Origami

Inner turmoil, moi? Things have been a bit tricky recently because, unbeknownst to you all, I applied for a full-time job and have been quietly agonising over it for a few weeks. You know the arguments: how many artists earn a decent living, or any kind of living, out of their work? The vast majority have other jobs that may or may not be art-related in order to make ends meet. I left work when I was pregnant, nine years ago (!), not because I really wanted to but because I was very unwell… thus kissing goodbye to a career, an upwards-leading ladder, my first ever permanent contract and a pension… and have been lucky enough since then to be supported by my partner who very generously told me to seize the opportunity to get out there and be the artist I always wanted to be. And self-doubt not withstanding, that’s basically what I’ve done. Hurrah! More recently, however, he has been feeling the pressure and I’ve been coming to grips with the idea that it might be about time I earned some money.

No, not the aforementioned inner turmoil; just our fire going hell for leather this evening

Anyway, for once a decent job came up in Coffs Harbour and I only just caught the advert in time. I managed to get an application in and have spent almost a week checking the post box every day in case I managed to make it to the short list but after hearing nothing decided to phone the HR department today, only to be told that I didn’t even make it to the short list (again).

It is quite demoralising, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you. I asked for feedback and was told that I could better have addressed the key words included in the advert in my covering letter (hard to think of ways in which I have had active experience of ‘cultural diversity’ in a work context, but never mind), but more to the point I didn’t have any identifiable experience in working with university research departments. Now I can’t say the advert really focused on this, despite the fact that the job was an administrative position within a university research department. Had I realised… but it’s too late now. So I spent this afternoon feeling a bit sad, not least about my prospects for superannuation, and it took a couple of hours before I picked myself up again. Do you know this nonsense rhyme?

Nobody loves me; everybody hates me!
I’m going to the garden to eat worms.
Long thin squiggly ones,
Short fat wriggly ones –
Goodness how they tickles when they squirms!

I’ve probably misquoted but I am sure you can imagine me with my bottom lip quivering, pacing around the house this afternoon feeling grumpy and unloved! Oh well.

While I’ve been waiting I’ve been making hundreds (yes, hundreds) of small origami cherry blossoms for the school’s Spring Fair. Apparently the teachers applied for grant funding for Japanese language teaching and as part of the proposal suggested that this year’s fair have a ‘cherry blossom’ theme which is all well and good unless you’re the mug who worked out how to make the blossoms. Yep, I stuck my hand up at the wrong point. Again.

If you can imagine dozens of these branches with the flowers wired on decorating the school I think you’ll agree that it could look rather lovely.

Rather obliterated by the other goings-on are two rather wonderful facts: firstly, we’ve moved into our new house. Secondly, I spent last week moving all our stuff out of the office/studio where we had been living so that the concrete polishing people could give the floor a light polish: just enough to be able to seal it and stop the dreadful dust we’ve put up with for the last few months. I honestly hadn’t expected to be doing that for months and consequently didn’t see any possibility of having a functioning studio for months, either. In fact the workmen told me later this afternoon that we should be able to move our office/studio things in on Wednesday of this week! How marvellous is that! Dearest husband can then get on with sorting out his server cupboard (he needs shelf space and storage as well as the electrician to finish off all the wiring), and I can get on with plumbing in the paper bath, acid bath and sinks and moving my press (hopefully for the last time). I may shortly be able to do some work

9 thoughts on “Origami

  1. So sorry about the job – encouraging thoughts coming your way. The cherry blossoms will look stunning, I hope your school realises how lucky they are to have you there putting up your hand. Great news that you'll get into the studio so soon, that must be very cheering.

  2. golly miss sara – what a monster post! it had me tossing and turning all night

    you touch on so many of the issues we girls/mothers/country-based/'craft' oriented/over-35/under-funded arteeests deal with… well at least this over-35/under-funded/crafty/country/mumma certainly relates to all the things you talk about….

    each day is a minefield of guilt ('oh no I'm neglecting my kids', 'oh no I'm not contributing enough to the family fund',' oh no I'm soooo selfish', 'oh no I'm a bad person/bad artist/ bad mother/ bad wife/ bad daughter/…….) well you know the guilt trip and emotional battlefield without me redrawing the picture…

    thanks so for sharing your feelings in such an open manner – its helpful to know that others share the hassles, headaches and heartaches…..

    sending good vibes your way xx

  3. Sara,
    I know how you feel. I too live in an area where jobs are few and far between but I won't apply for something that is 'just a job'. I think your desire is similar. Sometimes the discipline of paid work fuels the urge to spend free time being creative. It's a tricky balancing act if you can get work you enjoy. Chalk this one up to experience. You've learned from it what to put in your cv and letter next time and tell yourself it is their loss! Also, give yourself a pat on the back for asking for feedback. After being rejected not many people have the guts to do this. Good on you. Lesley.

  4. yes beautiful cherry blossoms. i have also been applying for jobs recently; want to quit my full time library job and go part-time but its proving difficult to get past interview stage, or even see a job out there right now that I can apply to! keep at it, something will come up.

  5. in Greek we have a saying for these situations and it has helped me in similar times… it expresses a belief that if something doesn't work out, it is for the best! This particular job is not yours because something better will happen! It was not meant to be, because something else BETTER is going to be… And I do believe it! Plus you learned something and you are going to apply it in all sorts of ways…
    So, best of luck for what you are seeking and also think of that other rhyme(?): I know I can, I am sure I can!

    Oh and the cherry blossoms are so very beautiful!

  6. Those cherry blossoms are gorgeous and I'm sure the school will look amazing!
    As for the job, I firmly believe that everything happens as it should, altho' it's hard to feel that way at times and your disappointment is obvious. I hope you can take pleasure from the potential in your wonderful new studio space and maybe it will help you in your search for a bit more financial security.

  7. …and being able to get back to work in the studio will clear those blues. I know your pain, and thanks for sharing it. You're on the road less travelled, and it gets a bit bumpy at times, but you're doing so well! Hang in there 🙂

  8. Hi Sara

    As others have said better than me -rejection is tough and seems worse when we have truly made a decision that we need to contribute to the finances and a half-way decent opportunity that lets you almost kind of dream and believe and imagine it being yours…ends up being someone else's. I love that the counterpoint is that you have moved into your home and that the studio might be ready earlier than you hoped. Keep breathing and making beautiful art that we all admire

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