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Friday, May 18, 2012

Breaking Through...


As you know, or may know, I offer creativity coaching, and work as a volunteer mentor for people starting their own businesses.  I've got a background in personnel and self development, so I hope I'm fairly good at helping people to work out what they want, and how to get it.  That's particularly important in a small business, because you are often your only resource.  One of the most important things a coach can do is get you to listen to yourself, to what you and others are saying (often about you and your business), and work out what that means.  I'm currently working with another textile artist, and we came to a somewhat unexpected conclusion to what her business might actually be.  In reaching that conclusion, I said to her that the word people use about me and my work most often is 'inspirational', but that sadly, they never seemed to actually buy the work. 

On the way home, I was reminded of a Facebook conversation between myself, Annabel Rainbow and Felicity Griffin Clark, about the making and selling of work.  Annabel's comment (and I paraphrase wildly...) was that you either made work to sell or you made the work you needed to make, but the two didn't often go together.  That rang in my mind with the comment about being 'inspirational' (you, of course, may have another word to describe me...feel free to add it to the comments, I'm always interested in feedback).  And suddenly, it all clicked together in my mind.  I may have to make the work...but I don't have to sell it.  I don't have to do anything, really, except what I want to do.  What do I want to do?  I want to inspire people...it's what I seem to do best.  Perhaps the nicest thing anyone said about me  was that when I was on form, everybody around me changed their lives for the better.  That's what I love most.  Much of the art I make, is to illustrate a point for something or someone...like the Spunbond Sensations! blog, which is predominately a teaching blog, which I hope, eventually, will become a community. 

This feels like a huge breakthrough.  My art is important to me, and I won't stop doing it (actually, I don't think I could),  but the pressure of working to sell is something I just don't need.  I would rather enable others to do what I do.  I want to make up some kits using spunbonded fabrics, and others using hand dyes, for people who would like to try working with these things, but aren't quite sure where to start.  Enough 'stuff' for the project, and full instructions.  Hurrah!  I feel so much better about things now... sometimes, all you need is to listen to yourself...and the feedback you're getting.   Phew.

4 comments:

Heidi Rand said...

Seems like that's what you've been doing with your books all along, right? So listening to yourself is recognizing that teaching and inspiring is paramount to you rather than selling your own pieces? It is so hard to sell artwork, and has gotten harder in recent years. But yes, there's always a great need for good and inspiring teachers!

Connie Rose said...

I almost never sell stuff anymore -- except for the occasional fabric that I've created -- although I still post a few things now and then on my sales blog. As far as marketing my work anymore -- I just don't do it and I won't do it. My art is changing -- actually, every few years I seem to morph into another medium whether I plan to or not -- and trying to sell my work has held me back, besides bringing up a whole raft of issues I don't want to have to deal with anymore because they keep me from making art and growing as an artist.

Gem said...

Need to book me some sessions I think! Haven't got a clue what I want to do!

marianne said...

i think that i can't make art that i think will sell, but when i make art that sings from my heart it does sell. it may take time to find the right home, but it often does. i don't rely on art to pay the bills, so i have the luxury or creating what i am moved to create, but there is still nothing cooler to me than knowing a piece is going home with someone who really loves it, who will smile when they look at something i made.