So, 2015. Quite the year. Personally I couldn't wait for it to be over. Not be over in a my life sucks kinda way, but in a new year, fresh start, clear slate kinda way. I have been saying this past year was more a "trip" then a journey, so fingers crossed 2016 marks the start of the journey.
There is one last event from 2015 though that I would like to write about before we get this year kicked into full gear. For the past 5 years I have been an Artist on the Midhurst Arts and Crafts Home Tour. This year, for the first time, I was a guest artist in someone else's home instead of displaying in my own home. I was worried people wouldn't remember me because of this change up. And I was worried that people would remember me and have questions as to why I'm wasn't in my home anymore.
I live in small community where everyone knows everything. I was scared to be part of this show and stand alone as a guest on a tour I've been a part of for so many years in a community I grew up in. Knowing that everyone knows I'm not in my old house because I'm separated. Feeling like people don't know what to say or worry they put their foot in their mouth while talking to me about the change in location. This wasn't the weekend I wanted to spend talking about my personal life to strangers, but it's also the exact thing that you sign up for at an Art show. It's not just your work that sits out for people to look at, it's you. You've put a piece of yourself out there. And people want to know your story. The story could be the very reason they connect to your work. So you stand there, totally vulnerable - a word that keeps coming up for me lately - being judged, hoping people like you and your hard work. Work that is a direct reflection of me, what I represent, what I believe, where I've been, how I see things. But a funny thing happens when you put yourself out there. Support. Support of a group of artists that are now friends. Support of friends and family who make the effort to come by and say hello. Support of those who can't make it and send their love. Support of total strangers who come year after year to find me and ask how I am and how my son is.
As Artists, we are constantly vulnerable. Always putting ourselves out there. It's all subjective. My stuff isn't for everyone and I don't like everything. That's what is cool about it. But you've gotta own it. I work hard on my line of arts and crafts. Everything I make is an extension of me. When you buy something of mine, you are taking a little piece of my energy with you. If I'm selling it, it's something I'm proud of. So it is a very vulnerable state to stand beside your work and hope to God people respond to it. You put yourself out there professionally AND personally. In the creative world, you can't do one without the other. So when people do react, it's such a rush. In that moment you know you're not crazy (well, maybe a little bit), and you're proud of yourself. Watching people smile and connect with my stuff is so incredible.
I am so grateful to all my family and friends, to the group of artists and crafters on this tour, to this community and to the people I don't know, that all come out and send their support to myself and all the other incredible artists on these occasions.
What do I take away from "putting myself out there"? That it might be scary, but it's so very rewarding. I'm trying to embrace the vulnerability that I'm so accepting of in my creative career and apply the same confidence in other areas of my life. So Cheers 2016. Lets do this!