"To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are."
(photo by Rasmus Lindersson)
I've been sort of driving myself crazy with these questions because I'm currently mentoring a young girl who wants to break into fashion design. She's been asking these hard questions about why certain designers are flocked to, while other designers with equally, if not better work, get passed by. She worries that unless she's in LA or New York, she'll never get anywhere. And I don't quite know what to say to her.
What do you think it is that makes a beader "famous"? Is it being in the public eye constantly? Is it their actual designs? Is it the fact that they make all their own components?
I look at what I make and realize -- it's pretty, but only on rare occasions did I make the components. I'm just foraying into more intensive wire work. I'm certainly not a revolutionary.
I've been published in a number of magazines but I'm not sought after. My phone's not ringing off the hook nor is my email burning up. That's partly my fault, because I'm not seeking out connections, either. When I was in IT sales, that was the hardest thing for me to do, because I wasn't a good schmoozer -- I felt tongue-tangled and awkward and shy in person. I come across much better on paper. This is something I must work on.
The girl I'm mentoring was bemoaning not being X or Y or Z in the fashion world and that she never would be. Inwardly, I was doing the same thing, just substituting "beading world" for "fashion world". And then it struck me.
This is ridiculous.
Wishing I were anyone else is a total waste of time. Not only is it almost like trying to copy someone else's life, it's overlooking what *I* have to offer. I've done a lot of the things to be proud of, and with some pretty serious obstacles in the way. I've been bringing up a son who is convinced that he would rather go to art school rather than college. And along the way, I've met via email some of the nicest, kindest people I could ever hope to meet.
My point? If you've ever felt like a small fish in a big pond, or like you'll never catch up to the famous few, take a look at yourself and take a look at your work. I guarantee that you're much, much better than you think you are. I guarantee you have some supportive e-friends out there. And I guarantee that there are people out there that admire you, no matter how far up the beading ladder you've climbed.
Lori makes jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs and also writes the blog An Artist's Year Off. Her favorite things, besides beads, are books.