Friday, March 28, 2008

Money & Art

Money.......I can speak for my own experience, I started making things for fun, because I wanted to try it, experience it, I was making with no thoughts of who would like it, what color they would buy etc., just for the pleasure. Then someone said why don`t I make them one, why don`t I sell them at........where ever it might have been . Now there was a shift at that point, I started creating with someone else in my mind, no longer for myself only, for the fun, experience etc. , as mention above. But the point is, someone wanted what I made at the beginning, what I made without a customer or shop in mind. How many of us started that way?
Then I worked at it more, using patterns, then no patterns, trying to create what I thought would bring financial success. I was no longer doing it for the experience, it was now my job, I needed to pay the car payment, the rent, things for my kids. I was the good mother making money for my children. I now demanded of this work to keep me happy financially, and when it didn`t meet the expectations, it was what??? because someone copied me, because I couldn`t get into a certain show, because I couldn`t get enough of a certain thing made, not having a clue which thing would sell well. Trying to come up with the right concoction of merchandise , display , and location. Maybe it rained that day, it was the rains fault, maybe it was 95 degrees that day, the weather kept them away. If it was nice , they stayed home and did gardening, and on and on this went as to why I wasn`t making enough. It will never be enough, because I am doing it for the wrong reasons. To make me feel good financially will make me feel stable, appear successful, temporarily feel happier, until it doesn`t anymore. Now I don`t mean this as bragging just so you know for this story, but before my creative breakdown, I had lists ,pages of orders to fill, I had gotten lots of work, I got what I was trying for, and it didn`t feel like I thought it would. I couldn`t do it anymore.
It was a thought from a group I have on Yahoo that changed my whole life, to make what I want to make, not what customers want. This started me on a journey that really has brought me back to the beginning, where I lost my way, where I did what others were doing at the time. This brought me temporary happiness, then came the unhappiness of it.
This is why I can have no ill feelings for those who copy, they won`t find true happiness this way. They will be pleased temporarily , but in the long run, they will have to keep looking at others for their work. They don`t see they have inside of them the work that could bring them joy and peace. Just as I didn`t see that I should have stayed with making things I liked and wanted to make. They don`t know each of us has this greatness inside of us, but there is so much negativity that keeps us from seeing it. Advertising tells us we need this to be better, if we buy it we will be better, this is how we were taught, to get something from the outside to make us better, obscuring our own light shining inside. They have us color inside lines of what we should be making pictures of, they teach us to draw and they fix it, or criticize it, and make it small, judge one better than another. Others were kept down, so they keep us down, but we must try another way. To not link money to our work. I sell antiques for an income now, I needed time to build up some stock and find my way. I`m still finding my way, as far as my work is concerned. I needed to separate my work and money. To think of something and make it come out through my hands, and then don`t judge it, let it be. If I love it, I don`t want to let it go. These are all new experiences for me. I was a one woman production line turning out pears, apples, rabbits ,etc. ,until I broke. I couldn`t do it anymore. I spent countless hours thinking what others would possibly buy, I was meant to try another way of being. Like the idea, if you are meant to move on to another job, you get those thoughts in your head and you` re too scared to leave, you`ll get fired! No matter what, you are meant to do something else, that was me.
I can`t tell you what happens after I build up an inventory of work that I`m ready to sell. I tried to sell a piece on Ebay, I asked $125. for it. Was in my store for awhile, gave it a good chance. I ended up donating it to the library silent auction, guess what it brought? $125. I felt it was a indication that I was right, it was worth that, but that`s not where I`ll be selling.
I just am telling you what I have learned through the years of doing this kind of work. For me,to put my work together with expectations of where it will be sold and to whom, was a financial success, that left me unhappy.
To protect your work , again is the act of owning, you don`t own it, it is a gift from God, it is bigger than us, it is more than us, we should be happy we get to participate in it. If we are inspired, we are" in spirit". It is from the universe, coming into the world through us, but not ours. Fear may be keeping you from being fully in your work, fear when you make something good , someone will steal it.
Nothing will stop copying , as long as there are people who don`t know enough or believe or encouraged to look within for their own work, who haven`t been told they could get great joy from finding their own greatness, but this may be a harder way to go for some, and if you have no confidence, no self worth, or value, you`ll think it`s better to copy someone else. They keep doing things the same way, and like they see others doing . How much energy are we willing to give something we can`t change? How much time ,thought, energy can you spare to be upset ,offended, be a victim of?
If you have fear about your money, not enough, lack, it has a lot more to do with you than your work. But it has no voice and can`t say , it`s not it`s fault. I hope these thougts are some help to those who read them.

