A few days ago I received my award ribbons from the 2012 Bead Dreams contest, for which I want again to thank the judges for picking me.I have also had a few of my works published in the Polymer Cafe magazine. I also had my comments and reviews published in the ABA Journal and Rio Grande 2013 Catalog. You can see pictures of all of the aforementioned throughout this post.
In addition, I’ve learned about an interesting journey one of my works, the Fern Flower necklace, has made. It was bought from our Etsy store by a customer, given to a writer whose name is Jane Kindred, and then used by Jane as a prize in her blog’s giveaway. It was almost like reading a detective story! 🙂 The only reason I even found that out was because I’ve noticed visits from Jane’s website to our store, went to the website and learned about this interesting story. I got to check her books now! 🙂
All of this made me feel great. It also made me think about the public recognition and how it can change one’s life – in many ways. For many artists other people’s recognition (or lack of it whereas) often equals a personal valuation (or its absence). If their art is not recognized/bought, they feel like they are nothing as a person – a very wrong point of view. Although I have to admit – I used to be its victim for a some time myself :).
The point is – we shouldn’t depend on others to make us feel good. We should feel good because we’ve accomplished something. Do you know how many contests I’ve applied to and was never chosen? Do you know there were even cases when I’d be contacted by a mean judge telling me that my work was absolute crap? Do you think I spent a night crying about it? No, I did not! [although I was always initially tempted to write back something like “You’re stupid bitch yourself!”] 🙂 But I thought it would be way too unprofessional.
My failures and my successes have taught me an important thing: you can’t bend yourself according to other people’s will and their view of you. You can’t change yourself just because somebody thinks you’d be better some other way. You can’t pretend to be somebody else – or you will always lose.
In order to win, you need to study yourself and use the inner talents you’ve got. Each of us has at least one; some of us have many. Sometimes the main difficulty is the choice. It has always been for me. In school, I’d enter and win science, art, and sports contests – because I wasn’t able to pick just one of them. I was going crazy – and that was because I didn’t know myself. I was jumping from thing to thing just to find one of them which would be “mine”. I didn’t succeed.
The same story has repeated when I started professionally doing art. I did painting, jewelry, clock-making, small sculpture, wood boxes, embroidery, paper art, metal embossing, glass art, and photography. I worked with paper, metal, glass, plastic, polymer clay, fabric, leather, gemstones, pearls, wood, wire, silicone, vinyl, and digital media. I used all techniques imaginable. It got to the point where I started forgetting what I know and what I don’t. In addition, I didn’t do great with either of them. Because, again, I didn’t know myself.
All this chaos made me stop and start thinking. Stop and start looking. At famous artists, for example. You know their work without even looking at the signature – because they’ve got a distinctive style. Because they bothered to get to know themselves. So, instead of keeping learning new techniques I started learning myself. To be a better designer. To gain my own recognition. And I did great. And it felt great, too.
Remember – your work reflects who you are. Don’t be afraid to expose your inner I. Have respect for yourself – and you will gain public respect and recognition as well. And it will feel great!