Every month we send handmade badges to our favorite DIY Challenge entries. Rachel has made most of them, because she’s a whiz, and I was too scared to attempt embroidery. When I finally sat down to try* I found myself enjoying the process, and realized that the little imperfections were just fine. They were evidence of my process, and the process is everything.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the little monsters that keep us from creating. The doubt that we feel about our talent and ability, the fear we have that what we make will be judged by others, the comparisons we make to those who we feel are more talented.
Well, those are my little monsters. They make it difficult for me to call myself an artist, even when people specifically ask me if I am. Even when I’m working on rearranging my studio to work better for the way I make things.
But here’s the thing. When I take a step back from my own insecurities I see that for me the value of art isn’t in the product; and it definitely isn’t in the value that someone else places on the product. All the value and happiness is in the making.
When I’m making something, I get to do all my favorite things. I solve problems, like what tools to use to get the result I want. I teach my hands to move in new ways. I explore the interaction of materials- the way certain paints soak into wood, the way paper is cut by different blades, the way it curls. I train my eyes to see the world differently, to take items out of context, to turn a stick into a story. I play with the sound of words in my head, the picture they can paint with a little touch of color.
So what if all that beauty in my head and in the world turns into something that no one understands but me? Who cares if the end product is less “art” and more evidence of exploration? The magic is the way I feel when I’m working.
What do you think? What part of making brings you the most joy?
*I used a lot of the techniques from Rachel’s Alphabet Hoop Art tutorial, craft felt, embroidery floss, and good ol’ creative drive.