Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Putting Yourself Out There

Just in case anyone forgot, the theme of this blog is finding ways to become a better carver. There are lots of ways to challenge yourself.  For me, that entails taking stock of what I've done and where my skills are compared to some time in the past and compared to other carvers whose skills and work I admire. I knew at some point I would have to come out of the closet and put myself out there. Out there being the commercial market. It's all well and good to say, "oh, I just carve for my own pleasure" or "I just give my stuff away". Okay. I agree with the pleasure part. And it is nice to gift our work. But how do we know how good we are. Besides seeing if you can win a ribbon at a local carving competition, selling is the only real barometer. Friends and family will always smile and graciously accept a gift you made with your own hands. And fellow carvers will find something nice to say about your work - hey, carvers are very nice people! But for a total stranger to open his or her wallet and fork over some hard-earned cash for something you made ... well, that's the ultimate compliment. I have earned money lots of different ways, but none as gratifying as the first $25 I made for selling a simple Santa carving. What is most important about offering up a carving for sale is that I had to complete something.  I have a big box of unfinished projects and, at some point, I decided I needed to finish something to where I could call it good enough to ask money for. It has made a big difference to the overall quality of my work. It's not about getting rich carving Christmas ornaments and if I don't sell everything in my Etsy shop, that's perfectly alright Those carvings will look good on my mantle - or I will give them away. But before I could list them for sale, they had to be finished. They had to meet good-enough-to-sell standards. And that has made me a better carver. Name of the game!

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