Corner of my Kitchen

The hooked bird on the wall is my 1st thing I ever hooked. The chairs at the table were made by my Great Grandfather who was a carpenter and built houses and even a roller coaster. I collect a little redware, yelloware, wooden boxes, cutting and bread boards. Just some of everything not a lot of one thing.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kitchen Shelf of Collectibles

I like to collect, old tin, old pottery ink wells, my only piece of old chalkware, the chicken on the top shelf. The chicken on the bottom is a wind up toy.

Old Aligatored Pink Cupboard

Years ago I had a booth in a craft co op that was in an old Jail. A woman there had this in her stand and wanted to get rid of it, hated it, and said I could have it and wouldn`t take anything for it. She just wanted it out of her basement. I`ve loved it ever since.
Tiny bear I made, pussy willows from last fall.

One Drawer Stand

I found this stand painted this color, this is newer paint, I had a cupboard in the 1980s I painted with the same paint. The wicker purse on the right I found really early at the flea market one morning, the makedo I made from an old painted piece of velvet ,can`t remember where I got that great hat, hat stand is probably from a porch, and the box is from the flea market too.

Shoes on a Prayer Bench

This is the beginning of my old shoes collection. I love this old prayer bench, it is so worn from people kneeling on it. Love the patina.

Old Handmade Doll ,Old Quilt ,Chair

This old doll, I found at the antique mall in a nearby town. She looks like she was made by a mom for her child, and the child loved the eyes right off, and she replaced them with old shoe buttons. Stained forehead that I like to think were kisses, and human hair sewn on for hair. She`s homely, but she`s been loved.
The quilt I found one early morning at a flea market, I was thrilled to find it in my price range, (cheap). And the chair has old pale blue peeling paint with a seat made from rope.

Top Piece of an Old Blue Cupboard

I use this for storage in a bedroom, mostly holiday things . Found it at the flea market, a friend offered it to me to buy. I love it, a rat chewed a hole in it, before it came to stay with me, but it still gives me enjoyment to live with it. That worn patina............mmmmm

My Letter to you about being Copied -If you feel like someone has stolen your ideas

So many times on the groups on Yahoo, Ebay, etc, the same subject comes up. Someone is frustrated, angry, sad, or some negative emotion about their feeling that someone else copied their work, stole their idea. They are looking for feedback from others , here is my thoughts I shared recently when the subject came up again.

With so many people in the world I think it`s a possibility that more than one person gets the same idea at the same time.

The idea that we own these ideas is what can bring us anxiety. When you own it, you feel you have to protect, keep it from others.

I feel we are meant to bring things into the world and let them go. The more you hold onto something, your arms and hands are closed. When you let it go, your hands are open for something new to come into your life. Do you want to stay with the things of the past, keep giving your limited energy to the past made items, or do you want your energy for the present & future things to come? Take all the things everyone has done to you that you haven`t forgotten, and put them in a suitcase and drag that useless dead weight around with you , or put it down and be free for new things and experiences to come your way.

This copying issue is always a distraction from the present work you should be putting your full attention onto. Do you want to feel bad? or do you want to have peace?

I have a few patterns I couldn`t let go, I had taken a year to figure them out. I put the time in, I figured it out, it was mine. Once I put the pattern out, it wouldn`t be a secret anymore, it would be common. I couldn`t imagine why I was having such a hard time letting them go. I asked Gail Wilson about it and she was kind enough to answer that we are meant to share our techniques with the world, not possess them. It`s my ego that wants to feel important by keeping them, it wants to feel superior . I thought, I didn`t think I had much ego left, but that wasn`t the case at all, it was alive and well. Now I`m just too uninterested to put the patterns out. I tried writing up the pineapple design, but it`s complicated to tell someone else how to do something. It`s naive to think there isn`t someone out there who couldn`t do it too. Our work is like our children, it comes into the world through us, we enjoy it for awhile and then it moves on, lives somewhere else.

How will your life be different from this happening? Did she/he take something away from your work? Your income, you , as a human being? Are you now ruined? made smaller, less important? What if others are out there copying your work and selling at local shows, people you`ll never know have done it. Have they made you smaller? less? Are you a victim of these people or are you an artist who is working, creating, and enjoying the process, the finished product , and all the benefits that come with being able to create what you think of, and not look at what others are doing. Would you rather be the copier or the copied?

You may see what she/he is doing and any others as an offense , but what if they make something like your work, and then move on to their own work, using your influence work as a stepping stone to get to where they will create things on their own.

Not all are blatantly stealing with the intent of harm, many just have never even been told that they have greatness in them, and the ability to come up with their own work. They see your work, then think if they could make that, they will be happy. If they sell their work for a lot of money, they will be happy, if they get recognition, they will be happy. There are many people who have gotten these things and will tell you how it didn`t bring them happiness and sometimes,many times , the opposite.

