Okay, I made the mistake (ha!) of listening to one of my favorite poscasts, Craftypod(by Sister Diane), and she interviewed this guy named Paul Overton.
Paul has a Master’s degree in Technical Theatre , which totally endeared me to him right off the bat—shout out to all the techies out there! But besides that, he crafts and he writes a blog called “Dudecraft“. Can you get much cooler than that?? It’s an awesome blog. I would love to have this blog have elements of his inspirational materials and links. Amazingly, he manages to blog every day. Seriously. Since this last January. It’s scary. Sometimes 2 and 3 times a day…
But he was being interviewed by Craftypod for a specific reason. A post he put on his blog that’s getting a lot of attention. I read it and I’m posting it here because I think it’s absolutely relevant to this series of postings that I’m making on the development of Relished Artistry.
Before you go further, read this:
Now tell me that didn’t make your soul soar. It did mine. His point, I feel, is that people in the craft business industry aren’t in it for altruistic reasons—they’re in it for the money more often than not, and that the quality of the product suffers proportionally. Without heart and soul in the work, people are less likely to buy it.
I guess I’m used to not making money in the arts. Crap, I grew up doing theatre–I have a master’s degree in it! Money and theatre don’t necessarily go together. But you can always tell good theatre from bad by the investment of the people involved in mounting the show—acting is less bad when the actors believe in what they’re saying and why they’re saying it; the set looks better if it’s assembled by people who care; costumes look more real when there is attention to detail… And all these people do theatre knowing they will never get rich. They do it because there’s something about the show that means something to them, or they feel should mean something to the audience.
Art and Craft should be the same way, and I know now that that’s why I’m so put off by the apparel industry. I feel that most apparel is manufactured not so much to express anything but to make money cheaply and quickly. Somehow, with enough product in the right places, something will appeal to someone on some level and they’ll buy it. But that’s really the bottom line.
I think I’d rather make stuff that’s appealing to less people, but that they really want it. I’m interested in upping the “want/need” quotient instead of the “mass numbers” quotient. And part of the way to do that is to create with heart and soul, making each piece unique and individual, and sharing my creations by selling them. Not creating them with selling as the simple and only emphasis. There’s more to commerce today simply because of the vast amount that’s out there and that people have access to. They need another reason to own something than “it’s cheap and sorta pretty”, because they can easily go somewhere else on the internet too easily.
I was always told that there is more to life than dollars. I wouldn’t have done what I did for so long if I felt that money was the object of the game of life. Theatre practitioners know this, or at least they should.
So I guess I connected with Dudecraft’s blog posting because it articulated for me a lot of the feelings I was having regarding the business of craft, art, and apparel. I have been inundated with it through my readings of late. And the podcasts I listen to. But I don’t do this for the business. Yes, I have to be able to pay my bills and survive, but I will never get rich. And I’ll be lucky to actually pull off the “surviving” part at all, but we’ll see how it goes. I have to try.
Okay, rant off. Live life with relish, folks!