Since I've been getting back into the groove of bead- and jewelry-making, I've been looking for fairs, festivals and craft shows where I can sell my work. I've been amazed at the sheer variety of events available (some of them a little scary!) and amused by the various application requirements. Some request just basic information and the fee for "your" space, while others seem to want your family history for the past five generations and unlimited access to your bank account. Juried shows even have varying requirements - some want three photos, some five, some want pictures of you actually creating your product while others want a photo of your booth/display set-up. So far none have asked for bloodwork or drug tests, but I wouldn't be surprised if that pops up eventually!
The one that has me scratching my head, though, is the request for an "artist's statement". First of all, I have a hard time referring to myself as an "artist". It just seems too high-falutin' for me, you know? As for a statement - are they looking for a statement about what I make? How I make it? Do they want my resume, if you will, or is this more of a philosophical question? Confusing!
After seeing this pop up in several show applications, I started paying more attention at the art fairs and craft shows I attend. Quite a few of the participants had their "artist's statement" posted somewhere in their booth, and I made a point of reading every one I could find. While this was certainly entertaining, it didn't really give me any clear direction for creating my own statement. Rather, it seemed to confirm what I already suspected - an artist's statement is whatever you make it. Some were simply an explanation of the product, some listed the artist's accomplishments and training, and some were quite lengthy discourses on what "art" meant to that person. Some were one paragraph, some were an entire page.
With these examples in mind, I began pondering my own artist's statement. What do I want to say to people who would read my statement? After quite a bit of thought, this is what I've come up with so far.
When I make a bead or a piece of jewelry, I try to make something that I find beautiful. I believe that complexity of design does not automatically mean beauty - or quality, for that matter. Something very simple can be very lovely. I want my jewelry to be something the owner reaches for again and again, because wearing it is a pleasure. No ten-pound spiky necklaces here! I use the best components I can afford, because no-one wants junk. I believe in keeping my prices reasonable, because everyone should be able to own something they find beautiful. And I do this because I love it; beads make me smile, and I like to make other people smile too.
So there you have it: my very first artist's statement. Not to be conceited, but I think it does a pretty good job of expressing my thoughts about what I do. Now to see if posting that on my booth will increase my sales....what do you think?