Saturday, June 16, 2012

how to not put people to sleep (unless they are under four feet tall and have gotten on our last nerve)

Very few people will like our best, most amazing work - the work that makes our hearts sing, the work we are being called to do,

the stuff that will not get done unless we do it

but the more we try to adapt our work to suit a larger audience, a more generic crowd,

the kind of people who will nod and smile at our stuff because it fits their idea of what stuff is supposed to look like

the more we water ourselves down for that - well the more ordinary our work is likely to become.

(Zzzzz - cue the caffeine please)

We will not have anyone who hates what we make, but we will not have anyone who would kill to get their hands on it either.

(yes, we want customers who are wild eyed rabid for our makings - peeps with itchy trigger fingers, hopefully poised on the $45 in their wallets and not an actual 45 - peeps who will tell 2 friends who will tell 2 friends and so on and so on and so on - free locket to the first person who emails me where the hell that tells 2 friends thing is from it is driving me crazy)

Think of crocs

(the shoes not the amphibian/reptile? - my brain has somehow lost access to the animal classifications we learned in 3rd grade, actually my brain has lost access to alot of things these days - I am trying not to let this worry me although every time I start to worry about things I have forgotten I then forget to worry so it is all working out very nicely for me)

they are the butt ugliest things on the planet, but fans are totally rabid for them - entire jewelry lines have been created to bedazzle them for pete's sake..

No one who first saw these things was thinking "Hmm, I like these shoes."

We were either thinking they were the stupidest things we had ever seen or they were freakin' genius and we had to have them and if we were thinking that - we bought them.

Now we probably can't be so specialized that we appeal only to eco friendly gardeners who grow zinnias in Nebraska (do zinnias grow in Nebraska?), but we have the whole wide world to market to now and eco friendly gardeners who grow zinnias sounds about right to me for the size of a marketplace we can RULE.

Many years ago I bought an industrial embroidery machine

(later I bought another one and I still have these 2 gigundo machines in our extra bedroom - they come in handy for overnight guests who want to add some monogramming to their bathrobes during their visit)

it was at a time when they had become sort of affordable

(with an emphasis on 'sort of' - this business was mostly a giant money suck for me - I will have to post about that sometime)

and numerous people were getting into machine embroidery. I met alot of people during my time involved in that industry and I can tell you that everyone I know from those days who is still doing it specialized in their best, most amazing work.

The girl who only embroiders baby bibs that she makes (and has 3 babies), the couple who go to horse shows and only do that (they have 2 of their own so know what horse people need), the guy who only does vintage car enthusiast caps (and of course he has a vintage car, too) - well, they are all still stitchin' away.

All the people who thought that more is more and tried to do everything for everybody is gone, closed sign in the window, outta business, machines gathering dust and rust in their spare bedroom .... (ugh).

The stuff we are called to make - the stuff that makes our heart sing - the stuff that keeps us up at night - the stuff that won't get made unless we make it is probably very, very specific stuff.

This is the stuff that has grown from our own life story

We just can't deliver our most powerful work when we try to appeal to everyone (cue the politicians in on this one) - we will only succeed in putting our audience to sleep - and unless that audience has been driving us nuts all day and is currently wearing footed pajama bottoms - this is probably not a good thing.

* be yourself print - art by erin leigh

1 comment:

Roberta said...

Truer words were never spoken.