“Did you use a bead? You should try some real wrapping around a cabochon.”
“You have a home studio. So… you’re unemployed?”
I’m sure many artisans and business persons in the creative community have heard one of these statements, or its derivative, at some point during their artistic journey. Or, if you’ve been unfortunate enough to share in my experiences, you’ve heard one of each with an army of other unintentional (and sometimes completely intentional) condescending, thoughtless remarks quick at its heels. I am reminded, sadly, there are sharks in every pool, and your waders wont protect you, and its your responsibility to think more of yourself than others think of you. Because there is (out there in the great beyond of farmer’s markets, craft shows and social media) a mythical beast by the name of “Perception” which carries within it the great power to reduce an artist’s ego to ash with one burning hiss of its voice.
That’s quite dramatic.
But it doesn’t make ones fear of this beast any less traumatic. And it is this fear, the instance in which it has been utilized to create a sense of self-depreciation in others, which has created a need for conversation today.
Perception. How one perceives. Merriam-Webster provides one possible definition of the term as a “physical sensation interpreted in the light of experience”. Ah yes… “in the light of experience”. This is the heart of the definition wherein lies the possibility for the perpetuity of cruelty or, at the very least, misunderstanding bred from laziness. It is ones experience which defines the perceptions they carry and share with others, the perceptions which are sometimes based on a capacity of comprehension that is stunted by negativity or, perhaps worse, complete ignorance.
When someone says to you your artistry is not real… it’s not “real” wire wrapping, it’s not “real” jewelry… their perception of what is “real” is based on their limited personal experiences as regards the subject in question, likely bred from a similar situation in which perceived opinions were delivered to them in a similarly negative light. And, whether intentionally hurtful or not, it shows an incomplete understanding of the creative world as a whole and sometimes also an unwillingness to accept new perceptions based on new experiences.
In other words, negativity breeds negativity.
It is our responsibility to experience creativity in as many ways possible, and spread a changed perception in our wake. We should put down the rod of pretentious perceptions and lift up the mantle of acceptance. To snuff out the malicious use of normally harmless words such as “real” or “home-made” and put in their place words of beauty, acceptance, humor, understanding. And though I will not hold aloft my fist in the air in an act of righteous indignation and declare today “Artist Independence Day”, I will ask of you this:
That’s really it. That’s all there is to it. Be nice to each other. Support one another. And in those moments when the beast of Perception comes charging, be unafraid to dig in your heels and face it. You’ll find it’s really just been an unloved mutt all along.
Thanks everyone and happy weaving!