There was a time in my life when I was ambitious. I wanted recognition. I wanted a career as an artist/designer. I wanted to be published and if not famous, at least to have a certain reputation within a certain circle. I designed patterns that didn't sell very well. (Oh my. They were so complicated) I submitted proposals to magazines that fell on deaf ears. I entered shows and was occasionally accepted. I agonized and swallowed rejection like the bitter pill that it can be. I did not want a hobby, I wanted a career. But my art and my fabric stuff remained in the hobby (now that's a word I really dislike. It sounds so trivial) realm and my careers became raising children and managing shops and studying design and designing publications and being married (yes, that is a career!) and finally finding myself at a place where earning a living was no longer the incentive and I could do pretty much what I wanted to do.
And just lately, things I once pursued longingly, seem to be dropping into my lap unbidden. I have been asked to contribute to a book. I have been asked to write magazine articles. I have been invited to participate in a terrific show of art quilts. I was asked to contribute to a respected online auction (see the post above) and today the piece I donated sold for a nice amount. I am happy, but a little confused by this turn of events and I've been thinking about this quite a lot. If I was once competitive, I don't think I am much anymore. I don't enter many shows. I enjoy making what I make. I enjoy selling it and I enjoy giving it away sometimes.
For a long time I tried so many ways to turn my artmaking into a way to earn money, and that just didn't happen in the way that would have made it a viable job. Maybe if the internet had existed back then. Or if I had been more aggressive, which is probably closer to the truth. But maybe if it had become a job it would have been less enjoyable, less fulfilling—or maybe more. Who knows? I do know that while I was frustrated I was not deterred and here I am still fooling around and making stuff. I don't have any regrets.
But I can't deny that there is a little thrill associated with those little events that recognize that what I do may have some value to someone else. Today's sale of my donation to the Fiber Art for a Cause auction, that supports cancer research, is one such event. Won't you join me, for just a minute, in a big Woo Hoo!
Whew. That felt good! The younger, more ambitious me would have been pretty excited.
This is the quilt that I donated to Virginia Spiegel's Fiberart For a Cause Fundraiser. It sold today for a $675 donation to the American Cancer Society.