I present my work at a weekly market, this is obviously much different than just getting to stay home and sell on Etsy or selling on commission at a brick and mortar shop. With this method of sales, I get to interact with all manner of people on a regular basis. My market has taught me about selling, psychology, building a following, and really all sorts of great stuff to learn as a craft artist.
It also means that I have to hear the same comments and questions all the time. A few of these I really love (depending on my mood) and a few I can’t stand.
Here’s a sampling of the most common, paraphrased in my own words:
“You must love what you do.”
This is one of the better ones, it’s more creative and heartfelt of a comment than most people can manage.
“Do you do all this?”
This one’s not bad either, it gives my ego a little boost, especially when I really like the body of work I have on the table.
Thank you very much for your appreciation, I realize this is your way of paying me without buying my work. Thank you.
“Do you have any good spanking spoons?”
This one comes in many different forms, but the joke is always the same. Sometimes I respond, sometimes I just smile, I usually tell them how many people have made that joke today (usually around 3-5).
“What kind of wood is this?”
Of all these, the person who asks this question is most likely to be a customer. It shows curiosity about the work, not about me or the presentation.
There’s so many more common questions and comments.
there’s one with which I have a hangup:
“You are so talented.”
Every time I hear this, and people say it a lot, I become resistant to just accepting the praise and go into my “dutiful educator mode.” Ask my family about it, I’m terrible.
I think that too many people have it in their head that you’re either born with some magical ability or your just like everyone else. I think that my only real special ability, not that I’m really that advanced in my craft yet, is that I practice, research and try new things.
Talent means nothing, there are a great number of very talented people that for some reason are not manifesting their desires, it’s only practice and time that amount to good work and presentation.
So, maybe some day I’ll learn to simply smile and say “thank you” when the good people of the Saturday Market compliment the “talent” that I don’t feel I really have. But, I’m not ready for that. Instead, I’ll continue do my best to inspire them and you to simply keep working on whatever you want to learn. With time and curiosity you’ll find that your mind will see the lines, your body will get stronger and you will do better and better work.
Here’s to practice and giving yourself more credit than just “talent.”