Last weekend I was a vendor for the first time in my life at the Tacoma Is For Lovers craft fair. I was selling my originally designed earrings and I even designed my display table complete with spray painted twigs to hang the earrings on. I decided to participate mainly because I wanted to try something new and to do something that I was a bit intimidated to do, sell my craft. What I learned was more than I bargained for.
I was originally thinking, “I’ll go and maybe sell ALL of my stuff and pocket the earnings and live a life of self inflated ego trips like the rest of my crafty sisters. Or maybe I’ll just sell half of my 50 plus pairs and, in the end, never do it again but enjoy the experience of it all. What really happened was that some people bought, most didn’t. I sold some stuff and met some great people but really, I had a pretty quiet two days.
I’ve been writing for years now as well as showing my photographs and a lot of what I write and shoot gets a great response from people who read or see my work, so I’ve felt fairly comfortable and encouraged with my artistic expression. But when people don’t want your art it takes a huge hit on your ego and you MUST maintain the right self talk or it totally deflates you. I had to conclude that my jewelry wasn’t for everyone and my display was pretty rustic compared to some of the more pro crafters. Also, I’m not good at marketing myself, I tend to feel like a used car salesman when people pass by and I have to comment on their scarves or sweaters in order to get them to look at my work. “Oh, I love that sweater. Where did you get it? Really? Well what do you think of this color to go with that beautiful sweater?” It feels phony. But “phony” sold one women a whack load of jewelry.
I kept imagining how other artists must feel when they throw themselves out there. Crafting is definitely art. There were some amazing creations at the event! But people who put out a project whether it’s their music, an album, a movie, a painting, a book…whatever it is, if people don’t want it, even if you think it’s the best you’ve ever done, you have to wrestle through what it does to your emotions and you have to make a decision: “Am I done trying to create or shall I continue to make more art?”
I love what Glen Hansard says after he won the Oscar for the movie Once. If you’ve ever seen The Commitments you know he had a small and slow start to his music which began a long, long time ago. On the stage at the Oscars he ends his speech with simply saying, “Make art! Make art!” So tonight I went back to the drawing board, literally. I grabbed a photo that I took of my daughter dancing in the living room and it’s such a lovely shot of her that I drew it. I even hung it on the wall. I’m even thinking of doing another craft fair in February but this time I think I’ll skip the spray painted twigs and I’ll put a little more effort into my own art.
Very inspiring. Happy Thanksgiving, readers. Make art!