Depending on how early on you dropped by, you may or may not know that I’ve been wanting to design and sell greeting cards online for about a year now. Last summer while school was out, I tried and tried to come up with an idea, but they all fell to the wayside. A lot of my ideas just didn’t feel like mine, as if I was over-saturated by other people’s work. I decided not to force it.
Some time passed, and an opportunity came along in a form of an invitation to participate in an art show up north. Once I agreed, there was no turning back. Excuses were no longer valid. That was two months ago.
Getting ideas rolling was never an issue. What was difficult in the beginning was deciding what to make. Unlike most of the 60 other artists that were going to be there, I had to start from the ground up. I’ve always believed that to produce great work, there needs to be struggle and failure which there was plenty of in my process, including a time when I hated the everything I created. A friend said something that pulled me out of the funk. She said, “When I’m stuck and think my work is crap, I continue working till I get something good.” Such a simple philosophy, it’s completely changed my perspective of stopping the creative process when things aren’t working (like the artist in Hayao Miyzaki’s Kiki’s Delivery Service).
Last weekend was the show. I was having trouble sleeping the two weeks prior, stressing out about all I had yet to do and whether any of it would be good enough. The day finally came. I was surprisingly calm, and chatted with customers, which was probably a good sign all that could be prepared was. Although I didn’t sell as much as I wanted (no profit), you cannot put a price on what I’d learned from the experience. I made connections. I set up shop. I called a million places to source material, from print shop, customizing a stamp, envelopes, backer board, crystal bags, ribbons, paper that will not fade in the sun, glue that will not wrinkle the paper, stain, or discolour after time, and frames for display. Whew!
And how did I feel after this was all done? A huge sense of accomplishment and a boost of confidence. For those of you who don’t know me, I should point out that I am not a go-getter. I am usually full of talk, and no action. When we got home from the weekend, sitting on the patio with a beer in one hand, the impact of what I had done the past couple of months really hit me. I just thought, I can’t believe I actually did it. I said I was going to do something, and followed it through till the end with good results. I didn’t half-ass anything. When I look back at the past two years, there has been a lot of people who influenced me and built up this new Christine that was up to the challenge. So, thank you.
*missing: Elly Mackay, creator of Theatre Clouds, and her husband, Simon, a woodworker.