Wednesday, July 19, 2006

How do you explain what you do?

How do you explain to an 'outsider' what you do? Would be interested to hear your comments about what to say to people who have absolutely no idea what a stamp is (unless it's the postage variety), let alone an altered book or an ATC. Do you say you're an artist and you work in mixed media for a simple answer? Or do you say something more involved. A doll maker would say they make dolls. A scrapbooker would say - well everyone knows what a SB does/is, a beader the same, teddy bear maker etc etc. The list goes on. But how do you clarify to somebody who has no idea, what you spend your money/time/effort on (other than family of course - *big grins*). I used to say that I made cards and leave it at that. But now I hardly ever make a card, so can't use that one any more!

I've also attached an ATC I made last night for a 'Collections' swap. The small square idea came from a very talented artist - Julie Hetherington her blog link is here check it out - I haven't made an ATC for that long and I thoroughly enjoyed making this one. Quite involved and only 8 more to go!


  1. When Ive spent hours working on an artistic piece I cant help feeling disappointed when I show it to my parents and the comment is'well what do you do with it'
    Does it really need a purpose?
    I try to explain to my dad the process of an idea,and the learning journey that produced the finished piece.
    Yes he says, but now what.
    He does not get 'IT'
    Just to look at it doesnt stir in him questions of 'how was it done,what products were used,what was the inspiration'
    I tell of the joy of making somthing that visually pleases me(and hopfully others)knowing that I have created it with my own fair hand.
    'But now what'
    How do I say I feel sorry for him that he will never know the joy.
    We hug and I tell him I love him, and will make one just for him.
    He still doesnt get 'it'

    I tell people Im into rubber stamp artistry on mixed media.Most people say that sounds interesting and would love to look at what ive made.Makes for a great excuse for a get together.
    Ive come to the conclusion that as long as Im enjoying my artistic journey, that is all that matters,and Im not looking for anyone to understand or approve of the time ( or money )spent on the adventure.
    Dawn xxx

  2. I have been pondering this post for a few days Nat. It is a hard one isn't it? How to explain what your art is (and what it means to you).

    I think of myself as a mixed media artist these days and if people ask me what I ' make' I tell them ' all sorts of things'. But predominantly I think of myself as a collager. As I love putting bits and pieces together to make a whole.

    If people show interest I might elaborate but I have found most people don't delve deeper. Unless they are ' one of us' and ask all sorts of questions on how a piece was made(I am obsessive about knowing all the details!).

    I remember last year I was at someone's home and I was talking about my art and someone said ' Oh, it must be nice to have a hobby'. I remember thinking " it's not a HOBBY, it's a passion!. And almost felt insulted (not that they were meaning to insult me of course).

    That word 'hobby' has never sat well with for art. Art is truly a form of self expression. Of showing who you are.

    And like Dawnie (love you girl) creating is a learning journey and I love the whole process. Of discovering new techniques. And, discovering more about others through their art and more about my own depths through my own.

    Have you found that people who are not really into art say ' you should sell your stuff'? I get that a lot and I try to explain that is not what it's about. If someone wants to commission a piece that is fine but I create for the love of it.

    This probably doesn't answer your post but has given me a lot to think about it! So thankyou.

    And, like Dawnie I never question this journey and what I spend my time on.

    Have a great weekend.

    Dotee xoxo
    P.S Love the Collections ATC!!!

  3. oh oh oh I ABSOLUTELY love this ATC that you have made. It's so adorable!!! are you going to do a whole series of colours?

    Actually, i have this problem when i show none stampers what i do but even with the visuals, you can see that it doesn't compute on their faces. So they ask, how do you do that and then i say " with rubberstamps" and the confusion gets deeper as their forehead wrinkles into a frown LOL. Then i guess i end up saying rubberstamps come in all kinds of shapes... but you can still tell they don't get it. i think saying "i make cards" is probably the easiest.... and instead of i use ink, sometimes saying "i paint with ink". LOL
    Different people respond differently. I have a book of sceneries.. some people look at 2 pages and then close the entire book and i wonder what made them not look further..

    I have shown my dad my art before. He was patient and indulgent but i was kind of embarassed that i had to say they were stamps instead of i drew them... my mum thinks they are interesting but probably has no idea what it means to me (while my dad understands). She thinks i should divert my energies to crafting he garden (ie. do some gardening).... which i have been lately and discovered that i have no idea how my neighbour makes round mushroom topiarized bushes.

    oh well.. i think "i make cards" sounds the easiest :oP

  4. Thanks girls for giving me some food for thought. Thanks also Sulea for the colour series idea. I think I might just do that. Cheers