It all depends where you stand…

It all depends where you stand…

Hello there!
Thanks for popping in.
On Wednesday’s Blog, we look at art from the heart;
not so much WHAT we do, but WHY we do it.
And today, two words have surfaced in my mind:

Why do we crafters spend every spare penny 
on inks, paints, papers and craft tackle? 
And every spare minute 
making cards, 
making art, 
being creative?

Why do we strive to master artful techniques,
go to workshops to learn more?
Why oh why do we invest so much energy in 
what to the vast majority of folk 
is nothing more than a greeting card?  
They just don’t get it, do they?
I mean, I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones,
because I can craft and be creative all day long if I choose to.
I actually make a good living from my art nowadays,
and even more importantly, 
I find myself in the very privileged position 
of being able to help others get inspired and motivated. 
But had I listened to what people said 
when I was eking out a living as an artist back in the day,
I would surely have crawled back cap in hand
to the corporate, sterile world I came from.

Take a look at this banner.
(Be warned: it is very negative and quite offensive).

That smarts!
I can feel your anger and indignation from here.
How could anybody be so disdainful and negative, I hear you cry!
And yet, how many of us have had to listen to this kind of judgemental, soul-destroying claptrap?
Haven’t we?

As crafters and makers, we often get it from both sides!

But I can only speak for myself. 

I have been ridiculed by so-called real artists for being a mere crafter. The minute you mention stamps, 
you’re catapulted out of the inner art sanctuary.
Remember that patronising pat on the head that Benny Hill 
used to give his poor tormented side-kick, Jackie Wright?

Yes, I have been in several situations with art lecturers, fine artists and painters, who have been quite condescending towards me. 
Which stings. But then they know me not, and I rarely feel like getting to know them!

If they had any idea, ANY IDEA, 
how powerful, uplifting, healing and even lucrative
the art of crafting as WE know it actually is,
they would surely choke on their pretentiousness.

Ultimately, I am creative because I am.
My guess is that you are, too. 
How I choose to express my creativity is very personal.
Same for you.
If I get a buzz out of spritzing shaving foam with coloured ink 
and then pulling card through it, that’s my prerogative. 

And if you pick up the shaving foam can
 and run with it, 
then that fulfils me further.

So, with that little rant over, 
let’s take another look at the banner.
This time, read straight across, left to right…

Now THAT’s more like it.
Now I’m excited and energised again.

Read it out loud if you can.
It is one of the most empowering, uplifting things 
I have read in a very long time. 

There are always two sides to every argument, right?
And now you know the rest of the story. 

love and hugs, 

64 thoughts on “It all depends where you stand…

  1. I have had many people being condescending towards me most of my life, I used to be a Photographer, only used to be because I do not have that much time to do it anymore but I have not lost the passion for it, when I used to do exhibitions with two friends we were always criticized for saying photography is an art, we were always told only Painting was an art with Photography it was just aim and click, if only they could have seen all the work that was involved. Its pretty much the same with craft, only crafters can understand, people can be so ignorant. Right I have ranted enough but I know where you are coming from Barb.

    Love & hUgs

    Jacquie J xxx

    1. I have to admit to being mainly a point and click photographer, but I hope I do appreciate what goes into so many of the fantastic shots I have seen from others. With identical cameras, I would still not get that one beautiful shot other than pure accident. That is an art I either do not possess or just do not have enough time to devote to developing. Art should be inclusive not exclusive. Perhaps we should no longer call ourselves "crafters" but instead use the term "artists" and be proud of what we all do. xxx Maggie

  2. Brilliant Barbara, as you say if you don't see the whole picture you are able to read anything into a situation. Seeing the whole picture gives a very different perspective. And whilst the first of the saying really hurt the whole statement is inspiring xx

  3. So true! I think being creative should be put on perscription, so many benefits to just creating something, anything! I do get a buzz when I play with new stamps or inks or paints, and as someone who feels passionately that being artistic and being able to draw are very different I applaud people like you that give people the confidence to try things for the first time. Before I found Clarity and your demos I would never had thought about using paints, gelli plates, canvas, stencils etc. I used inks and stamps but the inks were only used on the stamp. Now I can make a card using inky backgrounds, stencils and stamps completely from a blank piece of card. My arty journey is now wider than I ever thought it would be, and that's down to you being an inspiring teacher. Thank you. Xx

    1. So many of us will agree with what you have said Donna. Some of my friends look at me as though I am not quite together when I tell them what I have been up to with the gelli plate or shaving foam etc but it is all so wonderful.

