A Little Love from VH Summerfest!

Well I got a little love letter from Virginia Highlands Summerfest yesterday and I had to share.... I've moved from waitlist to ACCEPTED!

Oh.... it really is love I tell you!

I'm so happy to have this opportunity to show my work at this show. It's a great festival and a lot of fun and I was sad when I thought I would not be attending....

So.... doing a little happy dance and sending some love back out to the folks who run the show.

This must be proof that sometimes if you hope hard enough, pour your heart out on your blog, and pout for weeks...... good things do happen!

Us Vs. Them

Well first you might ask, who is them? I find it ironic that I left the corporate world because I hated the mindless politics only to find myself in the jewelry world with different mindless politics.

What is it that drives industries, organizations, and individuals to create barriers? Us vs. Them is something I see everyday everywhere. Academic vs. Professional, Retailing vs. Wholesaling, Etsy vs. E-bay..... The list grows as I find myself branching out into new corners of the jewelry world. It's enough to make a single metalsmith crazy.

I recently told a friend that if I ever become someone who must look down my nose at others to feel solid in my own achievements, please tell me! I find the mentality sickening as there is room for all of us and what works for one doesn't necessarily work for others. You must do what works for you and be proud of what you do. At the end of the day it is your life, your vision, and your success that ultimately will tell if you found the right venue and tone for your work.

I must say that I got caught up in the Us. vs. Them recently. I began to feel less than I am and to question my abilities as a what is the word, artist? A word I still am not comfortable with but will use for lack of another, I found myself caving into this belief that I wasn't as good as others because I wasn't academic enough, I sold my work through Etsy, I retail and I wholesale..... All of these things made me what? An amateur.

Yet..... Yesterday while talking with a friend I realized that I had moved away from everything I know. Everything that makes me happy and fulfilled as well as successful in my chosen medium. I allowed others who didn't know me and do not have my best interest at heart to sway me into thinking that I am not as good as they. That I am not following some pre-determined rules.... and then I remembered, well hell, I've never been good at following the rules anyway! Perhaps this makes me an amateur but I enjoy wandering the course and making choices that I feel confident in. I enjoy the process of finding my own way.... and dare I say it? If They have all the answers, how is it They have time to tell me how I should be running my business?

Realizing all of this ultimately led me to the conclusion that I had in the beginning. I am the only one who cares enough about my work to go the extra mile, take the extra risk, and invest the money and time that will make it successful. I am the only one who will ultimately make this venture successful. That is not to say that others do not want to see me succeed but I am the only one without any other conflict..... just me and my little company. So.... I must do what is best for this little company. I must make the best decisions I know how with what I have and I must embrace what works for me.

And realizing this I too realize that there will be doors closed in my face for my choices. There will be those who believe I am somewhat contaminated, there will be those who mock me, and I must find the ability to overcome that mentally and balance it with the doors that will open for me.


Well, let me start by saying, anything less than yes, is pure rejection. I have had a bitter sweet year; so many wonderful situations mixed with so many frustrating ones.

This year I decided to expand into some local art festivals and shows. I was hoping to introduce my Cobblestone and Reflections line to the local market. Not everyone knows that there is a steady process one must follow to get into shows which can be fairly subjective. Art festivals tend to be juried meaning that you submit photos of your work and booth and a jury or panel reviews the work of the artists and assigns the artist a score. Depending on what your score is and how it falls in the range of other like artists you may or may not be accepted into the show. Typically you will get one of three results, Accepted, Denied, or Waitlist.

This year has been the year of the waitlist for me. Technically speaking this is not a denial but a way of letting me know that my score was not high enough to get into the show but high enough that I will be in line if another or several other artists decline to do the show. Of course, I am not a glass half full girl when I get the waitlist letter. This feels like pure rejection to me. I have been devastated and my self confidence has been shaken. The jury does not send out feedback or let you know what it is that you could have done better so you the artist are left to criticize your work, your photos, your booth, and anything else you can think of. I have been wait listed for almost every show I have applied to this year. Adding salt to the wound, I realized, this means if I had only done just a little better I might have been able to turn the denials into acceptances.

So, I don't know for sure where I missed the mark but have spent hours racking my brain. I have spent thousands of dollars revamping my booth and will now send yet another set of pieces off to be professionally photographed. The jury is a tough mistress and she expects only the best. I am hopeful that by working hard to get each and every piece just a bit better that perhaps next year I will find more success.

Not everyone knows me personally but this has been a heartbreaking experience for me. Failure. I feel like I have failed in some way..... and even when I put it kindly..... I failed to live up to some expectation, I still feel this sinking in my chest that perhaps I'm just not good enough. Pair this up with a personality that doesn't allow failure and ultimately devastation occurs and then torment as now I must figure it out. I must find the missing link and fill the void of the missing piece. I must make sure that next year is better....... I can't handle another year of rejection.

What Inspires me.....

Inspiration...... I must confess that I enjoy reading what inspires artists of all mediums to create.... It's such a difficult question for me to answer directly as I believe that the inspiration to create is just an extension of who I am. It is there and the desire to see what lies in my sub-conscience as a physical entity is real. But where does such inspiration stem from? Where do I get my ideas?

Well, to be truly honest, life. My life. What I see and what I have seen creates images of how I choose to view the world. What I have experienced both good and bad drive me to find peace within my chosen medium. I find that my work is often therapeutic. There is true meaning in each piece for me. There is a story.... and it is my story, my vision, my reality. I often thought that I would be a writer of some sort growing up but find that though my story is not written in words it is still written in form. I want my work to inspire others to make each day count. I want them to see the hope and possibility we have as human beings and to find in our humanity the compassion that we often lack... to take the second of the day and appreciate it for what it is and to appreciate and value the fullness in spectrum of who we are. I want us to find the individual in the ever growing we. So this is the story I work to breathe life into and the meaning behind my pieces. So though my inspiration is not concrete.... it is what it is. It is my vision that I hope to share....

There is a part of us that is hidden within. A brighter version of ourselves that only those who truly know us can see. This small part of me is the part that I put in my work. The true optimist.... the person that I wish I could be all the time. The glass is full girl, the dreamer, the hero, the lover, the faithful..... this is the girl I know and the girl I work to build upon. The perfect me on the perfect day. This is what inspires me.... the better version of myself and the better version of the world she would imagine.

To read more stories of inspiration, check out the following blogs: