I’m in a tear trying to get ready for a jam-packed weekend. Our 29th wedding anniversary is Sunday, and that’s actually #5 on our list of things to do.
On Monday, we stuff my booth into our car and drive four hours north to
The Balsams, where I’ll be doing a week-long artist-in-residency for the hotel guests–teaching classes, demo-ing, displaying and (hopefully!) selling my artwork.
This kind of thing is really hard on a perfectionist like moi. Trying to do everything perfectly, preparing for every contingency, planning on providing the perfect artistic experience… It’s easy to get lost in all the mundane details of getting everything from here to there, retrieving artwork from other exhibitions today, trying to figure out where my beloved Claudia Rose rubber stamps are. (They’re perfect for the make it & take it workshops I do at The Balsams.)
I know we’ll get all the way up there and I’ll realize I’ve forgotten some critical piece of display or equipment. There will be tears and late-night searches for duct tape and twine, and wondering where the heck I packed the bug spray.
And like a little feather of hope falling gently into my life, came a little card in the mail today.
It was from someone I’d done something nice for a few weeks ago. Short story, part of the nice was a little pair of handmade earrings I threw into a package at the last minute. It wasn’t even my signature polymer work. They were pearl earrings accented with hand-soldered and shaped sterling wire accents, very pretty and organic. But, in my mind, nothing extraordinary at all.
What stopped my buzzy brain was this line:
Luann–the earrings are beautiful! I’ve never had a piece of jewelry that was made by someone I knew. I will wear them often & think of you when I do!
This woman–an intelligent, multi-degreed, active and attractive woman–has never owned a piece of jewelry made by someone she knows…. And she is astonished.
That tiny little gesture I made on a whim, has shifted her whole perception of handmade jewelry. She now owns something she deems doubly–no, triply precious: they are beautiful, they are handmade, they are handmade by me, her friend. Her mind boggles.
How often do we diminish our gifts?
How many times have you thought, “Well, yeah, these are cute. But I’ll never make anything as cool as so-and-so, world-famous artist person.”
How many times have we underpriced our work, certain that no one will think it’s actually worth the time, the skill and the creative vision we’ve put into it?
How many times have we hesitated about entering an exhibition, or approaching a gallery, or doing a new show, certain that no one would really be interested in our work?
How many times have we secretly squirmed when a customer admired our work or even bought it, wondering what they’d think if they knew how easy it was for us to make it?
I do it all the time. Even when I set a reasonable price for my work, I often find myself apologizing for it.
What we do isn’t easy, except that we’ve gotten very good at doing it.
What we do isn’t ordinary, except that it is so familiar to us.
What we do isn’t unworthy, because it comes from the skill of our hands, the judgment of our eyes, the passion in our hearts.
What we do is just….amazing.
Sometimes, it takes another person, someone whose life works on other levels, in other circles–perhaps even one who saves lives, as this woman does–to see the beauty, the astonishment, the miracle in what we do.
We are magical.
(With apologies the the delightful blog Hyperbole and a Half by Allie, whose post about her simple-minded dog made me laugh til I cried, and inspired the title of this post.)