Tuesday, November 02, 2010


I'm currently in a non-creative phase, but I'd rather call it a "resting" phase. I am still quilting the place mats, six more to quilt. Then I need to bind them.
After being sick with a cold for a couple of weeks, my personal training is jus tnow getting back to normal intensity. While good for me, it also means I am extremely tired a lot right now, as my body adjusts to working out so much again. Who knew weight training was SO tiring? Hopefully I will even out over the next week. (Hopefully I start going to bed earlier too, but....)

But....tomorrow marks the start of another retreat! So, getting to bed early probably isn't in the cards in the next couple nights! Fortunately, it looks like this weekend is pretty much a "free weekend" for me. I can't remember my last free weekend, so I'm excited!

I'm currently waiting to hear about two grant proposals I sent in, as well as an entry to Road To California, and a submission to Quilting Arts Magazine. I suspect that may be affecting my creativity to some degree. As though I have investments out, and am waiting to see the return of them.

There is also an internal conversation going on for me currently. I found myself starting to slip into the "what can I create that people will buy" mentality, and was reminded by two close friends, as well as a magazine, that I need to create art for myself not others. This sounds easy, but is it really?

Is that what I am missing? I have been trying to evaluate how often I have created pieces solely to make myself happy. I've been going through my pieces trying to determine which ones were done without a care for what others would think. Many of them, were done to experiement witha  new technique; using wool, needle felting, couching yarns, fiber layering. These are what I came up with:
Is there a difference to those pieces versus any of my others? I will be honest, I have only sold a few pieces this year, and all but one were small "affordable art" pieces in frames 8"x8" or smaller. The one larger piece wasn't even listed for sale, I was contacted by someone who saw it on a blog post.

I know a lot of people think it must be easy, and all fun to be a full time artist. I'm not complaining about being one either, I feel very fortunate to be able to devote myself full time to my art. I'm merely working through fears right now.

It's a little scary to devote yourself to something that in the end maybe you and your family will be the only ones to appreciate you've done. (Sometimes maybe only yourself!) I'm investing a lot of time in these things, and there is a chance I will never be able to make a living at it.

What does this mean? This means I am trying to find the courage to start teaching classes from my home. I'm working through the fear of trying to find people to take classes, of deciding what to teach, of no one wanting to take classes with me!

All of this though, has brought about the realization and acceptance that pretty much 99% of fear as an artist, is of not being good enough. Right now, I keep reminding myself that I am a trained graphic designer, and that in itself gives me the skills to teach the classes I want to teach. Now I need to just jump in the water, plan a class, and then try to find people to take it!

What about you? Have you had self doubts? Are you a teacher now, but started out afraid? Do you create art for just yourself, or do you find your thoughts polluted with "Will anyone like this"??


susan m hinckley said...

Hey, Stephanie -- I got to the end of your post and then realized you're in Eden Prairie. I'm in Apple Valley living a very similar life. Maybe we should get together and be afraid (or not) together.

Of course, creating for yourself is the best (and purest) but once you start selling, there's no way to avoid wondering whether or not something will sell if you make it. Which negatively impacts your creativity. Which fills you with doubt. I have no answers for you, but it sounds like you're on the right path. Just take a deep breath and . . . stitch on!

Sallie said...

I am a jack of all trades... master of none. I can do a multitude of things, but focusing on what I can create that someone will buy is sometimes very intimidating. I try to look at it as if... I like it, so they gotta like it. I guess that is wrong attitude if you want to sell something... you have to like it of course, but you have to be realistic about what others would like. I don't think I helped at all, but I can sympathize with where you are.

Cathy W said...

Self-doubt is a fixture of anything creative that I do! I'm just starting to toy with the idea of selling (at the prompting and suggestion of many), but the fear that it won't be "worth it" is real.

For what it's worth, 2 years ago when we had disposable income and were looking for art pieces, I would have bought the DaisyDay piece on the spot! I love it! Finances are a whole 'nother ball game now, so I have to settle for adding it to my Kaboodle list. I hope, for your sake, that it sells soon. For my sake, I hope it doesn't and I can magically find some moolah to purchase it myself! :-)