This may sound strange...but I feel a bit weird trying to promote myself. I know as a self employed creative I have to be part of the money driven world if I want to sell anything. I just find it hard. I know I should start a facebook page and update my blog and do promotions and twitter constantly but I just can't seem to bring myself to do it. Its honestly that I feel a bit akward and sort of weird singing my products praises. I kind of just want to quietly make things in a corner...and if they impact someone who chooses to buy them that's great. I really like being connected to my process and to other people...I find it hard to think...'will people buy this or that' or find my inspiration through current trends. I am not trying to sound arrogant here...I just find it really hard to make and sell stuff in a profit before people focused world.
|Morris and his good friend Edward Burne-Jones|
|Morris' Wallpaper Design|
|A painting by Morris|
One of my big hero's is William Morris who was the founder of the Arts and Craft Movement in Britain in the late 1800's. I wrote a research paper on his life and found myself really amazed by his spirit, writing and charisma. He was the kind of person who swirled revolution around himself..who really set out to be different and found people following him. He lived in the midst of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, and witnessed horrible factory working conditions and the literal destruction of the land around him by belching, dirty factories and mines. He was a major advocate of hand craft, artisan-ship, beauty, joy in labor and people before profit driven societies. He wrote amazing poetry, novels and political/philosophical works. He was also prolific as an accomplished architect, painter, furniture maker, illustrator, designer and even weaver! Ironically, he was a gifted business man, and created products that the public really desired. This frustrated him as he found himself attempting to retain his principles within a capitalistic profit before people structure. In short, in order to function within the framework of society he had to play by the rules and adjust his process to reflect this. Toward the end of his life he abandoned business to become a socialist. He realized that rather than attempting to fit within the current economic structure, he needed to pull down the structure itself and begin again. His end aim began pushing towards a socialist, people before profit society where he felt his process could function with integrity.
Here is an excerpt of Morris' thoughts on factory production:
"We should be the masters of our machines and not their slaves, as we are now. It is not this of that tangible steel and brass machine which we want to get rid of, but the great intangible machine of commercial tyranny, which oppresses the lives of us all."
These are the words of his student Walter Crane concerning Morris:
"As an artist, no doubt at first he saw the uglification of the world going on, and the vast industrial and commercial machine grinding the joy and leisure out of human life as regarded the great mass of humanity. But as an employer he was brought into direct relation with the worker as well as the market and the public, and he became fully convinced that the modern system of production for profit and the world-market, however inevitable as a stage in economic and social evolution, was not only most detrimental to a healthy and spontaneous development of art and to conditions of labour, but what it would be bound, ultimately, by the natural working of economic laws, to devour itself."
Now I am not saying we need to pull down society as we know it and become socialists. I am only trying to express that I understand exactly how he felt. Convicted but trapped within the current system. Desiring to create and sell pieces to sustain our life, but overwhelmed by the hoops we need to jump through. This is my beef...I really feel uncomfortable with the current system of economy.
This is why I love handcraft and its movement toward a more sustainable, people loving economy. I am glad to be a part of this change.
I do not want to be part of a manipulative marketing world that essentially coerces people into believing they 'HAVE' to have this product when they really should be paying their rent. I know I have to do some amount of marketing/selling, but if so, I would like to do this in a respectful manner. I do not want to push or prod or try to be something I'm not. I think that people are lovely just as they are and shouldn't have to try to be 'cool' or fit in to a trend. I really want to celebrate individuality and the beauty of choice. I want women and men to feel comfortable with themselves and realize that they are valuable, incredible beings with lots of good to offer the world.
I am not trying to sound haughty or better than anyone....this is something that I really wrestle with and want to shine light on it. I understand that marketing and selling is part of life. I just want to be real and not feel pressure to change myself in order to make some money. I need to eat and like having a home but would really like to accomplish this in a way that I feel comfortable with. Is this so hard? I am writing this rant as I do feel the pressure...its certainly lots to think about and really stirs inside of me. What do you think?