So I have been thinking about a few things of late. What came to my mind is...who am I ? Am I an artist or not? Do I have skill....or not? I have been forced to second guess myself lately, and while I don't like the feeling of that, as most of us wouldn't, I did have to sit back, and take a long, hard look at myself as a person. When I first started this craft over a year ago, and quite frankly until recently even, I did not consider myself to be an "artist", I considered myself to be someone doing something they love...and that was it. It "sounded" funny to me to even associate the word "artist" with myself.
Let me explain how this all came about, and why I have even come to this place of thinking. recently I learned to do a different type of wire work....how ever crude my skills were, I have been very anxious to learn more. In that process, I went looking for things that "looked easy enough for me to do", with my limited skills in this particular area. It just so happens that I found something I thought not only looked cool, but thought maybe....just maybe I could do it, so I tried....and low & behold...it was very crude, and rough, but I managed to get it done. Well, huge mistake, and I warn anyone and everyone to NOT go looking for inspiration from others work, just do what you know how to do, and explore your own avenues, because the thing I decided to try and make, was a "copyrighted" design.....which I did not know or I would not have done it. The designer was so very upset, and even tho I apologised, and told this person I was just trying to explore new avenues, and figure some things out...it did not matter. I have been labeled a "thief", however untrue it may be, it is still there. So......now I have come to a place of wondering what to do next?
Do I continue to do this particular type of work, or just forget it. Well, probably just set it aside once the wire is gone and forget it. I sure don't wanna be the person who is offending any one, in any way, by doing something they are doing.....however rough mine may be.
I spent the day today very depressed, and upset...cried off and on almost all day. I could not get this out of my head. I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and in my own self examination, this is what I have found to be "real" about a jewelry artisan...and what they should stand for.
I believe the dictionary's definition of an "artisan" is :
skilled crafts person: somebody who is skilled at a craft
And the Thesaurus says:
Synonyms: crafts person, artist, handicrafts worker, crafts worker, skilled worker, artificer, craft worker
Now, I did not write that, it's straight out of the dictionary. Many people have a different opinions about what an "artisan" truly is, and most would disagree on many points. The one thing that sticks out for me is "ownership"....neither of the above definitions state anything about having ownership to anything.....we are simply craft workers. We create things from different materials, and to say that we...as individuals...are "owners" of anything would be a little beyond the scope of what we really are. This is not to say that if someone has a "copyright" to something...a pattern or design...they they are wrong, because the law says they aren't, and I completely and totally respect that. What I question is motive.
For me...being an artisan is true, unadulterated inspiration. We inspire, help, show, encourage, and support anyone who wants to learn what we do. Art is all about how to "inspire" people......We are teachers of sorts. And when that person decides to make something on their own, they have rights to that inside security in knowing that we as artisans will not begrudge them the satisfaction they may get from something we taught them how to create. If I have taught someone out there to do what I do, and they want to go and make it and sell it...for more or less than I do..hey...get after it. I wish you all the luck in the world. Just because we may have the same people cross our paths, does not mean they will buy from you or me either one...or maybe they just like yours better, for whatever reason....cool! good for you. Just know that I will sit back, and admire your work, and say to myself...yeah...I taught them that.....I did that, and now they are....how cool is that? I don't believe I would ever begrudge someone a little self satisfaction or destroy their desire to continue in the craft, by telling them you cant sell that, or you cant duplicate that.....I just do not believe we as artisans are supposed to be that way to each other. Have we really come to a place in this world where sharing, and caring is completely gone? Have we come to a place where we no longer care what we say to people that may hurt their feelings, destroy self confidence......ruin desire? Or do we just feel the need to control others so much, because we really aren't secure in who we are as people?
What I discovered:
Until the past couple of days, I thought I was pretty secure with myself in what I was doing. I was very proud of the fact that I was learning something new, and expanding my horizons. It felt good to know that I was not stuck with just one piece of knowledge, that there was something else I could do if I wanted to. Turns out, I am not so secure in what I do apparently, because I have allowed others to influence my thinking patterns, and have allowed them to ruin my self confidence. I have allowed them to decide my future in or out of this craft. And I have allowed them to take my desire to learn more. So....who am I? Am I an Artisan???
My answer is no........I do not want to be in that category. I am a skilled craft worker, just like the dictionary says, and nothing more. I love what I do, and will continue to do so, with or with out the approval of others who may dismay my attempts at getting better at something. I have a right, just like every single other person, to make something, and sell it for what I "think" it's worth. Maybe it's not worth that much, maybe it's worth more, but because I am a simple, every day craft worker, I do not differentiate....I just enjoy doing what I do. Making things, and helping others.
I do want to publicly apologise to those I have offended in any way, because I assure you, it was not my intention in any way. I simply wanted to learn something new, that's it. Plain and simple. No other explanations available.
Artisan - no
A lover of craft work - yes
Love making something different each time...creating & working with my hands? - yes
Need recognition for helping you expand your horizons - no - enjoy yourself, have fun...create
When in doubt....read the dictionary....if you still have doubts....read the Bible...those 2 books should help you through whatever dilemma you may have. It's pretty black and white inn both books, no room for "changes" or misunderstandings.....it's all there...