Identity

**I will return to The Price of Expertise and money-related issues with 10,000 Hours soon.**

As I found myself spending a Saturday night in my studio carving a dragon head out of cushion foam for Into the Night Sea… I mourned the part of me that used to know how to operate a printing press; the part of me that carved blocks, etched copper, and mixed ink. I used to be a printmaker. And that was a simple title.

Now, my label is interdisciplinary artist; to which even other artists reply, “So, yeah, uh, what do you do?” Not an easy question to answer. Sometimes I knit, sometimes I tweet, sometimes I draw, sometimes I take pictures, sometimes I wield a can of spray-paint or sit in mixing sessions making endless notes about “warmth & reverb.” 10,000 Hours has lead me far out of my comfort zone in a myriad of ways. I approach all of my work now with a “what needs to happen and what are the materials I have to work with” mentality. So far, the projects I’ve worked on since completing my master’s have not required a printing press.

I can’t say that it was 10,000 Hours alone that lead me away from the print room. I started the project concurrent with my exit from academia, but perhaps the exit from academia itself was, in fact, my exit from the single discipline. 10,000 Hours just happened at the same time.

I turned to my husband and said, “Carving this dragon is giving me a bit of an identity crisis.”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“I miss being a printmaker.”

“Oh, you miss carving things?”

“No, I miss having an easy identity.”

Ripping the identity out from under my feet was part of the point of starting 10,000 Hours. Identity is not a static thing and sometimes it is changed on us suddenly without our consent. I started 10,000 Hours. I was a willing participant. Even so, I sometimes miss the feeling of walking into a room of printmakers and feeling a camaraderie.

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