What’s in a Name?
May 19, 2010
Reflections of the Columbia Gorge Art Festival…..
I’ve sold my work at the annual Columbia Gorge Art Festival for at least ten years and always have fun because of the people. The Corbett Education Foundation volunteers treat the artists as family. Student helpers who gain community service points help us unload and set up. A cadre of BBQ chefs bring us burgers and hot dogs & sometimes entertain us!
Many of the participating artists have been here just as long, making it also a yearly reunion of long time friends and acquaintance. We catch up on our families, show off our newest work and share business information. Where’s the next show, which galleries are taking on new artists, marketing tips, nurturing those who need a boost, discuss interesting techniques, and general brain-storming of new ideas.
One topic this year was name calling. Oh I don’t mean badmouthing, I mean what we title ourselves….artist, artisan, artiste, craftsman… And what about subtitles …woodworker, painter, potter, photographer … glassist. Yes…glassist, Cynthia morgan’s term. I like it and am trying it on for size as a subtitle instead of glass-worker, fuser or kiln-former.
Cindy Cossu calls herself an artist now, but felt she didn’t deserve the title until she had a few shows under her belt. People who purchased her work bolstered her confidence beyond the admiration of friends and family. “As I gained confidence, I grew into the title”.
Many of the artists, when asked ‘what do you call yourself’’, immediately responded “I’m an artist”. When asked how long they’ve held that title, typical answers were “all my life” and reminisced a childhood experience about making and giving or selling their art to relatives and friends.
Lisa Rose Musselwhite has always been an artist. Jim Stocker (his page isn’t quite ready, so keep checking back to see his fabulous raku and jewelry) told of designing and building sand candles when he was 13.
Dave Palomino, also a musician, said that others called him an artist before he did, but “eventually I began to believe in myself and believe them”.
My experience is a little of both Cindy’s and Dave’s. I remember my face redden when I heard someone refer to me as an artist because I didn’t feel I filled those shoes. I wasn’t qualified because I didn’t go to art school. I was creative yes, but an artist? I was in my thirties when I felt comfortable with the mantle and have run with it ever since.
I’ve played with all kinds of media including fiber, clay, glass, cement, oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, ink, dyes and more.
My high school teachers encouraged me to travel a creative path when they purchased my tie-dyed macrame’ belts almost 4 decades ago.
I’ve screenprinted, monoprinted, painted, beaded, torched, and airbrushed since then. Living my childhood dream life as an artist, and for close to fifteen years as a ‘glassist’.
What do you call yourself …and why? Have you always felt that way or did it take time? I appreciate time to answer and your courage in answering, I really want to know!