A bookbinder's confession…
I’m just going to say it – I have a full-time job.
Part of me wonders if others won’t take me as seriously if I don’t make my art full-time. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps telling some customers that you have a “real job” shatters the artist fantasy.
When you’re an artist, you’re only supposed to make art. All of this makes my brain ache. The fact is, it’s hard to make a living as an artist. I admire those who are able to do it.
However, the main reason I work (money aside) is because I am a social animal. I simply cannot work in my studio by myself all day long. I would go crazy. I need to be around people. I have a mouth and I like to talk. I like to work with others. Strangely, working in an office environment suits me.
Luckily, I have an arts-related job. I work as the Office & Information Systems Manager (a.k.a. computer geek) at the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF), a nonprofit organization that works to strengthen and sustain the careers of craft artists across the United States. CERF offers grants and no-interest loans to professional craft artists who have experienced career-threatening emergencies. In addition, CERF provides business support through education and research on issues such as insurance and preparedness.
My business has definitely benefited from the knowledge I’ve gained since I started working at CERF over 4 years ago. And I feel good about working for an organization that invests in craft. I’m part of that future of craft that we’re working to maintain.
Maybe that makes me a real artist after all.