Jenny Strohm is a mosaic artist who recently took that daring leap of pursing her art, Reclaimed Designs, full-time, here she shares her experience and how it's been going.
Last December, after nearly 30 years of being employed in various jobs as a Registered Nurse, I decided to take a hiatus. My emotional state was becoming more important than the money that I earned, so I decided to follow my heart’s desire; to work full-time creating and selling my handmade mosaics. With a savings of less than I had planned on, and with the complete support of my family, I took the plunge.
The first couple of months were exhilarating. I was ecstatically happy and confident. I was consumed with creativity and my every ounce of energy went into prolifically producing mosaics and posting them daily in my etsy shop. With all of the hard work that I was doing, I was disappointed to have only made a couple of etsy sales, however I remained positive.
I joined Bliss co-op in Sugar Loaf, placed my mosaics in Karmabee in Kingston, participated in a show at Cornell Street Studios in Kingston, joined The Treehouse in New Paltz, and had a few pieces accepted on consignment into Hudson Valley Finds and at Bumble and Hive, both in Rhinebeck. I started an etsy vintage shop and due to a surprising amount of sales, my energy seemed to shift away from my etsy mosaic shop.
After four months of working for myself, I can say that I am content with my accomplishments so far. My profits have been tiny, but satisfying. Sometimes I wonder if I can keep up the momentum and the creative juices flowing. What I miss the most is having the comfort of a steady paycheck. I rarely get lonely, although I do get restless for a change of environment at times. When that happens, I have the luxury of being able to take a walk, or a nap, or a drive somewhere and there is no time clock running. This is my job now, and in order to make it work, I have to keep pushing on. There are so many opportunities still yet to pursue, and I have to get my etsy mosaic shop running again.
I know that it would be very difficult to return to the rigid and structured environment of a “real” job, so I frequently remind myself how lucky I am at this time in my life. I am fortunate to have a husband who is able support us financially. Hopefully my good fortune will last, my profits will get larger, and I can continue to work for myself.
Jenny will have some of her artwork displayed at Passion for Fashion at Cornell St Studios in Kingston, NY starting this Saturday May 12th.