"Whaddaya you do for a living?" asks the clerk in her American drawl, without looking at me.
When I get this question I always wish there was an easy answer, some simple keystroke like in the relationship status options on Facebook.
"It's complicated," I say. She sighs.
I start in about how I was a journalist but then quit to go into full-time Fine Arts studies, then after graduation I got a studio and am now developing an art practice and doing work for upcoming projects... and stop as her eyes fall to half-mast. We go back and forth for a while like this when she announces: "I'm gonna put you down as housewife."
Even though I've always been self-supporting I decide not to waste my breath defending my non-conforming life choices. But really, I'm using the best skills I have to be a contributing member of society and I'm grateful to be a part of the ever-expanding, borderless community of crafters, craftivists and visual artists, all connected beyond language by hand-making for peace of mind and social, political connection.
One of my pieces is currently at home among the works of 20 spinners, weavers, felters, quilters, garment designers, knitters, rug-hookers and others in a current Gulf Island fibre-arts show. Some of those sharing their work self-identify as artists and some as specific kind of makers but all of our pieces hang together in conversation, sparking more conversation and more ideas among visitors.
This exhibition is another reminder that craft is embedded in deeply-personal making activity, the tactility of the culturally-rich materials and the creative communities we live in.
I reject that line of questioning. And I am not married to a house.