…doesn’t mean you have to DIY all the time.
Wise sentiments expressed in an article I was reading on Etsy recently. The author really hit a tender spot for me but it was true.
The article was about feeling overwhelmed and having yourself going in two many directions at once. That’s me, trying to run 4 shops…and realizing the validity behind the old adage, “Jack of all trades, master of none” or behind the argument that multi-tasking just means you’re not fully invested/focused in any one thing.
When I started this journey a year ago, I knew I wanted to be an artist; wanted to create and craft things especially in an eco-friendly way. I started off with a shotgun approach. Try everything and any new idea that comes your way and see what sells I rationalized. And in some regards, it did work. I found things selling that I didn’t think would as well as the converse – things I thought would be a hit didn’t go anywhere. But in this process I jumped on every idea, bought all sorts of supplies, spread myself and my business budget too thin. I still have boxes of unfinished projects as well as supplies waiting to be utilized because I once had an idea.
David, while always supportive of my endeavors, warned me that I might be going in too many all-too-different directions: papercrafting, painting, sewing, candle-making, etc. And my studio (and our entire downstairs for that matter) was showing evidence of my craft-hoarding. Saving all sorts of scraps of paper, quirky things from the trash, every paperboard box from the recycling bin, you know, just in case. And I also think that it was part of my eco-artist mentality that I needed to save everything and try to make something useful out of it! It was a challenge to me and when I was able to successfully save something from the recycling bin or trash, I felt victorious. Like it was my duty in saving the earth.
A year later, I’ve learned a lot and have finally settled in on a more linear path. Focusing on my mixed media whimsical art brings me the most joy and is doing exceedingly well in my shop, which admittedly is a huge stroke to my ego, so I’m spending the most time there…even if that means not making anything new for my other shops in a couple months. My supplies shop, while not a creative outlet, is “easy work” and helps me to pay down my start-up costs (much money spent on silly things that I’m not even focusing on now, sigh). But it’s a lesson learned. And now that I’ve been schooled, I can make better choices on where I spend my money and time.
With the busyness of my business (especially now with the holiday around the corner!), I’ve also had to let go of a lot of the DIY stuff I used to do around the house. I don’t make bread like I used to, don’t hang the clothes outside as often as I’d like, etc. And I’m trying to balance that right now. I guess the thing is that I really LOVE working on my shop right now and my whimsical art. So if that means I don’t have enough time to make bread…well, then, that’s okay because it’s a trade-off. And I’m trying to remember that just because I can make a scrubbing “brillo” pad out of reused onion bags and bits of soap, doesn’t mean I have to do so all the time. Sure, I feel good when I do that, knowing I made one more eco-friendly step in the right direction. But, like everyone else, I’m trying to find balance.
So little by little, I’m putting many things back into the recycling bin, selling down my supplies and not reordering and even reselling or donating some goods that I thought I could make into something to artists who can make better use of it (i.e. wine corks, stamps, fabric).
Learning to let go, pare down more and once again, refocus. Recurring theme in my blog, don’t you think?