Creative Shyness

Posted on 20 September 2017 at 22:00

I am not a natural when it comes to touting my wares, I would much prefer lurking in the background, peering out from under my emergency woolly hat (ear flaps optional). There is a certain amount of judgment that you have to be prepared to take if you are presenting and selling the things you make. It has taken me many years to get to the point of caring more about enjoying the things I make and less about the reaction to it. Similarily, the decision to propel myself, trotters first into the world of social media has been fairly traumatic at times. It felt -  and still does at times - very counter intuitive for me to do this. I am persevering.

It is glorious to have a positive reaction to something I have made or written, less so if it is less favourable. I frequently have to have a bit of a chat with myself about this. Gradually, I had a bit of a revelation - I didn't really care about the negative feedback as much as I had thought I might. It can be incredibly helpful and most importantly I remained mostly unharmed afterwards.

I follow an amazing artist and doll maker on Facebook and she posted this quote from a Japanese artist, Takatoshi Sano,  a little while ago. I read it out to myself several times and my conclusion was that I wished I had read that 20 years ago.

"Artists make things following a hunch and a whisper.

They often do not know why they do what they do let alone where it will lead them in the end. They simply make things. They live to make things. It is nice when someone comes along that connects with what they have made but there is no guarantee that this will ever happen.

There is a temptation for the artist to repeat what has "worked" in the past but as soon as they do this the adventure has come to an end and they have stepped over the threshold of the factory. Creating a formula for success is actually a paved road to death. There is no formula. There is only the mostly hidden path through the brambles that leads to the heart wrenching beauty that makes life worth living."


The first time my creative work was put under scrutiny was during an Art foundation course, many moons ago. I see this now as a wasted opportunity, so transfixed with horror to produce something that was thought decent, overwhelmed any natural creative instinct. The freedom to create is so important - to create is great - Procrastination is no friend of mine. No...not a friend...more of a shifty shadow that scuttles after me sometimes.

I mentioned an artist and doll maker I follow. Please do look her up as her work is exquisite.