Creativity comes from our inner souls. At the same time, things and people in the external world can help encourage that spirit of creativity. They can, when we lose motivation, or struggle with self-doubt, can move us to reconnect with our inner creative spirits.
If you've been reading, you know I dabble in glass work, what is known as lampworking or beadmaking. I work at a torch, I melt glass, and sometimes create some pretty stuff. But, I'm not a natural artist. I struggle with focusing on the visual, I struggle with precision in design. None of it come easily to me. I learn slowly, I acquire skills with difficulty. My instructor often despairs that I will never find the one thing in this craft that provides me with focus and direction.
And yet, especially lately, I feel that working at the glass studio is some type of salvation. There are days when I want to give up, because every thing I try to create is shaped badly, or turns out ugly, or I just feel incompetent . And then, there are those moments, when I feel that there's something there for me...some creative spark that is slowly evolving.
I was asked by a co-worker to sell my glass work at a local benefit event. It's a small event, in someone's house. And who knows if any one will buy anything from me. And yet, it's been quite a confidence booster. First, that someone who IS an artist (my co-worker is a graphic designer and also does wire sculpture), felt that what I've created is good enough to be a vendor at her benefit. And then, there was a conversation at work where the graphic designer and another person who has purchased some of my beads in the past, were brainstorming things that I could make with my beads. And they asked me to bring in some of the things I plan on selling. They had such good ideas --- and such belief that my work was worthy...it was quite uplifting.
Another boost to the ego...I recently went to a bead store to buy some supplies so I could make something useful with my beads and when I showed some of my samples to the proprietor, he said I should bring my beads in when his daughter was there, as she was the one who did the purchasing. I was floored...that someone who sees beads all the time thought what bits were worthy of further examination. Well, he may say that to everyone who comes in, but it certainly felt nice to hear someone think that my work was worthy.
In fact, when I told the co-worker who recommended the bead store that I had gone there, her first question was, "did you bring samples of your work?"
I know that what I produce is not anything more than OK and sometimes even better than OK, but still, to have people admire what I do certainly gives me motivation to stretch myself and try to do better. I've never really thought that I could sell what I make, but now, I'm starting to look for ways to create items that are salable. For one thing, the glass work is a *very* expensive hobby and it would be nice to recoup some of the cost. And, well, there's that kick to the ego that one gets when someone else appreciates something you've created.
We'll see where it all goes. Maybe , if I can ever retire, I can have a small business, supplying beaded bookmarks, glass spinning tops, and other beaded items that some people might be interested in buying. What fun that would be...
In the meantime, when I'm feeling like a total goofball, I can think of these small moments of encouragement and inspiration and smile.