Friday, October 8, 2010

Insecurities of a Handmade Artist

I've contemplated this post for some time. I came across a quote that made me feel like I should finally write this. It gave me the little boost of confidence I needed.

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." Cyril Connolly

The one constant piece of advice that successful handmade artists seem to give is "do what you love and the sales will follow." I've struggled over this concept. Being creative is such a huge part of who I am. If I didn't sell my work I would still make things. All kinds of things. It takes courage to put your creative efforts out there for the world to see. I've never been gutsy, and running two online shops wreaks havoc with my self esteem. I start to doubt my abilities. Are my items really as great as I think they are? When days or weeks go by without a single sale I wonder if I should close up shop and give up. It's hard to find motivation and be innovative when you're in this mindset. I know I'm not alone in feeling this way. But how does one remain positive? It is very easy to equate self worth with sales, or the lack thereof. I don't want this to sound like I'm searching for sympathy, or to guilt anyone into making a purchase. I just think this is a real issue that all handmade artists experience to some degree or another. I LOVE what I do. I'm so glad I started my second shop FlyAKite. I believe in quality and originality. I try to convey these values in everything I make. Sometimes I feel like my voice is lost out there. I've never been good at self promotion. I've been described as extremely introverted. We all have our own battles, right? So many people are out there making a name for themselves, getting discovered.

What's an artist to do?

I celebrate the little things---like when someone hearts one of my shops, or my work is featured in a treasury. I get really excited when I make a sale---even if it is only a single eggplant card shipped to New York. This blog doesn't have many followers, so chances are nobody will read it. Maybe it's just for me.


  1. I read it! And I think you are doing a wonderful job. Most people never move past the concept of a project, and you are actually creating. Keep it up!

  2. Hi there, I am blogging it forward with you. You are not alone in this self esteem issue, and I think as an artist, and a WOMAN, women are their own biggest critiques. I recently attended a conference entitled "Women Mean Business" which was done by the United Kingdom Resources Centre for women in science, eng, technology. They said a woman would only apply for a job if they were sure they met 99% of the job criteria, whereas a man would apply if he met as little as 40% and he would still be confident. Anyway, I would like to blog about how you started your business. People are always interested in a start up story, so if you do not mind sharing a little bit, please get in touch.