"Growing up in northern Manitoba my entire world was influenced by the Cree culture in which I was immersed. As a young girl, on one of many trips up the Churchill River, I saw my first pictographs drawn on stone outcroppings high above the waterline, and yet so far down from the land that sat on top of it that I wondered how anyone could reach that space to draw in our time, never mind thousands of years ago.
This place north of 56 where I learned to survive in the wilderness as part of my public education; where we came together to celebrate the Winter Carnival, racing in snowshoes, baking bannock, watching the dog sled races; where we were raised to nurture nature. I never wanted to leave.
And now, I have finally found a way to fill the hole left in my heart when I left the north. This work, each piece both a representation of and also physically a sacred vessel for me, is filled with the images, colours and symbols of my memory."
Ruby makes me smile :)
Recently I read that successful Canadian authors earn approximately $7-20,000 annually, which I believe basically translates to every one of the arts. Along with the overcast, cold, snowy weather these days I found that statistic to be kind of depressing. It continued to state that the bulk of a professional writer's income comes from other venues like teaching and other part or full-time jobs, like waitressing.
As my week rolled along, I began to realize that if that statistic is true then I feel especially succesful as I do sell my work and also my writing, do teach and am fortunate to hold the position of Art Program Coordinator at the local public library which means that every area of income for me is related to the arts. I'm also fortunate because my husband is the main bread-winner in this house so the amount I earn can be used for vacations, fun money and, now, continuing my education.
That's not to say it's all easy, because it's not. I do warn anyone who isn't in this 'gig' because their heart requires it, it might be a good idea to look elsewhere. When considering incomes in many other lines of work, the statistic is pretty pitiful, plus as an artist you certainly do open yourself up for criticism. It's hard to be so transparent and sensitive. And I do believe if you do work just because someone else is doing it and appears successful at it, you probably won't get very far. I also believe that if a person creates something that is special and meaningful to them, other people feel it, too.
This is hard work. It's good and rewarding, but hard. There is much time spent alone without positive feedback, which can be very difficult. But, boy, when you create something that resonates with you, it is absolutely uplifting. When you do what you do just because you want to and don't care how anyone else feels about it, that's a good day. So, in spite of the continual bad news about life as an artist, the depression, the high suicide rate, and this, I love what I do and feel blessed to be able to do it. I wouldn't live my life any other way.
"For thousands of years
much of humankind has believed
that only special places
are infused with the sacred
and that you must get away from the everyday
in order to find it.
everything is infused with the holy -
from chairs to clothing to kitchen stoves."
~ Anthony Lawlor