Mass Production and the Inevitability of Burn-Out

With the holidays upon us, and a huge craft fair rapidly approaching, I've been in mass production mode for the last few weeks - pumping out marbled ornaments and gift wrap like a machine! At some point in the past, I recall really enjoying making these things. The idea of my work taking it's place among treasured and collected tree ornaments, or carefully encasing a special gift for a loved one, is so romantic and exciting. I imagine the oooohs and ahhhhs as someone realizes their gift has been wrapped in one-of-a-kind, handmade paper. I'd certainly appreciate that level of thoughtfulness!

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But the business of making these things is something else entirely. It's a mental and physical work-out, spending hours at the tank, swirling my stylus through the same collection of colors over and over and over... I find myself tuning out my creativity in favor of speed and precision. I literally dream deliriously of marbled patterns for restless nights on end. I lose touch with my art, and that affects my mood and frankly, my self confidence. I feel like I've somehow failed myself, getting sucked into the "what will sell" world. 

So today, I called Uncle. I've made over 120 ornaments, and something like 80 sheets of marbled gift wrap. I may sell out, but enough is enough. The heaviness I felt went down the drain with my last batch of size for the year. Tomorrow, I plan to take the morning to snowshoe into the wilderness to cut down my Christmas Tree. It'll be a great way to "reset" my mind and move my body in ways other than swirling a stick. With the craft fair only about 10 days away, I've given myself time to prepare my booth/studio, set my prices, and maybe even make some real art! Sometimes, the biggest favor you can do for yourself is to throw your hands up and call it a day!