Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Who Am I?

Not sure why I feel the need to write this tonight. The thoughts are just running around in my head so I thought I would make them visual. Bear with me and feel free to comment about this post or share your own story as a crafter, artisan, or artist.

After many years of selling at craft shows and festivals, I decided to sell online. The craft shows took their toll on me. The setting up, tearing down and weekends away. I was lucky most of the time to have good partners to share the load with and time spent with them was enjoyable. I never even came close to making a living at it and that was never my real goal anyway.

I did meet someone at a show in San Diego that liked the thread crocheted angels I was making at the time. She would order them 300 or so at a time once or twice a year to finish by stiffening and decorating them to sell in her own booth at shows. That level of production kind of took the fun out of it. I was happy to get the money but my hands ached and I was doing those things in my sleep to get the orders done and still have time to create for my own shows. That is not a joke either. There were times when I started crocheting, kind of dozed off and woke up to cut the thread on a finished angel with no memory of the middle part of the process.

So who am I? I would call myself a serious hobbyist. I have an overwhelming need to create. I have been this way as long as I can remember and can't imagine life without something for my hands to do. My abilities are a major part of what defines who I am. These projects and ideas wind through the rest of my life and bind it together somehow. Creating somehow makes me more than the wife, the mother, the daughter, the whatever. Not that any of these things aren't important or have their own rewards but I don't like to think about what I would be like without that little bit more.

On the forums at places like Etsy there are always folks who talk about being a business and being professional. Those words kind of leave me cold. I have no problem with the fact that they fit very well with some. They just don't fit me. Does this mean I don't care about providing good service? The answer to that is a resounding no. Because my need for creativity drives my life, sending things off to be appreciated by someone is very important to me. I make what I am inspired to by the cloth or fiber on hand and trust me I have a lot of inspiration around here. Over the years I have learned that if I am patient someone will come along who likes it as much finished as I did making it, whatever the "it" is at the time. When that happens I am happy to communicate and ship in a friendly and timely manner.

I don't expect to get rich selling online either but I want my creative drive to support itself. I like to spend the money on new ideas and better tools with a bit of "just for fun" spending money as well. I try to make my pricing a win win thing for both me as a seller and the buyer. I know that for knitters, crocheters and hand quilters a reasonable hourly wage is extremely difficult for most to get and I accept that. I do however want to get a decent return on my investment of materials, fees and costs of being online and something for my time. If that happens then my creativity isn't a drain on family resources and I can keep going.

Speaking of going, I think I will for now. If you have read this whole wordy post please share your thoughts. Let others who come along, and me, know what it is like for you and what drives your life and provides sanity and satisfaction.

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