Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why I've decided to close up shop

A little under three years ago I was just getting back into the studio after having my second child. I was just getting back into creating when I heard about Etsy and thought that by promoting and controlling the sales of my work without the help of a gallery that I might just be able to find my path to my true livelihood. My work doesn't fit into the typical gallery genre in Vancouver so I thought if I broadened my scope to world-wide that surely I would find a market for my work. Thanks to my online exposure I've been able to reach a much bigger audience than ever before. For several years now I've been promoting, marketing, connecting and learning as much as I can to forge a career as an online artist. It's been a great learning experience and I'm pretty proud of the amount I've accomplished.

Here's the catch.....I have found that I have a real problem with selling my artwork, or rather NOT selling my artwork and feeling as though that's a reflection of my self-worth. I struggle with any large dips in sales and wonder if there is something wrong with me as a person. I know this kind of sounds silly but it still happens to me. Because I have wanted to be an artist for so long and have felt that being creative is really where my talents are, I get down on myself when I feel no one is willing to pay me for those talents. I can get paid (minimally) for baking and for serving diners or working at a bookstore but I almost always pay to create and share my artwork. "Do what you love and the money will follow" still hasn't happened for me. I think it's following a bit too far behind and my persistence and optimism is being drained. I know that I can't give up creating (I've tried several times before) but I think I need to release the pressure to sell my creations as a livelihood. I need to find a way to make a living creatively AND happily.

I will be closing my shop starting June 1 for an indefinite amount of time so that I can really examine what I need in my life, what I need to be happy. I will still be blogging and tweeting because I've found my online friends, you, to be a great source of encouragement and inspiration. I do hope you keep checking and sharing your ideas with me. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and how you've dealt with any money versus creativity issues. Am I the only one?


  1. You are SO not alone. I too recently made the decision to step back. When you put your heart and soul into something and you don't get the response you'd hope it can be devastating... emotionally and financially. At the moment I am really enjoying creating just for me, so enjoy your time 'off' and I'm sure we'll see you 'out there' again.

  2. I can definitely relate Lori :( It's very hard not to take it personally when there are few or no sales. I have thought about packing it all in many times.

    I think you're right to take a breather, take a step back, try and de-personalise the selling of your art. If you don't then you run the risk of hating what you love.

    Perhaps one day you'll come back to selling or another path may open up and you'll find your dreams coming true. It may be a matter of perspective or timing.

    You've done amazingly. I wish you all the best ♥

  3. Lori, This is the first time I've visited your blog. As a woman old enough to be your mother I want to encourage you to not be so hard on yourself. I can remember the days when my children were little and all I was creating was play dough dogs and paper dolls! You have accomplished more than others could even dream of! Enjoy your break and give yourself a hug from me. xo

  4. Thanks so much for your comments everyone. It means the world to me. : )

  5. I just found this post after reading about how you are reopening. I've had a break from my shop and my blog for over a year now and it has been good. I think you did the right thing to close up for a couple of months when you felt like this. I think I persisted too long. I'm happy to say I'll be back to the online world soon but leaving all my old stuff behind. New beginnings. All the best!