If you knew me before my life as an artist you would know a shy person who is often the quiet one in the crowd, slow to speak, listening well, but not an extravert. Yes, that was me not so long ago. But the role of self employed artist requires me to reach deep inside and find that “extravert within”, or as one of my professors once said “It is working outside the scope of your strengths”. Selling your art requires a willingness to get out there, make your work known, and to meet people where they are. This is often a great privelege, because the largest part of the art business is listening to others, allowing them to resonate with the work, and find a facet of the beauty you saw in what you created. And there is a reciprical effect too – when I can make something and from my mind to my hands an idea transforms into something meaningful I have a deep and abiding sense of satisfaction.
At Tremont Art and Culture Festival this past weekend there were a number of opportunities to listen, share and encourage others. And there were those amazing looks when someone’s eyes locked on that piece of silk that spoke to them, or they resonated with the organic fluid forms of a piece of wire crochet. Or they breathed in deeply those heavely scents of Steve’s soaps. Somewhere in the weekend a woman stopped and asked if I could modify two bracelets. When she put them on her wrist they were huge – She really love two of my wire crochet bracelets, but they were far too large for her wrist. She had tiny wrists… and i build my pieces for a standard 7 1/2 inch wrist. And absent mindedly i did not have my tools with me at the park. I promised to take them home and alter them to fit her small wrist. A bit of alteration work, and both bracelets were reduced to the 6 3/4 inch size.
So here i was, a scribbled note with her phone number on the back of one of my business cards… I made the phone call and she was at work but a few minutes later my cell rang and this woman was calling me to make arrangements for the purchase of both pieces. at last I arrived at the appointment. There, in front of Giant Eagle we exchanged wire crochet for cash. I still feel like a drug dealer or a super spy, meeting people i dont know to exchange goods for money – but t here is also a peace of knowing that she is an admirer of my work. (Did I say that Steve was in the car, a few parking spaces away from the entrance of Giant Eagle?) So it was a public exchange, and it was thrilling to have someone else love the work.
I am so glad to have stepped out of some of my shyness, into an extraverted place. But you should know that I still love being an introvert… and when noone is looking i run back to that place where i don;t have to be so visible, and vocal.