You know…I’ve struggled with blogging as of late. There are a couple of reasons, but mostly just feeling “stale” in my thoughts. I try to make lists of things to chat about, and trust me, I do not lack for things on my list. I guess it is just a matter of feeling like someone might want to read what I write, that anyone would value my thoughts. After all, I am just like the rest of you, a struggling artist trying to make a living at what I love.
I did a show this last weekend, and actually it wasn’t a huge show, but just a local festival, the Texas Wine and Art Festival. I have done this festival for four years, with a break in there when we lived in Florida for a year. It has always been an absolutely wonderful show for me from the get-go, and has always yielded me some of my greatest sales. Not only that, but I have met some wonderful people and wonderful friends. Some of us have booths next to each other every year, and all of us hug and chat when we see each other.
What I want to relay in this message is this: I have been weaving wire for four years now, and it is starting, finally, to be more than just a love for me. Not only am I making money at it (not huge money. Don’t get me wrong.), but I am starting to see return customers. And even more importantly, I am seeing people who truly appreciate the art that I represent. I see the real love for what I do. I get so excited when I hear someone remark that they have never seen anything like my work, or that they love the designs and the neatness, or that they just can’t live without a piece for their collection. I also love to see that husband set down his credit card when he sees his wife fall in love with that special piece of jewelry she would just love to have. Many wives or girlfriends have walked out of my booth with tears in their eyes. How can I not want to be a part of that???
Have I struggled? You bet!! I’ve struggled to the point of giving up all together. Many a time have I sat in tears, wondering if I should just give it all up. After all, what I do is not cheap. Wire and stones are all expensive, and to keep stock so I can keep working at a consistent pace is a struggle, as well. Many of you may be chuckling at this point, because you know that I am a complete and utter cabochon addict and know I will never ever run out of stones to wrap! But, like anything, there are costs to what I (we) love to do.
I thank God every day that I have a husband that supports my love for art, and it doesn’t hurt that he is also an artist. Not everyone is as fortunate as I am. Not every artist can do shows, and not all of us display our work as we should to get the kudos we all deserve.
My recommendation to you all, whether you display your work or not, is to keep on keeping on. If you love what you do and want to keep doing it, check out your local art galleries. You would be surprised at how many are more than willing to not only display your work, but to sell it for you. I know it’s a big step for some of you, but it will help your confidence level to do so. It doesn’t mean you will sell tons, but it doesn’t mean you won’t, either. Can’t afford a tent? No biggie. Find some shows that are inside, and not all shows are expensive. Shoot, I have to save money just to accumulate enough to do the shows I do! You can do it, too. Whatever it takes, right?
And it depends on where your gallery is at. Tourist areas are the best, because out-of-towners like to take something home with them that reminds them of their trip. I have some work in a local gallery and don’t sell a lot there, but once in a while a piece or two goes home with a new owner. It’s the exposure and the wonderful feeling I get when something finds a new home! Getting a check translates not only into money, but into the pleasure of knowing someone else valued my work. I also have work in a rock shop some miles away, just as another suggestion.
My point is, don’t give up. If you are struggling, put your work in a shop somewhere and value your own work. If you don’t, no one else will. This was probably the most difficult thing for me to absorb…that I was worth it…that my work was worth it. The struggle builds character, and character creates value. Not just the value in your work, but the value in yourself. Value yourself. Feel good about YOU, not just about what you do, but if it takes valuing your work first, start there. Then, let it seep into your soul until you can place value in yourself.