Selling your work, putting yourself out there

This weekend was the first of several Holiday Fairs I am selling my work at this season. I will have pieces at the Oregon College of Art & Craft Holiday Sale, at my favorite sewing shop Modern Domestic, and Handmade NW. I have had a variety of experiences over the past 10 years selling my work, some amazing, some epic fails (Torrential downpour and tropical storm at Renegade Brooklyn + selling all paper products) but this weekend, I had a great experience and a left with an enlightened mind set. Over the years, I have sold a lot of work to people I know. I used to have mixed feelings selling my work to friends and family, worrying if they are taking pity on me and my endless pursuit to make and sell work. And to some degree, I still find it hard to talk about my work, because I really just like making it, not necessarily verbally articulating various elements of it, or “selling” it. But after taking Lilla Roger’s online course “Make Art that Sells” something clicked. She reminded us that “people buy your joy.” And when I am sketching, scheming, brainstorming, cutting, sewing, screen printing and just generally making, I do, in fact, feel immense joy. So the opportunity to sell my work directly to people, is starting to feel like a party or a celebration of all that fun I had making it.

This weekend I sold a lot of work; to people I know, to people I  work with, and to people I have never met.  I heard so many nice comments from people and I remember again, why I do what I do. That it’s all worth it. That it can be fiscally, emotionally and physically rewarding to make work that you care about. To show up with your point of view. To create the things that fill your imagination. It’s also comforting for some of the guilt I feel for consistently choosing to focus on my personal work, often ignoring all the other parts of life. All those weekends and evenings I said “no” to everything and everyone else in order to make. The times I have ignored a dirty house, neglected friendships, stolen time away from my little family, or worked until exhausted instead of taking time at night to decompress. Sometimes I wonder if it is all worth it. To try to do it all. And this weekend, I felt affirmation that yes, it is worth it!

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