I wanted to share a bit of wisdom a friend shared with me a few weeks back. I was telling her how I've been sensing a darkening in the overall collective human psyche, a bloodthirsty regression. Not necessarily in my circles, but "out there", and in myself. Publicly denouncing real life violence while hungrily consuming it in entertainment. My work inspiration waning to nothing. And sadly, the suspicion that making pretty things in this increasingly overcrowded and hard world is a frivolous use of my time, a non-skill. But here's what she helped me see (in my words). That art and beauty were of and for the light. That creativity is a weapon against the dark. In a darkening world, the light needs its fighters more than ever. That artists are a different kind of warrior, but warriors nonetheless. Low income, obscurity, and criticism are the blows the dark will strike against me. And it knocked me down HARD last year. And it will continue to do so. There is no "my year" on the horizon and no cavalry. Time to redefine badass.
The value of what I do along with the value of handmade in general have been weighing heavily on my mind lately. There is much talk of "educating" the public about its value despite being sometimes higher priced than mass produced stuff. I always felt a little icky about some of the pro handmade rhetoric in that it often seems defensive. Like it's not selling itself, but trying to justify itself. (Skilled labor, hours invested, environmentally conscious, etc.) But I had a conversation with someone this evening that gave me some new perspective. It started out with her complimenting my hair flower, and then my hand knitted wristband, and a skirt I rigged a decade ago, and so on. As we conversed I started to realize that everything I had on and with me had its own story. I felt afterwards not clothed and accessorized with material things but with stories and histories. It blew open the window for me on the true wealth and rare luxury of my handmade posessions and how they connected me with extraordinary people. And contrary to my self depricating assumption that these stories had to be tres-unusual and moving to be marketable, they really dont. My story is unique, but it's a visual one not fit for verbal sales pitches. Not everyone will "get" it. And I'm so done feeling bad about it. Those of you who "see" it and "get" it, consider yourself elite and posessing of sophisticated taste.
This is a very important read for all artists and organizers! Spread the word!
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Many times at shows I get asked, "Did you make all these, or do you buy the flowers?". To which I say, "No, I hand fold every petal like origami from individually cut squares of fabric, trim and pin them, then sew them together and glue them closed, and finish with a vintage button." If one didn't know better, one might think I was being facetious.
Wow what an awesome weekend at Strange Folk Festival! It is one of my favorite shows every year, it's such an honor to be included with the best of the best crafters and artists in STL! Anyway, I kind of had something on my mind that came about because of something I overhear quite often at shows. Many Many times shoppers will be admiring my work and have certain people in mind they are shopping for. They'll find pieces they love and want to buy as gifts, but will change their mind and say the following: "I want to get this for so-and-so, but I've never seen her wear anything like this before". Well, let me take this opportunity to put your mind at rest. Of course you've never seen anyone wear anything like this before! One of the most common comments I get is how unique, original, and unlike anything else out there my work is. So of course it is impossible for you to have seen any one you know already wearing something like this. So to you I say, take a chance! You've never seen them wear it before because they've never seen it before! Maybe you or she will start a trend, you never know =) And on the flip side, why would you want to buy something for someone that's just like something you've already seen them wear? Get them something they DON'T have!! Happy craft fair shopping =)