What happens after you do a workshop

She was out of her comfort zoneI’ve been a very busy bunny – doing 3 workshops in just 6 weeks!

First there was Donna Downey with a journal class.

Then Chrissy Foreman Cranitch helping me paint big on canvas.

And the delicious experience of a big journal with Jane Davenport over two whole days.

I learned lots (of course).  And had amazing fun (of course).  But other stuff happens too.  Things you don’t expect.  And you don’t know it’s going to happen.  You don’t know it’s gonna be a part of it when you sign up.

I’ve grown and changed so much because of these workshops and now…..

It doesn’t feel like my stamps fit anymore.

Oh crap.

That wasn’t meant to happen.

Or was it?

I had stepped away from the art world for a while.  Because things got clique-y with the art people I knew.  I was tired of fighting with my art, trying desperately to find ‘my style’, the way my SHeroes had.  It just all got too hard and wasn’t fun.  At all.

But even then, the dream never went away.

The whispers were always there.

Then I had my mid life major re-assessment.  If you’ve been visiting here for a while, you’ll know I call it that instead of a mid life crisis because I wasn’t in crisis, I was just re-assessing.  It sounds so much better, doesn’t it?

And so, after getting a glimpse of how I could turn at 13 year dream into reality, I was on a mission.  And my first step was a blogging course.  Then I started working with designers.  Because of that path, combined with being away from the art world for so long, the stamps were influenced more by graphic design – divine logos and gorgeous websites – so my stamps came out kinda like that.

It wasn’t until part way through the design process that I got up the courage to start getting inky and painty in the art room again.  Plus I figured I kinda oughta since I was making arty products.  And when I went in there, I was a little directionless.  Just throwing stuff around.  Lost but trying.  Any courses I did were business courses.  Most of the blogs I read were about blogging, not art.  It’s no wonder the stamps came out how they did.

When the stamps arrived from the manufacturer, it was a huge milestone for me.  (You can watch the short video here – there’s even tears).   After (by this stage) 14 years of dreaming about having my own range of stamps, they were finally in my hands.  They looked so perfect – even more beautiful than I had pictured  for all those years.  Truly a milestone moment in my life.  And a major signpost on this big wild crazy adventure.  I don’t want to take anything away from that.

But, after jumping into the art room much more this year and stepping away from the business learning side of things, my art has become much more the focus.  And after doing those 3 workshops in the last 6 weeks, things have changed so much.  Yes, in just 6 weeks.

I feel like my art style has taken a huge leap forward.  And it means my stamps don’t really fit anymore.  If they ever truly did.  The thought behind them was always that they would be used in art journals.  But somehow, they just came out as pretty images.

Because I let the designers talk me into things instead of staying true to what I pictured in my head.  It was their interpretation from a digital design perspective, not from an art journaler perspective who constantly has ink and paint and glue on their hands – because at the time, I wasn’t inky or painty.  Because what I thought was pretty in their portfolio was what I ended up with.  I let myself be swept up and swayed by them.  By the graphic design world.

So now what?

Some of the arty girls I’m channeling started off in one direction.  They have grown as business women and artists.  They have developed their range and changed direction as they did it.  Sometimes they changed direction more than once.  In the scope of things – my starting place is pretty damn awesome.  But that’s just it.  It’s a starting place.  So I have an Etsy shop full of stamps that I don’t connect with any more.  They cost a small fortune to get developed.  And there were lots of cranky dances in the lounge room and ugly, snotty tears to get to this point.

Was it all for nothing?

And am I brave enough to start over?

I’m kind of at a cross roads.  I need to keep selling the stamps I have as well as figuring out what I want next.  I’ve got lots of post its and scraps of paper with ideas on it.  So why aren’t I jumping in?  Why am I holding back?

