Four years ago I dropped everything to pursue a dream. Quit my job in the 9-5, started making glass pipes, and now I've been nominated as one of the top artists in my niche. For those in the know, I'm GingerELA. AMA.
UPDATE #2: Thank you everyone for the kind words. They mean a lot to me, especially on the down days when all the self-doubts creep in. I really truly hope this post has inspired those of you who need that push; a lifetime is a long time to be miserable. To everyone who's putting their work out there whether you're starting out or well-established: publishing your work is an incredibly vulnerable thing to do and takes a whole lot of courage. That makes you a goddamn HERO. Ignore the haters -- inside and out -- and keep rockin' it. I'm outski.
UPDATE: Hey, wow. WAY more questions than I can keep up with. Need to eat a couple tacos for strength then I'll be back to answer more!
Proof. If you don't know anything yet about the glass pipe scene, watch this. It is straight up a new American folk art movement. Edit: direct link to film's website here. Backstory under my old username. I'll comment with that username in a minute.
Since I posted that comment two years ago, I have:
been interviewed for a book coming out next year called "Inspiration in Glass"
quit reddit for the better part of a year ...twice
teamed up with Dime Bags to collab on a line of GingerELA hemp pouches (coming out soon)
been nominated Best Female Artist of 2012 in the Functional Glass Industry Awards (think Oscars of glass pipes)
decided to break out into the world of design and started a Kickstarter for my first design that got public traction (ending in a handful of days)
been approached by Fab.com to feature my non-pipe designs
been told I am a feminist icon and an instrumental role model in many changed lives, which I can hardly believe but makes me simultaneously proud and embarrassed.
Dreams are a moving target so you better enjoy the journey.
My greatest asset and worst enemy is one and the same: my impatience.
Ground rules: I probably won't answer anything that will get me in trouble, either socially or legally. ;)
I tell ya, this has been one hell of a ride. AMA.
edit: formatting, beh. edit #2: A lot of y'all are asking how to get started in glass pipes, and I wish I could answer each one of you personally. I've written some comprehensive answers in the comments, but in essence The Melting Pot forum is a great resource, and Glasscraft is a solid company with good people and offers both live and online workshops with established artists in this industry.