Monday, September 20, 2010

I Need A Wife Too

Janis Mars Wunderlich, ceramic artist, and mother of five.

I'm sitting here this morning with a head full of to do's: stack wood, gather kindling, wash and hang out the laundry, pick up the house, scrub bathrooms, process tomatoes, make and freeze batches of basil, sort mail, plan and make supper, tend to my Etsy business...

It's a gorgeous day, and I have the luxury of being home to do these things. Tomorrow will be a studio day when I drive to Portland and get to focus, for a few hours, entirely on my art. Our children are grown and flown, and my husband, who works full time as a hospital pharmacist, helps a bit with the housework and alot with the cooking responsibilities. I now have the opportunity to balance home and art. (It hasn't always been this way - I've struggled mightily to make it so. These are internal and external struggles...) Yet I still experience inertia and conflict, and often feel guilty packing up and heading to the studio, when there is "more productive" work to be done at home. And there are still days when I wonder what it would be like to have no domestic responsibilities - to awake like Picasso, and know that my wife has already peddled her bike to the studio to get the fire going in the woodstove, and that she will make all my meals and clean my house, and to grab paints and clay first thing in the morning (not frying pans and wash rags) and to start creating, and to create all day, everyday. (And to know that just my signature will fetch thousands of dollars would be pretty damn sweet, too!!!)

(Would I even want this, though? Do I need the domestic to anchor me? Or is that me rationalizing my conditioned life and what is expected of me??)

I need a wife too is one of the discussion topics in the Who Does She Think She Is? home party pack that I recently ordered on-line. I plan to show the DVD at MECA soon, and host a discussion. There are many more provocative questions posed on a set of enclosed cards, such as this one:

What would be lost if you lived your dream?


artslice said...

Hmmmn, what would it be like to have a wife doing all the scut work for you? I've never quite thought of it on those daily levels. Very interesting question... will be pondering it today while cleaning up after the dogs, kids etc.

Love that movie - should get my own copy to watch when I'm going thru the 'bad patches' of 'why do I bother chasing the dream of being a sucessful artist?'

KaHolly said...

I've often said that I need a wife, too. But you know, I face the same internal conflict. I'm now in a position to do what I want to do and sometimes I feel as though it's wrong and I'm bad and I feel guilty...etc.. But says who? When we are gone from this earth, what difference will it make? Certainly there are sacrifices. Sometimes consequences. Everything seems to come at a price. But should it?

martha miller (it's all art) said...

hi brenda ~ yes, ponder that! it's a great film! comes with some beautiful art cards, companion guide and poster! happy artmaking!

martha miller (it's all art) said...

hi karen ~ good question! here's another: what unspoken agreements have you made with your loved ones that make it hard to get to your work?

Susan Beauchemin said...

What would be lost if I lived my dream?----------First I guess, I should know what my dream is! I think I try to live a bit of my dream everyday (things I love to do)---don't think I'd want to live it every minute-----and I don't want a wife--she'd be getting in my way---I'd want the organized part of myself to run without getting hung up on emotions and feelings and such.
But maybe I wouldn't want that either---I should be careful what I wish for!

HMCraig said...

This is a topic that I have been ruminating upon as of late. I daydreamed about getting an assistant of sorts.

Currently, I am pondering leading a more 'minimalist' lifestyle. I think I would like to cut the fat from the meat, so to speak. I have found, like many, that 'domestic duties' are taking up more space in my home and mind than I should permit them to.

I've already had to edit down my life due to a brain injury. I only have enough energy to deal with what *really* matters to me (painting and family, mostly). Now, I look around at my house and wonder... why do we need this widget? or that thingamabob?

Living my dream, I am losing "things".

Dean Grey said...

But isn't the struggle part of the dream?