Someone told me the other day that they thought I was brave. The reference had to do with running a business in this crazy economy and in an industry (magazines, not polymer) that is in such flux, and all I could think was, “I don’t feel brave.” There are many things I do not say, or things I do not do because I’m afraid of the consequences. The thing is, entrepreneurial ventures are tenuous, and so, when one is in this position, you find yourself being so very careful not to ruffle feathers because you fear it might lose you a reader or two. But, you know what? I really dislike that self-censorship, and I have never be very good with “I should …” rules either.
Today, I want to say something about someone’s art because I think what they are doing is so exciting, but I also want to let them know that I think they should keep running with it; that they aren’t there yet. To say that may imply that it’s not good and could be taken as criticism – which some people frown upon – but, that’s not it. The promise here is exciting, but it feels like there is so much more to explore. I think a general reticence to say things like “That’s great! Now push that idea,” is doing a disservice to crafters in our community. Yes, kind and complimentary is much needed, but the occasional encouragement to keep exploring and challenging oneself is much needed as well.
So today, I’d like to say “Bravo!” to New Zealand’s Ayelet of Ayelet beads and then ask for more. We started on polymer around the same time and due to online groups we both frequented I’ve been watching her progress since the beginning of her polymer career. She has turned into an excellent and prolific caner. The majority of her work has been in flower canes and items covered in these canes, which she does beautifully, although it’s not an uncommon type of polymer product. A piece like this here makes you stop, though.
It was sometime last year that I ran into this piece of Ayelet’s on Flickr and was happily surprised at the direction her work was taking. I thought we’d suddenly see tons more of this from her, and there is more, but not a ton, if her Flickr pages are a good representation of the production level she has in this vein of work. All I know is that she is still persisting with this contemporary exploration between bunches and bunches of lovely flowers.
However, if we are not seeing more of this kind of work because maybe she’s still uncertain about pushing this direction, I wanted the opportunity to say, yes, keep it up!, and if she has done a lot more of this but is not showing it, I, for one, would be thrilled to see what else has come of this kind of exploration. Not only that, I hope this is a bit of needed encouragement for others in a similar boat to push work that is taking them far afield of their usual pieces. If they are intrigued by it, of course. I know of at least a couple other clayers who have this branching off, and they are exploring, but aren’t sharing it publicly. It’s hard to put work out that we aren’t certain about yet, but you won’t be able to get that invaluable feedback if you don’t put it out there–if not online, then at least among others who can give you good feedback.
So, maybe I wrote this today to put a little something more behind that person’s comment that I’m brave. Because I want to be brave, but some days I just don’t have it in me. Some days I feel I might. But mostly I wrote this, and gained some bravery from, hoping that we will all strive to be brave. Just making art is brave. Every step you take with it after creating it is like hero-level brave, and that no matter how good you are now, you can always push yourself, not to do better, but to explore bravely.
If Ayelet’s piece here has you intrigued, you can see more of this among a riot of colorful flower covered adornment and other items on her Flickr pages and in her Etsy shop.
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