Recently on Instagram I posted briefly about my motivation as a maker. What it really boils down to is that little thrill I get when someone else connects to a piece I've made. When you create something, it really feels like you are putting a little piece of yourself out there in the world. It can be both thrilling to make something from your heart and terrifying to wonder if others will view it in the same light as you. If another person gets excited about my work, it really lights my fire and makes me want to make more.
There are a couple recent examples from this past Holiday Market with the Memphis Artist's Collective that I'd like to share. One is a Star Wars Quilt that was built around a vintage pillowcase. I've only ever seen that particular Star Wars pattern twice ever and both times they were coming from Canada. I really struggled trying to figure out the best way to frame it without distracting form it. In the end I was pleased with how it turned out. At the show, this one wonderful woman just fell in love with it. She explained that her grandson was six months old, meaning that this would be his first Christmas, and that his parents were avid Star Wars fans. She was thrilled to find something that was both Star Wars and unique. She also picked up a set of receiving blankets to match. It made my week to be able to make her and her family so happy.
Another set of items at the show had me a little worried that they would never find a home. They were two pillows upcycled with a phychodelic seventies Noah's Ark print. One pillow had the ark and animals and the other had the rainbow and sun. I thought they were bright and cheery, perfect for a nursery or Sunday school room. They sat there untouched for the first few weeks and I started to worry that my taste or eye was off when I made them. Then one evening a gentlemen came in and was just so excited to have found the perfect gift for his nephew named Noah. He said it was the anniversary of his Baptism and he thought that pillow set was just perfect for the occasion. I have to admit, I can't think of a single better reason to have made them.
Being able to see how happy my goods make people is deeply motivating. I've been selling online for a few years now. Very often the only contact I have with an online customer doesn't even happen until after the purchase, when they leave a review. I have to admit, the reviews my customers leave sometimes make me blush with pride. Getting to sell in person and see people's initial reactions to my work is another whole level. Sometimes It's the craft that draws them in and they want to know the techniques I used to piece and quilt something. They will tell me about their Grandma or Aunt who quilted and how meaningful their family quilts are. Sometimes it's the fabrics that catch their eye and they will excitedly tell me about how they slept on those same bed sheets when they were a child.
Seeing that nostalgia factor, how my work brings up happy memories and a new piece to connect to, is really rewarding. That is what motivates me to make more. I hope that each and every one of you find a reason to create and motivation to continue doing so.
Go make something,