It is so refreshing to read other metalsmiths' blogs. I mean, really.
Because of a multitude of reasons I haven't pushed myself as much as usual (not enough time, limited resources, too scared, etc). During my college jewelry classes I would set myself up for a challenge in every piece, because those were the pieces I wanted to create. The ones that make you want to rip your hair out and make you come up with all sorts of ridiculous ways to make it work how you originally envisioned. When those are finished it is the most wonderful feeling in the world.
Unfortunately it's also why I never want to make the same thing again.
Once I finish a piece and have that sense of accomplishment from the completion I am done. DONE, done, and done. I may wear it, I may be thrilled beyond belief with what I was able to create, but I am DONE. Neverwannaseeyouagain kinda done. Rather, Never wanna MAKE you again.
You would think it would be easier, right? Since I've made it once the second time is bound to be smoother? I don't think so. I am quite afraid it's going to be even more difficult to replicate a piece. I become scared when I write on ANY of my items that I would just LOVE to make you another one in your size. Of course anything handmade will have variation, but how much is too much? What if I just can't pull it off?
From a business standpoint, I know I have to get over this. If people are drawn into your shop or your work because of a specific SOLD piece, you have to be able to either replicate that sold piece or if it's OOAK, work with them to create something similar. If you can't do that, you likely lose a customer.
What's so refreshing about reading other metalsmiths' blogs, then? A couple of things. First of all, this is something we all struggle with and we all will struggle with so long as we're actually trying to make money with our craft.
I also mentioned that I'm too scared to push myself...mostly because I don't want to waste materials. I know that if I push there's a good chance I'll end up with scrap metal instead of a finished piece some of the time.
But you know what? That's how you get better. And that's how you create those really incredible pieces that you are proud to show off. And EVERYONE who works with metal KNOWS that there are just some of those days that you don't have it, and you're going to ruin stuff.
And what else is refreshing? Inspiration. Yup, I just admitted that I look to other artists (even those who work in the same medium as I do) for inspiration. No, I don't think I'm copying or stealing anyone's ideas. Yup, I think people need to get over themselves.
But that's a post for another day.