Katherine Gingrich

Gingrich's Fiber & Metal Art

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Somebody That I Used to Know

There's a deep dichotomy in me. I've always wanted to be an artist and yet, I've run from it all of my life. I loved to draw as a kid. I drew on everything from paper bags to scraps of paper. Art was always my secret vice. I continued to create through grade school, then middle school, high school, college, and finally graduate school.

I struggled in graduate school. Not with the work. I struggled with the politics of being a woman in an engineering field dominated by men. Everywhere I worked, I dealt with denigrating comments and actions. It was brutal and I finally reached my breaking point. With the support of my husband, I walked away. Away from a lucrative career. Away from the pursuit of my PhD. Away from the only life I had ever envisioned for myself.

Overnight, I became an artist. An artist without formal training. An artist with a lot to learn. I built my company year by year. It was hard -- much harder than I imagined. Busy show schedules. Keeping one step ahead of people copying my work. But, for the first time in my life, I was happy. At least until 2008.

When the stock market crashed, people stopped buying art. I tried to wait it out. I finally caved and picked up part-time jobs that quickly morphed into a full-time jobs. That wasn't what I had in mind. For the first time since kindergarten, I stopped creating. Art would have to wait. I was making real money again. My last job was at Dale Music. The owner retired and we were all let go.

I am an artist once again. My hiatus demolished the company I had built; so, I'm starting over. A lot has changed for artists in my absence. Attendance at shows has dropped. A lot of the galleries and stores that carried my work have closed. I need a new online strategy to stay afloat.

I started exploring social media channels. I opened up my dormant LinkedIn account and there in front of me was my former life: business contacts from my life as an engineer. It was a jarring discovery: staring at the life of somebody that I used to know. I sometimes wish I was still that person. I wish I could have loved that life. But I couldn't. I left it behind and moved on. I am an artist now.

For me, art is such a personal thing. It seems wrong to market it online. I like that one-to-one approach. I learn so much by talking to my clients and non-clients alike. That's hard to do that online. This blog is an attempt to connect my art to people in a way that is more personal than a virtual storefront.

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