lives in kindergarten. We need to expect that we'll go through an awful lot of "Mr. Wrong's" before we'll find that one "Mr. Right" for us.
3) We also need to be ready for that relationship when it comes. That process of becoming ready comes through time and by relating to others. All those relationships with "Mr. Wrong" prepared and matured me so that when my "Mr. Right" did come along I knew how to relate to him without completely messing it up.
4)Knowledge is never wasted. Neither is excitement. Feeling intrigued and excited about something new keeps me going. I love trying new products, finding new tools, or seeing new ideas at work. It feeds my creative energy and keeps me fired up about creating. I still love my fabric and wire but trying a new painting technique, or learning a new skill opens up new possibilities and makes new combination's possible.

Back to the Big Idea. If you're still searching for that something you "LOVE" than don't chastise yourself for not having found it already, or for not just sticking with something. Don't settle, do enjoy the journey and please don't feel like you're wasting time by pursuing new things. The small tangent that leads to a big idea could be just what you need to take you to that next big idea. The journey is also what readies you for when you do get a glimpse of that really really "big idea". So love where you are. Love that you have a passion for lots and lots of things. Love that you have a curiosity and an ability to embrace the new. It really is a strength. 

Don't see yourself as a "jack of all trades and a master of none" but as a Renaissance woman in process. Someone who someday will have an incredible amount of skills and experience available to her. That could be you. That will be you. You just need to see the value in your journey now and not lose faith in yourself and your seeking. :)

7 comments:

Single Stone Studios said...

You know, you could have just written me an email instead of posting this on your blog. LOL

I am so all over the place right now. But having fun. Learning and lot and trying to relax about finding "the one".

Right now I have a board with some dry modeling paste on it that I stamped and textured last night. Never dome taht before so I think I'll add some paints and see what I get ;)

Enjoy your day!

Jolene said...

Thank you for writing this post. I have felt that way for a long time. As I was cleaning out my long lost craft supplies, I was reminded of all the many things that I had embarked on and then let fall away. As I was going through those old supplies, I could think of at least one thing I learned and used in my new endeavors. I was grateful for all the education I had received. Trying new things is like paying tuition on your "big idea". Each new lesson builds on the last. Before long you are publishing a book. Congratulations and best wishes.

Anna said...

Hah, apparently I'm not the only one who feels you wrote this just for her. Thanks for the encouragement, and when the heck did you get so wise?

Mousy Brown said...

What a lovely post so full of wisdom and encouragement - now that's why I keep coming back! :D

Jen said...

This is perfect. Perfect for me and for so many of us. Nice to know we're not alone.

Emakesart said...

I love this post. I don't know how I missed it before, and exactly why I found it now (well, yes I do) but it solidifies something that I've felt for a while with my own work. I keep telling my husband that all my work is one day going to merge into "something". My faux-finishing background already overlaps onto my canvases, but somehow it's going to combine with not only my photos but also jewelry making skills...seems kind of crazy, but i'm already seeing hints of it lately...I've used copper wire and recently, beads on a piece. I have a picture in my head that keeps appearing but for some reason I keep holding myself back. I think reading this post today is confirmation for me to get going on it. Thank you for this! And you are an amazing example...I love your work!

xoEsther : )

Kaylee Hinrichs said...

You completely read my mind.
Thank you for this post, it's exactly what I needed to hear right now.

:)
Best of luck.