This past week has been quite important for me, as I had a much needed realisation that was also a little bit scarey.
If you have perused my website you will probably have noticed that in addition to my artwork I also make and sell a variety of small gift items from wooden kitchenware to funny signs and wall hangings.
As much as I am warey to admit this, I do not enjoy making the signs or the lettered wall hangings, but they do generate a reliable income alongside my artwork. The most common orders coming in recently have been for signs with funny or meaningful quotes on them, and signs with personalised names on. I started to loose motivation for my creative business last week because making signs is just not something I enjoy.
I struggle to justify the amount of time I put into each piece for little return but I feel that I am unable to increase my prices for these items as they can be manufactured for less than I already charge. I began to realise last week that making these things just because people want to buy them, results in two things. 1: I’m underselling myself as an artist (I want to create original artwork not produce something that can be manufactured cheaply). 2: I am not enjoying myself. Neither of these things fit with why I began working as a self-employed artist. I want to support myself financially but not at the expense of spending all my time doing something I don’t enjoy and which in turn takes me away from the artwork that I am passionate about (which is probably why I’m not suited to your bog standard full time 9-5 job).
So I have decided to stop making my affordable homeware range. I will no longer be making lettered signs or wall hangings because these pieces don’t represent my artstyle or the wildlife artwork that I feel so passionate about. It’s not that I can’t compete with commercial products, I just don’t really want to. I want to draw, I want to experiment, I want to challenge myself, I want to push my own boundaries and improve as an artist, and I want to produce premium artwork that cannot be reproduced by jo blog. And I’m ok with that. I love drawing to create prints, I love my pointillism wildlife artwork, and I love the new wedding range (so much fun!). So why use my time to make things I don’t enjoy? Essentially, I am learning to say no to the areas of my business that don’t bring me joy but that I hold onto out of fear that I can’t afford to lose the money that it generates..
Now I’ve made that decision it actually feels really liberating! I now have much more time to work on the artwork that makes me happy, and to concentrate on building the creative life I want to live without compromise. It’s given me an injection of time that I have needed to start a new big piece…and this one really is my biggest challenge yet! (More on that next time).
I’m now selling the last of my homeware stock and will only be offering my pyrography kitchenware on a continual basis (because my utensil/chopping board/rolling pin designs are all my own and can’t be found elsewhere which makes me happy). So if you do want to own one of my signs or wallhangings then make sure you don’t miss out now as you won’t be able to get them from me again. I’m feeling positive though- time to think about and concentrate on bigger things 🙂
Do what you love, it’s your gift to the universe.
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