Setting goals…

…is not something I try to do. I don’t like to be disappointed so I figure if I don’t bother to set myself goals, then when I fail, it’s not a big issue.  I’m trying really hard lately to have more confidence in my work and myself, which seems to be going quite well but there are still those odd moments when these nagging and critical voices in my head (they sound like my mother) seem very loud.  I’m really lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband, who has been my own personal cheerleader for the past 31 years. His favourite line of all when I’m being self-critical is ‘Don’t talk about my wife like that!’ Eventually that kind of support becomes louder than the nagging voices of my past but you know, those little snips and barbs are still there, chipping away at the positivity wall that he has helped me to construct.
The past two weeks have given me a bit of a boost, confidence wise. I had a two page feature article written about me and my work by the Aberdeen Evening Express with lots of photos of my mice and one of me looking terrified sat at my desk.

It’s a well written article but I realised when I read it, that my answers about my work and myself, must have given a totally different impression of the person that I am. I was so wary of sounding proud or confident that I came across as a bit of a bloody twit. I downplayed my talent, it became more about these whimsical little toy mice that I make and less about my art. I didn’t mention my birds, those fabulous embroidered creations that can often take days to make. It was more about mice wielding baseball bats and the charming little Garcia mouse that I made for one of my favourite actresses. Aww look at the little grandmother who sews teeny tiny mice out of tweed! Bless her, she has no confidence in social situations and is scared of doing a craft fair.  NO. Just NO.

So, with that in mind, here are some goals.

I’m framing that article to remind me that I am not just a grandmother who sews adorable little mice. It’s going to sit right in front of me on the wall, above the tatty looking radiator behind my desk. I should have said to that photographer, let’s have a lovely photo of me in the big comfy chair, surrounded by my books and sewing shizz looking out onto my garden. Speak up for yourself woman.

I’m going to apply for next year’s NEOS (North East Open Studios). I am. I’m going to fight the shyness and put up with the possibility of strangers walking into my house and wanting to talk about my work. This is where the doubt creeps in…what if no one shows up? What if I don’t get any visitors? What if one of them is a serial killer who wants to make a giant mouse out of my skin??????

I’m going to do a craft fair. Yes, I know. I said it. I’m not sure which one to apply for but I went along to a great one yesterday, full of absolutely lovely people selling their gorgeous stuff. They were so friendly and that kind of gave me a little bit of confidence that maybe I could be a part of that kind of community. I just have to apply I think. Once I’ve applied, that’s it, no backing out. If I give myself no way out….

I’m going to have more pride in my work. If I don’t, how can I expect anyone else to? It’s that old self help theory ‘how can you expect anyone else to love you if you don’t love yourself’. It’s true. So when someone asks me what I do, I have to put those big girl knickers on, pull ’em up good and high (not wedgie high, that’s not a good look) and speak about my work with love and pride.

I can do this.

believe

 

I can do this.

Shall we be brave together? What do you need to do? Are there any goals that you have lurking around in your heart or head but don’t feel confident enough to either vocalise or aim for? Let me know here or on my FB page and let’s push through all those sharp elbows of doubt, together.

We can do this……

Your inner voice ‘can we?’

Yes we bloody well can!

The big list of what’s holding you back…

It isn’t a big list. It’s one word. One bloody horrible short little word that can paralyse you.

Doubt. 

It is the enemy of every artist, crafter, maker whoever thought that they might be able to sell their work. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, it’s there. It feeds on your insecurities and niggles away at you like some irritating little gnat buzzing around your head. It’s always there and no amount of swatting at it will make it go away. Even if you do manage to kill the damn thing, there’s another one making a beeline straight for you.

I don’t have an answer. I can give you all the things I’ve tried or been told to try. Some will work but most won’t. I will tell you one thing though, how can anyone else love your work if you don’t? I think you already do love your work, otherwise you wouldn’t keep at it. You wouldn’t keep sketching or sewing or carving or painting if you didn’t love it. The trick is loving it. Loving it so much that you want others to love it too.

I make mice. Small cutesy little teeny tiny mice and the odd pig out of fabric. I used to make birds, some of which are really stunning, even if I do say so myself. The swans, the hummingbirds and the peacocks are some of my greatest pieces but my back problems put paid to that, the sitting/sewing position were just too much especially the hundreds of hours that I used to put into it.

swan-main.jpg

I am in love with my mice. My steampunk mice, my Cosplay mice, I love every damn one of them. They take hours to make and each one is better than the last. I make those tiny steampunk hats that measure about 1.5cm tall and every single time I make one, I get totally lost in it. When you buy one of my mice, you are buying my total attention focused on one thing, my love (that sounds bloody naff but it’s true) and my weird little brain and all it’s strange little thoughts.

Whenever I criticise myself or my work, my husband says ‘that’s my wife you’re talking about, quit it!’

He’s also the person who has convinced me into applying for Kirsty’s Handmade Christmas this year. Every year I watch it and think about applying but that absolute arse ‘Doubt’ sits there on my shoulder. It whispers and cajoles until finally my shoulders drop and I think ‘maybe next year’. Well, this is ‘next year’. If I don’t do it now, I’ll never bloody do it!

I shared the video appeal by Raise the Roof Productions and Kirsty, on my facebook page a couple of times as well as seeing it in a couple of the craft groups I’m a member of. On every occasion, there were incredibly talented people saying that they didn’t have the courage to do it. That’s why I wrote this post. I’m telling you that you do. You already have the courage it takes to share your beautiful and time consuming work with us on FB and in those groups, so why not just take a deep breath and apply? You might not go further than sending that email but you know what? You sent that email and that’s probably the biggest step of all for some of you, I know it was for me. The link to apply is here.

Put your big girl knickers on and do it. Or your big boy knickers for that matter!

I believe in you. Time for you to smash that buzzing gnat of doubt with your electrified tennis bat (we have one of those, it’s bloody awesome) and have some belief in yourself.

#biggirlknickers #bigboyknickers get them on!