For What We’re Worth

22 03 2010

When serious things in my life are spinning out of control, I control all the little things I can.  I prune my trees, I purge my clothes closet, I reorganize files.  It was the file thing – particularly, the old expense records –  that made me realize I have been enameling for a long time. 

That led me to step back and take stock of how far, as an enamelist, I have really come.  I had begun to take my enamels for granted, to forget how much I know about my medium and my craft – how much I have learned from years of practice, study, and sweat.

I wonder how many other artisans slip into this way of thinking.  I believe we tend to undervalue our expertise simply because it is ours.  So often, we exemplify the adage, “Familiarity breeds contempt,” and with what are we most familiar – our own work.

We must celebrate our accomplishments.  Trust that our experience is valuable.  If we do not appreciate our artistic selves, our expertise, our work, we disrespect those wonderful mentor artists who trusted their expertise was worth sharing with us.

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One response

23 03 2010
Jean Van Brederode

Your post sparked some deep feelings. Twenty-six years ago this month, I tragically lost my husband of four months. I was three months pregnant. As I look back on that now, I see that event as a turning point in my life in an unexpected way. Before that, I see things as black and white. After – in full color. Most of us foolishly take so many things for granted – friends, family, our job, our art, ourselves. In retrospect, I look at that time in my life as the beginning of when I really started to live, to see, to feel. You said, “We must celebrate our accomplishments. Trust that our experience is valuable.” I am with you there, my good friend!

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