This person felt she was not selling her jewelry or crafts on Etsy or to her friends because no one thinks of it as ART. Her friends have called her jewelry "cute" and have bought some, but want her to reduce her prices. It was obvious in her writing that she wasn't very confident that her jewelry or craft items were art. GUESS WHAT? A lot of the responses she received were people trying to convince her to stay on etsy, to sell in other places, not worry what other people thought and to have more confidence in herself and her work. I was one of those people.
I have to say up front, I am not always that confident in my art. I have a love of color that goes back to my earliest memory. The problem I had was no one to nurture it even though the people around me had artistic abilities. They knew I could dance, but no one saw any other artistic skills in me. I would try different things and as I look back, some attempts were not bad for a beginner. I just didn't realize I needed some guidance. Eventually a friend showed me the basics of jewelry making. My ideas of color are really coming together for me now.
However, I am still fairly new to this art. Stringing beads together is not looked at as art by some people. Jewelry to me, though, is art. Someone has to create it whether or not it is super "artsy" handmade jewelry or mass produced jewelry, somewhere along the line someone created it. Some is simple, some is complicated and some as the saying goes about ugliness and beauty, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
I use a lot of Swarovski Crystals in my jewelry because the colors are so vast and beautiful to me. This makes some artist turn their noses up at me - literally. I also like to work with other materials. My jewelry is mostly simple, because I like it that way. I will, eventually, expand myself as all artists do, but for now I'm happy. I enjoy it, I'm comfortable with it, and I like the colors I'm finding.
I am not confident like I should be. I don't refer to my jewelry as art to many of my family members and friends as I know I should. Which brings me back to the person and the thread on Etsy today. I learned a few things there that apply to all artists no matter what your medium or how broadly you are known.
- 1. Always refer to your art as art.
- 2. Always refer to yourself as an artist, even if you are a hobbyist artist.
- 3. Becoming known for your art takes time, so be patient.
- 4. Selling your art takes time and work, because you are building a business.
- 5. There are many venues for selling your work, online and offline and not all of them are suitable for all art forms.
- 6. Network with other artists, they are usually friendly and helpful, Etsy forums is just one very good example.
- 7. Know what your art is worth and don't let others talk you into selling it cheap.
- 8. Selling it cheap will not necessarily get you sales.
- 9. Getting to know your market, who are the people who will enjoy your art most.
- 10. Being an artist is a job, no one has to know its fun!
I hope some of this will help someone else. Just writing about it has made me stop and rethink my own vision of art and my own art. I don't expect to ever make a huge living out of making jewelry, but that's because of my health issues related to Lupus not because I'm a poor artist. I just can't handle physically the demands to build a business of any size. I can enjoy my art at about a hobbyist level, but that doesn't mean I'm not an artist. I intend to go forward with more confidence.
How about you?
That's my view today. Thanks for stopping by!