This is all the ego wanting more and more, and getting validity from outside sources. The work is inside, not outside. Once you start looking inside for your authentic self and authentic work, a whole world can open up for you. But he/she`s not at that place in her life.

I think it`s a management of our energy, we only get so much and if it`s spent on negativity, then we are the ones who are being hurt by it. You aren`t hurting them by having those frustrated feelings, only yourself, let it go and move on.

Do you enjoy putting forth the effort to experiment and create? Because if you are in the moment ,when you create, really appreciate the time you are there, that can be the most important part. Your creation will go out the door, so you`ll have nothing to show, the money will be spent and you`ll have nothing. But if you are really enjoying the experimenting, working, be in the present moment, you will have that still, the experience, knowledge, memory of it, it can be an enjoyable way to make your money , or make a gift, or whatever you plan on doing with the piece you`re working on.

And if you`re keeping your mind on being in that moment and how much fun it can be, or challenging, and even hard at times, you don`t spend it thinking about how much someone else is getting for whatever. And it isn`t for you to judge about their same old design, not your business, you keep your mind on your work. There is no value in that kind of comparing, nothing positive to be gained.

We can make our work spaces special, light a scented candle, put on music, if you `re spiritual, pray God be in my hands, you can meditate for a few minutes to clear your head of all the things of the world, these thoughts about others , thoughts about the rest of your life, and just make it a time to be doing just the creating, and appreciate the doing . I`ve had times I`ve made something, and I know I was there but afterwards, I think , how did I do that? Where did that come from? I was deep in the zone , totally with the piece, the rest of the world fades away, time is different there. Nonexistent.....

People today spend so much time being offended, insulted, being victims of someone or somebody, being various emotions, they miss what is in front of them. Do you know how many people wish they could make something like you do?

I can say for myself , that I would look at someone`s display and wish I had whatever it took to make that display. I would work until I was as good as them or better (in my own mind anyway, not nessarily the truth), and I would find someone else . In my mind I called them my mentor, but they weren`t participating, until the last person I did that to. She and I became friends and I asked her if I could make some dolls like hers, I did , and I could do it, and the desire was over. She knew me well enough that she thought I would take it to another level. I wouldn`t be happy to copy anymore. She was right, but I didn`t know it. To me, in my state of mind, thought if I could make dolls like that, I would find happiness, if I could make a display like that , I would find happiness, see what I mean? I didn`t know it was like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, it was in me all along. My work, my happiness, everything I need is inside me.

Not that I don`t need others, we all need to stay connected, we are all connected, and anything that makes us separate from each other , to me, is not on the right track. To see her mimic your work , and being able to see her in another way, then letting her be, and even forgiving her if you can, this will keep you from separating yourself from everyone. You know, you could probably find a reason to keep just about everyone away for one reason or another, I know I tried, it isn`t preferable, I`m not saying be physically with everyone , just don`t carry the energy that will separate you from another. Forgiving helps you let that energy go.

I hope these thoughts and words are of some help and give you peace. Melanee

Thursday, March 13, 2008

White Ironstone Collection

I fell in love with ironstone at an antique show years ago , where the vendor had only white ironstone. I had never seen anyone specialize in it before and it just was right for me. I`ve collected many pieces , whatever I`ve been able to find over the years, and this is what I`ve ended up with after the cleaning out. Nothing out of the ordinary really but as a grouping I love how it looks. I can look at a piece and remember where I first saw it . Whether it was early one morning at a yard sale or at the flea market in the dark with a flashlight, or at auction.
Even the old buffet it`s on I found at a yard sale, now it was the yard sale of an antique dealer I know, but still, I really like the shape of it. It all looked so serious when I looked at it, so I had to add the bunny in the dress to lighten it up a bit.

Log Cabin Houses

Here are some log cabins I`ve collected over the years. The one on the right was the 1st, it`s roof comes off to play. The one on the left is open on the right side to play with. The small ones , the roofs come off of each of them.

Some Early Clothes and Pegrack

My friend found this very early ladder at a barn sale out in the country . Half of it had deteriorated so badly she came up with the idea of using just half of it as a peg rack. Used the wrungs cut off for the pegs. It`s at least 8 feet long . From the 1800`s. As far as the clothes, they are from left to right a purple wool skirt, over that is a cardboard hat I got at an auction, could it be Shaker? , 2nd peg is children`s wool slips with cotton bodice`s, a wool skirt with red stitching at the bottom, maybe it was a wool slip. Child`s bonnet on top of that, next is a babies christening gown and the wool flannel slip is covering it up, and an old basket on top. At the right is a wool plaid shawl with fringe and a tin lantern.
The house below I`m hoping to find wonderful miniature primitives to have a room setting one day.