Thursday, June 23, 2016

It takes a Village

by Staci Louise Smith

Thanks in advance for listening to my ramble.  I had a bad show the other weekend, one of many.  I was feeling pretty down about it.  I know, I know, I know all the things I tell everyone (obviously not the show for me, its not my work, ect ect), but it doesn't help how you feel when you pour yourself into your art and it doesn't sell.

And so, I reached out online, and MAN, I really felt the love and support of my friends and fellow artists when I was feeling down and unsure about the shows.  It had me really thinking about these people, and I just had to share some of those thoughts.  More than that, it made me realize just how much everyone is there for me, all the time.  In so many different ways.

I have always considered myself a "self taught" artist.  I don't have formal training in jewelry.  Though I certainly did have help.  I read books, and watched You Tube videos.  I had friends show me how to do certain techniques (thank you Page MB- I will be forever grateful for our solder day at your place).  I most certainly did not do this all on my own.  Self taught doesn't really feel right...........

The longer I get to do this as a career, the more I realize how important the art community is.  Not only are connections good for networking, but you build ties and bonds and make friends.  Friends who come and stay with you the night before your first class (thank you Jenny Davies-Reazor).  Friends who tell you the next show will be better (too many to name).  Friends who are honest when something doesn't look right (I can always count on Diana of Suburban Girl Studio's for honest advice).  Friends who give advice as to what is worth your time and what isn't, who share their stories, and what they have learned.  Friends who cross promote- and not out of duty or for $$$$, but because you both genuinely LOVE, respect and admire each others work.

 Marsha Neal and Kathleen Klik

My faithful  booth sitter (who is more organized then me at selling my wares!)
 Amanda of Brassy Peacock Designs

Linda Landig, who has the BEST laugh and GREAT taste in beads too

It takes a village to be successful.  If you try to go it alone, its a hard hard road.  I cannot imagine taking this journey without a village.  My village is always changing and growing- and I love that.  I am so thankful for each and every person I have met along the way.  Whether we have bead shopped together, created jewelry kits together, chatted about dreams and ideas, or have only chatted online, you are all dear to me. 

Diana Ptaszynski, Barb Bechtel, Jan Onipenco

We all have strengths and weakness'.  For example, I have learned to market over the years, but my brain didn't naturally work that way.  There were friends like Marsha Neal, who were more then happy to share marketing ideas with me.  It helped me to think about the bigger picture and how things work out there in the bead world and online.  I will be forever thankful for Melinda Orr for arranging so many meet and greets at Beadfest, and making sure everyone met each other.  I would be lost without Ginger DAvis Allman of Blue Bottle Tree, who is always finding out the "what is what and what is NOT" in polymer clay.  She has a scientists mind and does the most thorough testing and blogs out there in the clay world.
I literally cannot mention all the beady people whom I adore, and whom have been part of my business through advice and hands on help.

Melinda Orr and Eva Sherman

Everyone has a strength.  And together we are strongest.

It is tough to make it in the arts.  Everyone who is in this "art world" knows that.  We all understand, and I think that is one of the things that gives us all such a strong bond.  So many people are happy to pay it forward, because another artist did that for them.  If you open yourself up, it can be a very beautiful community.

So, my advice is this- be kind to your fellow artists.  Let them into your life.  They are your village.  And it takes a village.


Karen Z said...

Beautiful post... so true! I am a sometime-beader, thanx to all the women you mentioned, as well as my talented sister-in-law, Meridy Migchelbrink of Two Trees Studio. I am most essentially an urban sketcher and watercolor artist, and I too rely upon my 'village', especially on the internet, for encouragement, support, lessons, and constructive criticism. I live in a semi-rural community an hour from Cleveland to the West and Erie PA to the East, so farming/nursery folks are early risers, hard workers, and frugal when it comes to artistic purchases. Without you all, I'd be lost, too. Thanks for the blog and your wonderful inspiration!!!

Linda Landig said...

This is soooo true. It's why I travel from WA, all the way to Philadelphia nearly every year. Its not for the beads (though they are wonderful). Its to be with my tribe. We "get" each other. Who knew when we started our bead journeys that it would not just be a solitary pursuit, but that it would gather us into a precious community and that we would gain a whole new family? Glad to count you as my friend, Staci!

Janet Bocciardi said...

Yes, we need our community more than ever! Most of us love working in our own little spaces, but without the encouragement and help when we need it I would be lost at times. Great post and shout out!

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

Well said Staci! Having such an amazing support system of friends, some of which we have never met in person, is not only comforting but makes what we do that much more fun! Being surrounded by others who love beads as much as we do also helps makes our collections of beads seem a little less like an addiction. ;)

Just remember a show with less sales has nothing to do with your art but rather timing, weather and a number of other factors that influence people's spending decisions.

Ann Schroeder said...

Great post.

Lalithaa Jewellery said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robin Miller said...

I just want to add my support!! It's been a hard season for me, too. I admire you, love your unique and gorgeous work, and I know that what you're doing is worthwhile.

Robin Miller said...

Great post, Staci! I'm with you, girl. I love your unique and wonderful designs. Don't be discouraged. It's been a rough season for me too.

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