Monday, December 13, 2010

if you are in a rut...

Maybe it is because I live in New England and it could snow any day now, or too many grey rainy days. Maybe it was being at the last craft show for the year. CraftBoston Show--an absolutely wonderful show that I was honored to be a part of. Around me work was flying out of booths. Lots of customers trying on imaginative wraps, lusting after bronzed pears that exuded that certain feeling of mystery. I had customers--lots of lookers, potholders were leaving my booth at a steady pace but $12 potholders don't add up very quickly.

Now I know my work sells. I have been getting lots of orders on the internet. I didn't actually need more business but I sure do hate to sit at a craft fair trying to pretend I am having a great show--it gets to be old rather soon. What could I do differently?

I confess I have been wondering for a while if my quilt rainbows of summer is too strong for my display. When I show it, I have noticed that of course everyone loves it--it is a wonderful piece. Even up for a Niche Award.  But it is such a strong piece it needs a very special home--not every place can take those blues and magentas, the golds and greens. Do customers focus on that quilt and fail to look at the other wall hangings? Just a theory but I want to know the answer.

To try it out--I first hung my display with six square quilts--all the same size. I loved the simplicity of it but I wasn't getting the "Oh wows" that I always expect. Same rut. Tires still spinning.

Plan B-- maybe my theory is wrong. I go in early the next day and hang rainbows of summer. Lots of "Oh wows" but still no interest in the smaller pieces. I give it a day and a half--do I replace rainbows of summer with hills and shadows?

It will take a while during the show. My feet are tired. My mind is tired. I just want to sit in my chair and smile. I tell myself I don't need more orders.  But then I realize that I won't know if my theory is right unless I try it. I am convinced that I won't sell if rainbows of summer is up there. It is a truism that  I can only sell if I think I can sell. So UGH--out comes the ladder. The box with the quilt. I won't look at the customers in my neighbors booths. I can do this--quickly, efficiently. See what happens.

Done--put the ladder away. Put the box away. And look at the result. I had forgotten how much I love this piece. Such great movement and sparkle. I had blogged about this quilt back when I made it--thought I was crazy to even start it--the blog posts start here and continue for several weeks.  These colors are wonderful.

I get an e-mail from a dear friend of mine. A wonderful caring person and a talented artist but she is having trouble making her work. I am honored that she has read the blog exchange between Lisa Call and myself on lists and strategies for getting work done searching for answers--but still needs just that push to get going.  I think about the questions she asks--good thoughtful questions. She writes of all the methods she has already tried to get unstuck--do I have any other thoughts?

I think about it--yes, there may be a couple little things that could work.  New approaches to some of the questions she raises. Just that slightly different way of looking at things--the rocking the car to get it unstuck. Of course this is a conversation not an e-mail--any suggestions I would make are slight. A different angle on the question. Isn't this what friends are for--that little push to help get unstuck? She certainly has heard me out when I needed it.

As for the craft show, I don't know if it was because I changed the quilts, or my attitude, or the crowd changed but suddenly the show picked up--quilts sold, contact information exchanged.  This was the way it was supposed to be. I am always amazed how sometimes it is just that one little thing.

And you--do you ever get stuck? How do you get out of a rut? What little changes work for you?

1 comment:

  1. Wow - I guess it really did change the energy flow when you took it down! Wow. Display does effect what and how people see doesn't it!?

    I love what you said about rocking back and for to get out of a rut. You can always tell who hasn't driven in mud or on ice when you see people spinning their tires and they only dig deeper or end up sideways. GOOD METAPHOR!

    When I am in a creative rut, I do one of three things. 1. Stop. Take a break. Go outside or bath... 2. Work on something completely different: leave a big quilt for a teeny embroidered postcard. Works every time. 3. Talk to someone who is not an artist or a quilter. They give you a reality check and remind you that your work is amazing anyhow! lol

    thanks for blogging. I enjoy reading your post as much as I love your quilts.