Maybe I feel like the first set, with so much frustration and tears and work and time and… were a waste which doesn’t sit too well.  Maybe I’ve got a thing around the money side of it because I feel guilty I haven’t made back the money I spent on the first set (let alone that magical word profit).   Do I feel like this was kinda sorta a failure and I don’t want to fail again?  Cause none of us want to stick our hand up and wave it around saying
saying ‘guess what, I failed’.

But my big wild crazy dream is not gonna happen if I don’t have another go.  If I don’t find the courage to try again.

And a do over isn’t so bad, is it?

Coral.  xo

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    5 Responses to What happens after you do a workshop

    1. Vicki from in.cube8r says:

      Girlfriend…………..you are in a pickle, aren’t you!?!!
      It’s so awesome to see you being so upfront & honest & raw, but it’s also painful to see. As an outsider you never really know what’s going on with others.
      You think I’ve got it all together………..I must be a really good actress!
      I think you’re at the brink of jumping head first into it…………..and then this!?!!
      I know you’re a think before you leap kind of girl, and I know you’re having some major direction issues…………..but for what it’s worth, you can’t think that this is a stop sign.
      Think of it more as a hurdle…….put it in perspective
      In mixed media there are UNLIMITED sources – can’t you have an all encompassing collection of items, including your lovely stamps!?!! I have a set of yours that I love and use CONSTANTLY, and will have to get back to Etsy next pay day and get some more.
      As much as I love cats, there’s more than one way to skin them (sorry, old saying probably out of style now, but you know what I mean!)
      Use your new skills to gain confidence with your AWESOME work, and integrate them into your plan, whatever that plan is
      You’ve done all the leg work to make these happens – you KNOW the process………
      I think you just need to tell yourself that you can do anything – just not everything all at once xxxx

      • Coral says:

        You always have your superhero cape on and show up just when I need you *smiles* You forget I am the Queen of Impatience combined with being stubborn and a perfectionist – isn’t my husband lucky with a combo like that?

        I want to feel in my right place, with stamps that fit that place and time and space. And of course I want it yesterday. The adventure just feels like it is going so slowly and not quite how I want it.

        I love the circle stamps – I know those are your favourites. Mine too. But it’s important for me to move forward into the right space. A space where I adore my designs and can’t stop playing with them. Where I want to grow that collection, rather than feeling like I need a do over or to take another left turn. I can see it so clearly, I just gotta figure out how to make it work.

        Thank you for your beautiful words Vicki. You are truly the crusader and cheerleader of handmade & creative business. xo

    2. Erin says:

      So much of what you say here speaks to the journey of entrepreneurship, I think — or at least, a lot of it sounds like my own experience. I’m not so much in the art world, of course. But there’s the pouring of everything into the thing you want, and then the realizing that maybe you’ve grown/changed/whatever and now it’s not the thing you want anymore. And there’s the need to walk a line between running a business and practicing your craft/growing as an artist/writer/whatever. Too much business and you lose touch with the art; too much art and you have no business. So much for one person to handle.

      The thing I admire about your journey (well…one of many!) is your candor in sharing what you’re grappling with. The immense courage it takes to say to the world (and to yourself) “This thing maybe wasn’t right after all” is so admirable. Hold on to that honesty and willingness to iterate as you grow!

      • Coral says:

        Thanks so much Erin. I keep telling myself the art SHeroes I admire so much didn’t start where they are now. They had awkward starts and unexpected left turns and do-overs too. They’ve had moments of ugly, snotty tears and times where things were not going to plan. It’s hard to remember that sometimes – especially when thy are posting about their latest awesome thing (book deals, licensed range of products, sold out class, magazine feature).

        It’s important I share the hard bits on this adventure. Because when people you look up to only post the good stuff, it makes it seem easy. And then you feel like an idiot when it isn’t so easy for you too. Are you missing something? Are you not talented enough? And the magic question of am I there yet and how much longer?

        Thank you for your beautiful words Erin. Wonderful and wise as always.

    3. Pingback: It took me 2 years to figure this out… I started at the wrong end

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