    2. You are so right. Joining in with this wonderful creative family that Barbara has created for us has made such a difference to the way I look at things. People look at me as if I am mad when, after an inky session at class, I do not just clean the ink off the mat, but instead spritz it and mop it up with a piece of card which I then dry and store for future use. They do not understand what you can achieve, instead of buying expensive papers that others have designed. Having said that, if that is the way others like to work, that is their choice and should be respected. They are still crafting in their own way. xx Maggie

    3. Yep spot on. I used to use patterned papers when I first started out, but now I make my own. I also look at stamps differently, try to see how they can be used. For instance I needed a dandelion recently but didn't have one so used one of the tree mantles and then drew in the stems. Its only from watching Barbara do things like this that gives you the confidence to play. Xx

    4. Barbara has made me look at so many things in a different way. I find myself out and about looking at the way the hills fold around the landscape and how everything works together, and cloud formations. I also look at stamps and stencils to see how else I can use them, and what I have that I can use when I don't have the "correct" piece. The dandelions make perfect fireworks too. xx Maggie

  4. This resonates with me as i have spent my whole life safe in the knowledge that cannot draw and so am not artistic. But now at the grand old age of 42 i am learning that i am actually quite creative and sometimes thats the same thing.

  5. Wow Barbara I was with you all the way, I do sometimes wonder why I spend so much time on my passion for crafting, not only cards but painting, sewing, knitting and soon to be weaving. WHY because I love it….if I asked for payment for all the hours I put in …. I would be very rich in money.

    But I can say that I am rich in wonder at the moment something comes together. There is a happy smile at the card received, or someone just says WOW.

    I think I will take that picture and save it. Maybe it needs to be put on the "facebook" page.

    Well crafty hugs from a very damp and dismal day but a very happy crafting Pen x

  6. Evening Brenda, thinking of you XX
    Evening Sheila, hope you have had a pain free day. XX
    Evening Diane, have you finished cleaning and started crafting yet? XX
    Evening Dot, how are your snuffles? XX

    1. Hello Donna pain is more controlled today thank you no crafting today but had a chat to a dear friend helping each other through some tough days xxx
      How was your day ? Xxx

    2. Hi Donna it's been raining and miserable here today so no cleaning ( yeah!), I've put some texture paste on my canvass, made a coffee cake and got ahead of myself for dinner prep so quite a fun day. Hope your wet playtime wasn't too bad. Xxxxx
      Hi Sheila sorry to hear you are not up to crafting at the moment, it's good you've got a friend to go through things with. Xxxx
      Sending you both a hug x

    3. Hmmmm not sure, I would test it out on a scrap of parchment first. It should work, I know stickles work so the quickie glue should be alright. Let me know when you try it. Glad your cold has dried up, nothing worse than being drippy! Xx

  7. I was incensed when I read the first half of that banner! It brought to mind something someone said about a card I'd made (my first mixed media attempt). I was pleased with the way it had turned out, but the response was a disdainful 'Oh, it looks like you've used a stamp'.
    I came late to crafting via watercolour painting (which I still love doing). My art is never going to set the world on fire, but I do it because I love it and all the reasons you have shared too. I'd rather spend my money on art and craft materials than almost anything else. The whole banner is much more like it and I've a mind to type it out in a beautiful font and turn it into an artistic piece to frame. Unfortunately it would probably be far too big to turn into a stamp!
    No, the detractors just don't get it and we should pity them and their sterile world!
    Tonbridge Sue

  8. Dear Miss Barbara,

    You is a very clever lady wot makes us all sit up and take notice – and more importantly, believe in ourselves just a little more…………… some days we all need a kick up the a*se or a pat on the back and you have the uncanny timing of knowing on which day to do wot. Fank oo. C xx

  9. My local art (and crafts!) shop posted this image recently – I loved it then and now. I was one of those who was very creative as a child but didn't do art at school as I couldn't draw (and had to do drama instead which was like having teeth drawn twice a week for two years!). I also absorbed the message that it was fine to do for fun but not something "proper" or serious like maths and science which it was okay to spend time on. Not to denigrate either, but there's room for all and all have their purpose.

    Thank goodness I kept doing a little bit of creating for fun and now I'm getting to really explore possibilities!

  10. Hello Barbara

    How inspiring. It doesn't matter what you create, a lovely meal, a cake, a card, knitting or sewing, or a beautiful canvas, it is all creative and soothes the soul.

