This week marked a huge milestone for me. I actually posted my fiber art for sale on my site. Struggling against some still yet to be resolved tech issues (hello, Mercury retrograde) and a deep probing session with an awesome business/life coach, I hit the publish button anyway. Done. Two scarves are now live (here and here). The start of my online portfolio, where you can see how as a fiber artist, I explore textiles using my yarn. It was a big moment of pride for me even if that moment was filled with anxiety over the fear of being judged. I even wrote a blog post that spoke of the struggle I had pricing my work fairly based on the basic math of my cost + the value of my time. All in all, it felt awesome.
And you know what… that evening, I got an email judging my decision to share my work. Yep. My worst fear came true.
But you know what… I survived. I did not burst into flames. In fact my knee jerk reaction was, no… no no NO! NOT an option. Lookie there. I just got an opportunity to test my resolve.
You may remember this article from a few month ago. So, here I am, where the rubber meets the road, faced with living my own advice.
I am so grateful.
Not because I agree with the business advice (which I do not — tomato, tomatoe…whatever), but because I would like to think this sucker punch was meant to be delivered in the spirit of kindness. What I got was a chance to look at my resolve. Which on that evening was screaming so loud in my head.
YES! Showing my work is part of my why I make art.
I understand not everyone will like my work and I am okay with that. Just please do not tell me I am wasting my time.
Once, I was teaching a knitting class for children. There was a little girl in my class who had picked out an awesome hot pink skein of Noro yarn. She was so alive and bubbly as we sat in the group, laughing and talking while knitting. As she held up her scarf, all of her class mates were laughing at how uneven and crooked her scarf was. It was misshapen and full of holes. And absolutely beautiful. It was so interesting and lively it reminded me so much of her bubbly outgoing personality. Think about it. This was 13 years ago, and I am still remembering that awesome scarf. It was a beautiful expression of that little girl.
The image above is not her scarf. I wish so bad I had a picture of that scarf, but her textile has inspired some of my work. The texture was just awesome.
I swear, I will never tell you, you are wasting your time making art.
You will always be good enough to make art. Not everyone will like your stuff and that is ok. Your voice matters. Your art is your visual language. Think of all the cultural art that tell the stories of ancient cultures. I know you may not think a scarf is a cultural icon, but think of how you feel and the memories that come up when you look at your work years later. In a public sense art is the same thing. Your voice contributing to culture, no matter how small. How awesome is that?
Don’t be afraid to show your work. I did, I was judged and in the end found a beautiful insight into my heart and a new resolve to keep keeping on. I know it can be scary to be so vulnerable. But, know that I stand behind you no matter where you are in your artistic journey. I mean that for everyone of you. And while the work is about your heart and not the money, do not hesitate to really calculate the true value of your time and expertise. Devaluing art is such a horrible culture to overcome.
My question for you… Has someone ever made you feel like your work was not good enough? Share below in the comments or privately if you prefer. I want to have the opportunity to respond to you with loving encouragement.
Hey, please please please continue to share pictures of your work with me. Your work inspires me so much.