Kathleen Dustin shares her struggles as a polymer artist in her most recent post. For years she’s enjoyed great success following the advice of a professor who encouraged her to “Make your work personal.”

“But, now I’m at a standstill. Where do I go from here?” she asks. “I want to still make my work personal, but am struggling with how to do that right now.”

“Art is hard work,” she concludes. Read her post here.

  • reply m.e. ,

    Kathleen’s post is a MUST READ!
    thank you so much for the link !
    m.e. 🙂

    • reply Cynthia Clayworth ,

      I just went to Kathleen’s web site! Absolutely unbelievable! Beyond beautiful!!!

      • reply Ronna Sarvas Weltman ,

        I think her struggle is the reason why she’s such a wonderful artist. Her work isn’t just about making things; it’s about saying something through art. Sometimes we talk and sometimes we listen. Artists go through listening phases — listening to outside voices, listening to the little voices within — and it’s hard to make art at those times. What’s annoying is there are still gallery orders to fill, still a public who wants to see “what’s new.” Sometimes before the new, comes the quiet of nothing. The challenge is to not see it as being stuck, but see it as a time of reflection. If you aren’t growing, changing, questioning your work, then what makes you an artist?

        • reply Dede Leupold ,

          We personally go through many changes and phases in our life that sometimes its is hard to follow it around to reflect that in our art! Especially the kind of wonderful art that Kathleen is doing. I appreciated her thoughts on in her blog. thanks for the link!

          • reply carissa ,

            My respect for her (already considerable) has now jumped to an even higher level. How hard it is for most of us to apply the word ‘artist’ to ourselves. How harder still to admit to feelings that we all have at times but usually assume that ‘artists’ do not. How wonderful to know that the struggle is universal as is the desire to create and have it mean something.

            Kathleen, you shared so much with us at your workshop with the Columbus, Ohio Guild.
            By your hands, your heart and your head you inspire others with the desire to explore and make their own personal statement.
            I wish you well on your journey……may it never end.

            • reply Randee M Ketzel ,

              I read this several days ago and it struck such a chord–this is precisely what I feel like on an almost daily basis–and I think so many polymer artists feel the same way. Part of it, I am sure, is that we are working a groundbreaking medium–one that has itself struggled so hard for respect. As women, we often tend to rush to reassure, to validate–and to Kathleen I would say, your work needs no justification; it is the standard to which we all point when we want someone to understand the heights to which this medium can be taken. But beyond that I would also say, nurture your doubt–I suspect it is the wellspring of your greatest creativity.

              • reply Jeannie ,


                I have NO WORDS. Her gallery just blew me away. I’m curious how the grass purse opens.

                • reply Sabine Spiesser ,

                  An artists struggle is part of growth, sharing the emotion makes what follows just so much more personal. we all go through phases where work and ideas just flow and others where we are stuck in contemplation, where we need to get out of our comfort zone and explore new territory, whether this involves a holiday in a different place or experimenting with a new technique. I’ve just had the privilege of travelling to a place and experiencing the source of other artist’s inspiration. No doubt this will influence my art in some way some time. It certainly opened my eyes to other possibilities, my brain just needs to assimilate and integrate this into previous experiences. Eventually something personal will come of it. I need to be patient, and so may everyone entering a phase of personal contemplation. It is easy to churn out work on a large scale, it is very hard to make each piece meaningful. I am looking forward to what next Kathleen presents us with, whenever and whatever that may be.

                  • reply Judith Burke ,

                    Kathleen, you are right. Art IS hard work, and never so much as when you’re not sure it is going to turn out right. As we go through life changes, our art reflects our life..and instead of portraying death, perhaps it is time to portray renewal, rebirth. Finding the form will be difficult. As I am coping with widowhood, I find it hard to feel passion for any of the things that used to interest me. But each day, the creative part wakes up a bit more. There is so much more beauty waiting to be expressed.

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