Friday, March 25, 2011

maker of art. not seller.

It’s been far too long since I’ve made any new art.  I moved, then was super sick(pregnant), then super pregnant and then had a baby, and now my time is in high demand from these two kiddos. Plus, I have this blog, which I really enjoy. This leaves my etsy shop  rather neglected, collecting virtual dust.
Here’s the thing.
I love making art…. BUT
I don’t enjoy trying to sell it.  I’m not a marketer.  I’m not a seller.  I just like creating things.  I like sewing. I like painting. I like designing. I like knitting.  But I really don’t like trying to tell other people why they need what I make.  If you love it and you want it, you would know.  No clever arrangement of words could convince you of this. Truthfully, if you have to be convinced that you want something, you don’t really want it at all.  In a perfect world, I would hire someone to market and sell my art, but that’s not going to happen any time soon, unless they would accept compensation in coffee and baked goods.
The idea of spending my limited free time spreading the word about my work, across the endless trails of social networking makes me feel crazy, and not in a good way. It actually makes me less creative, when I’m trying to be something that I really know I’m not.  And as an artist it is important to be aware of the obstacles that block your creative flow and get them out of the way.
The creative journey is ever changing.  Not everything you stumble across is meant to be a permanent part of your craft.  A few years ago, when I had my little boy, I started making these cute little giraffe toys.  Originally, they were going to be gifts, then I thought, I could sell these and I did, for a while.  But, if I just wanted to sew up the same thing in different color combinations time after time, I could find a job in a sweatshop.  I designed some postcards, which was super fun, but when I got caught up in thinking about selling them on a larger scale, I stopped coming up with good designs.  In the winters, I knit and sell scarves, but when the knitting turns into how fast can I do this, how many can I make… I stop enjoying it, plus it hurts my fingers.  And that brings me to my art.  
I’ve written many times about why I create, I am an artist.  I believe that a piece of art can move you, it can inspire you, it can refresh you and it can help you connect to your maker, the grandest artist, God.  Art is a way of life.  Years ago, Banana Republic used this line in their ad campaign, Finding the art in everyday.  It’s my motto.  It’s how I see the world, as a masterpiece created to inspire, challenge, and encourage us.  This is what makes me feel the most alive.  Trying to be a seller of art causes me to feel the opposite.
I’ve considered closing my etsy shop before, but always stalled at the idea that it couldn’t hurt to just keep it open.  I would say, if I sold something, great, if not, okay.  But, I don’t want to do anything half-heartedly, that’s the worst.  The shop has become just that.  As if, I must keep up the façade that I am actually interested in selling, branding, marketing, and such.  Would I just love to bring in some income because of my art? SURE. Yes. OF COURSE.  But, I think it’s time to let this part go.
How do I know it’s the right time to close up shop?  Well, in the past two days that I have been considering/battling this idea, I have felt more inspired than I have in ages.  AGES.  I almost feel the ideas swirling around in my head.  I’ve started seeing things in an artistic way again. You know, when an idea makes something flutter inside your soul… when you see an image that floods you with a refreshing breath of air.  That’s the kind of stuff that is happening again and I’ve missed that.
I’ve heard this saying several different ways, sometimes you have to let go of the good to make room for the best.  That’s where I am now.  I could keep up the little shop drudgingly, or I could let it go and discover what is next for my art.  I’m choosing the latter and risking, well, hardly anything.  (Except I’ll be a blogger without an etsy shop. Gasp.) I would rather be an artist who actually makes art.
Thanks for your support of my little online shop, it does mean the world to me.  I’m keeping it open until the end of March, in case you want to purchase a print or original painting.  I’d be happy to send it your way.
What about you friends, have you ever had to let something go, to make room for something better, in a creative sense?  Are you scared to make the cut?  What have you go to lose? What could you gain?


  1. I totally understand what you're saying. I love painting... or, at least I used to. I had these brilliant ideas and couldn't wait to start "birthing" them onto my canvas. Then I started doing art shows. I did three. The first one was a hot, nervous blast. The second one was not-great-drama-filled fun. The third one was mediocre drudgery. It zapped me of all of my creative energy towards painting. I even moved all of my paintings and unused canvases to my office closet because I felt overwhelming, uncomfortable pressure just looking at them. I also sold one of my most favorite paintings I've ever done. I'm still kicking myself for that one. It was a while after I sold it that I realized that selling a painting isn't all it's cracked up to be. I sold a terrific work of art to someone who might still appreciate it, or who might have it buried in the clutter of their garage after changing their home decor.

    One day, I'll get back to painting. One day. When the desire to hold a paintbrush in my hand and mix together an array of colors just so, overcomes me to the point I can't say no anymore.

    I also haven't made any jewelry in a while. I've lost the interest in it. But with the flickering of the flames at this creative outlet, I'm seeing the roar of a new fire in other ones. I'm LOVING my blog and writing. I'm loving the extra time I have to read and to go for walks. And I'm loving playing around with felt to make mobiles and headbands. So, while I still feel some guilt for abandoning my paintings in my office closet; I'm relishing that my creative spirit is still growing and changing, instead of laying dormant within me, choked by outside pressures.

    Sorry... I got carried away... I told you... the writer in me is alive in full force. ;)

    Good for you, in realizing that the path for some, is not the path for all. :)

    You're friend,

  2. I so relate to this (as you know from our conversation Monday) but just wanted to let you know takes guts to do art and however it works to let it out, do THAT. You're great at everything you do, so just have fun with it.


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