First. Craft show. Ever.
Took me years to muster up the courage to do this. It just took trying to conquer years of insecurity, lack of direction, and one spray painted iron board later WALA I spent 7 hours standing in front of my measly wares watching people respond to a variety of my work in real time.
Also did my first Open Studio. That felt less risky since I was doing it through the school I at teach at, so I was in my comfort zone in a sense. It was the first time EVER I had that much of my art work on display.
Between these two firsts I learned a couple of things.
- “Huh. That is so interesting…and unique”. Definitely not the worst feedback but definitely the MOST COMMON. My goal of looking at things in a new perspective seemed to come across, but almost to my detriment. People could appreciate the creativity but they didn’t know how to categorize it, or if they would ever use or need it. Mostly people liked telling me how much potential they think I have and about their own work. Which is totally fine but definitely a, “good to know”, moment in figuring out where I am.
Reign it in crazy lady. It is definitely a Eyetrade Handmade’s side effect to be a little all over the place. My passion is in experimenting and the communication created by the actual process. That leaves me a little bit all of the map. I get a lot of, “so what do you do?” and not knowing how to answer. Experimenting with crafting is not the most comfortable answer in a trying to make money scenario. I need to find a sweet spot. The compromise niche that includes my love of experiment and altered perspective but also includes consistent, digestible work. People go to the same restaurants for a reason. I am the first person so say there is comfort in knowing what is going on. I need to give people a comfortable starting point to experience my work.
- Salable finishing. I have been sewing for over 10 years and have a great love for when the inside or your garment looks almost as good as the outside of your garment. There is a special joy in proper finishing. Where I never thought to apply this is my art work. Creating consistent work is a new thing for me. A just-happened-over-the-last-three-years new thing. For a lot of reasons. Mostly revolving around stuff that was helped by anti-depressants and weekly therapy. Getting to the point of self-motivated resilience where I can see a project through from concept to completion and not end up hating it and myself is VERY new. I am an experimenter so one thing I finally came to terms with is I am going to do everything three times before I start to like it….and that is ok. Since I have been spending all this time on accurately and visually creating my concepts, I was putting no thought into someone actually wanting to buy it. I need to think about how it looks from the back, how to hang it (janky wrapped wire doesn’t inspire someone to pay $800), if the back is full of nails how will that effects someone’s wall, etc. Also about more affordable prints. Making my artwork accessible is not a bad thing. Just a really time-consuming-hard-to-figure-out thing.
- Talking about my art work is HARD. It is so personal that talking about it with anyone (but mostly strangers in this case) makes me feel vulnerable in a very uncomfortable way. I do have some interactive ideas that use my love of teaching to put me at ease. But actually SELLING my work …is go-n-a take work.
Regroup and recoup time! Learning experiences people, learning experiences. Let’s see what I do next…