In a previous post you noticed that I have begun a new adventure: Michael Beads. I have been making crocheted seed bead rope necklaces for some time now. I had a gallery representing me in Union Pier Michigan but it closed several years ago. My "stock" of necklaces have been sitting on the shelf since.
Across from our condo a new shop is opening called The Galleria of Evanston. Its main store is an artist collective in Andersonville with over 100 artists. This new store in Evanston will have over 40 artists and I am one of them.
The difference between my previous gallery and this collective is that at the collective the artist is responsible for designing and maintaining their own space. At the previous gallery all the work was done by the gallery owners.
I have been working on space design, logo and signage, pricing, layout, etc. In some ways I have no idea what I am doing but also I am good at the above skills so have a certain level of confidence in myself.
When Friday came and it was time to install, I panicked. I was wide awake at 6 am, wondering what I got myself into: any talent? will anyone like or buy the necklaces? will I recoup my set up expenses? do I really want to add another thing to do to my already busy overwhelming schedule? will the space look good or amateurish? will none of the necklaces sell? will they all sell so I will have to be crazy making new necklaces? etc.
In an e-mail I mentioned this "panic" to a friend and she wrote back: "Oh, baby. It will turn out all okay. The booth will be good enough. Some necklaces will sell, if you know what the right price is. The Galleria people can help with both. You want it to be great. How about looking at it as a new adventure, and relax into the concept of 'good enough.'"
I answered her e-mail simply, "I don't know how to do good enough?" This caused me to have to ponder. I am far from a perfectionist. Check out behind the doors in my closet. I am of the school of belief that everything I do does not have to be my best. Some stuff will be OK if I just scrape by. When I was in school, often I was grateful and excited about earning a "C." Often I am just happy to "get it over with" and not worry about the quality.
But I guess when my ARTIST self takes over, the standards shoot through the sky to the heaven of impossibility. The end product really matters. In some way, I do not completely understand why or how, my art work represents who I am and it is very important to me to present myself to the world in the best possible way.
My therapist said (and don't you hate people who quote their therapists but this one is a wise man) "There are four audiences with levels of acceptance and artist satisfaction."
BEST is if you love your work and your audience loves your work. You are home free. You love what you are doing and will get customers and praise and sales with your work.
GOOD is if you love your work but the audience doesn't love your work. At least you love what you are doing. Most likely your audience doesn't know how good you are or perhaps you have found the wrong audience and should look for another or perhaps you don't even need an audience, you have yourself. There are options.
BETTER is if you don't like your work and your audience doesn't like your work. This way you can just quit. Stop doing what you do, change what you do, improve what you do. The options are manageable.
WORSE is if you don't like your work but your audience loves your work. You don't enjoy doing what you do but you have an audience who demands more and more. Their compliments and accolades are aggravating because you don't agree and feel they are pandering.
If I am pleased with my work that is where "enough" comes in. Others may not like it but if I do, good enough.
I am pleased with my necklaces but not the art of sales space design. So before the completion of my installation, and before the opening I am in the place where I am not so sure about the presentation or design of my booth.
We will see what happens and I'll let you know.