Looking Forward

I made these paper flowers for a friend at work and her wedding. They turned out well.
"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."

Neil Gaiman
I posted this quote on Facebook today and was surprised by the quick responses of so many of my friends. I quickly commented back "We should come back in a year and tell each other what we did to surprise ourselves." Then it occurred to me that I have surprised myself this past year. 
I'm reading Martha Stewart's The Martha Rules to learn her take on how to run a business. The first line of the book shocked/surprised me: "In 2004, I entered a federal prison camp in Alderson, West Virginia." Here was someone who acknowledged her faults (not overtly, not dramatically, not sensationally, etc.) right there in the beginning. She talked about the women she met in the facility and how they asked her about business advice. She gave lectures and advice to many of the women and talks about their ideas in her book of business rules. The first rule is "The Big Idea."
I have had a Big Idea this year. I did my basic book folding tutorial and it was successful beyond my dreams. All the other stuff she talks about in the book is good, but it keeps coming down to your own Big Idea and if it is the type of thing that can carry you. At BYU, my art teacher always said "If you have a product, it will sell." At that time in my life, I didn't have a product. I barely had an awareness of myself. It took (and is still taking, I'm sorry to say) years for me to find myself enough to hear/feel what I have to offer the world.
What I can offer that is completely new is my book folding expertise. I know that folding books is a completely impractical art. There is nothing inherently useful about my art (and that bothers me - why?) so it's not necessary for anything. Yet, it is something that uses materials that nearly everyone has access to, those materials that are prolifically dumped in landfills or discarded in libraries and then gives them a new way of being presented. They can be made over into a new life. That life can be perfectly tuned to a particular individual and make them happy. Is making people happy enough?
This leads me into another thought: is this something that I can do for a living? People always talk about "do what you love and the money will follow." I'm not really that sure. At this time, I am responsible for the maintenance of a family of five. Brian's salary mostly goes towards child support. Mine goes towards everything else. I always wonder what I would need to be able to work from home, but I am so scatter-brained that I can't focus on what I need to do. Blah. Then, getting my husband on board is another thing altogether. :)

I wonder what I'm supposed to be doing here in this life and if I'm doing enough. I just don't want to go back to Heaven (yes, I'm assuming the best) and have God tell me "You could have done that if only you'd been _____." Whatever _______ is.

So, this year, I want to work on my Big Idea and expand it. With the success of the basic tutorial and the alphabet folding tutorial, I want to branch out into other patterns. I don't know if it will work, but I'm going to hope for the best. I will continue doing the free ones every month because not everyone will be able to buy the patterns, and I like sharing what I do with others. Martha says to share and teach freely because it does a lot of good. Yay Martha!

Wish me luck.


P.D. Crumbaker said…
I think 2012 is going to be a magical year in which we all sparkle and shine, and I've already seen proof of it in my life and the lives of my friends! You will, too. I'm convinced.

And on another note, isn't it interesting that Martha Stewart rarely appears in the list of influential women, and yet the burgeoning DIY business of today--all the books, blogs, and cable channels--really owe their success in a way to Martha. She was the one who took "arts and crafts" out of the "girl scout troop leader/den mother" realm and made it universally appealing, giving people of both genders the confidence that they could do just about anything if they just figured out(or were shown) how. She asked the question we all ask, "I wonder how that's done," found the answer (yes, with lots of help), and shared that answer. Whatever anyone thinks of her personally, I think it's a shame that this has not been acknowledged.

Hollis G. said…
What a wonderful post. Absolutely wonderful. I hear you completely. These complex questions often keep me up at night, yet I find the reality of life may preclude some 'leaps of faith'. I hope you do keep pursuing your Big Idea - even if just spending a little more time on the side. Thank you for writing this - you are not alone - and I appreciate your blog, your work and wish you wonderful things!
Gina said…
Wishing you a magical year and lots of luck. If your art brings pleasure to you and to others then it is useful beyond measure.
Holly said…
Right on. And also, I love you for quoting both Neil Gaiman and Martha Stewart in one post.
Unknown said…
Good luck <3
This is my first time at your blog - and this is perfectly what I needed to remeber to day.
Thank you.
Now I'll continue with my big idea; Knitting Bee Blankes
from http://the-knitting-bee.blogspot.com/
Anniebead said…
I can relate so much to your post. I too am a librarian working in a University library in the UK. I often wonder about my life and what the future holds.

I have always created things but it is only in the last 5 or 6 years that I have had the confidence to sell the things that I make. I don't have kids but I do have a husband to consider and bills to pay. I can so relate to your doubts and fears. However you have a rare talent for creating original art.

I wish you a well in 2012. Good luck - I will follow your blog with interest and send lots of positive thoughts your way.

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