    The posters are brilliant too.


  11. I don't consider myself very artistic ,but with the help of clarity chicken stamps I made a card for my sister she was so pleased with it she has framed it and put it on her kitchen wall..thank you sooo much barb for your inspiration and time given at the workshops to help me get that confidence to try different ideas…

  12. I don't consider myself very artistic ,but with the help of clarity chicken stamps I made a card for my sister she was so pleased with it she has framed it and put it on her kitchen wall..thank you sooo much barb for your inspiration and time given at the workshops to help me get that confidence to try different ideas…

  13. What a wonderful blog. Without my crafting, your inspiration and my determination – I would go mad, stark, staring mad. I have to do what they call " a proper job" needs must and it is a poisonous atmosphere. However when I come home, have a good old rant and some camomile tea – then!! I can pick up my clarity inspirations on paper, in my head, on the blog and just disappear into that wonderful world of creativity.
    Thank you for all your help in the past and what is to come. Get Dave to check how your wings are sprouting and your halo.
    Love Anne (Reading)

  14. I am useless trying to draw anything really does look silly but love the creativity of stamps etc. I love the workshops I attend and have also made some lovely friends. xx

  15. My youngest has just achieved a first class degree in fine art and textiles…Am a proud mummy and might point out that every single tthing in our homes was designed by someone!

  16. How much I have learnt since finding clarity ,how much you have taught me ,the cards I have made using your products the pleasure I get from giving and the wonderful comments I have had after sending my cards and groovi bookmarks how much clarity has changed my daily life xxx

  17. Wonderful, you start reading and somehow you go deeper,deeper and then you come out at the end feeling enlightened and so much more positive. Thank you for taking time out to do your blog Barbara, now it's back to my Groovi plate! x

  18. A few years ago, we were at a New Year party with new neighbours. I was introduced to a chap who asked what I did, to which I explained that my health was now poor, but when well enough I crafted. He sniffed, and said "Oh I supose you knit Christmas tree decorations!" I smiled, and said the last two items I made were one-off silk art-to-wear bags, one of which was worn to a very smart tiara and white tie "Do" at the Mansion House, and the other wsd worn by a girl on the Red Carpet at the Pride and Predjudice film. … his jaw almost hit the ground!

    1. A very good friend recently said that he thought my cards were all printed on the computer. After he had been picked up off the floor, he was disabused of that idea. His wife was furious with him as she did realise the work that went into each individual card. Well done for your triumph over ignorance, and you must be so proud of your work. xx Maggie

  19. This says it all Barbara, the left side full of self doubt and ridicule, but then reading the right together with the left balances the whole thing out and leaves us feeling more in control and uplifted. Thank you for helping us to achieve and be the best we can, and I definitely could not have a life without creativity as it is a part of who I am and this community we have here and in the wider blogging arena is so supportive and caring and just great to be a part of. x

  20. Hi Barbara
    What a great banner, I prefer the whole version to the negative version. I've just stopped and had a think, I'm very lucky that I come from a family where creativity was the norm , dad was an architect who enjoyed painting and could draw a sneaky picture of a person very quickly, mum and gran always knitted, grandad grew beautiful flowers and my sister did art and made her own clothes. I knitted and baked my way through teenage years before getting a proper job in finance but soon found craft and have a lovely husband who is happy to craft and indulge my habbit too – I know I am very lucky. I don't take praise easily, but do get a little glow when someone likes what I do and I've gained so much confidence over the years with your help, so a big thank you.
    I hope your roof is weatherproof now!
    Much love
    Diane xxxxx

    Hi Dot xxxx
    Hi Brenda xxxx
    Hope you are both ok xx

  21. YES! I totally agree with what you've covered in your blog today Barbara – a lot of thought goes into yours (& our) creations, and non-crafters wouldn't necessarily understand the pleasure we get from it. People craft for many reasons and the main one is "because we WANT to!"
    Hope you & Dave have a lovely evening, Carole xxx

  22. that's quite deep today. i have decided that i don't want to listen anymore to destructive people and do what makes me happy and actually keeps me sane. take care, hugs xx

  23. Well said, Barbara. Creativity is creativity, I'm glad you ignore the snobs. They seem to creep into almost every human endeavour, from writing (literary -v- popular) to art, fashion, houses… so many things. But you know what? Success is the best revenge, especially on all those patronising people – and just look at you now! 🙂 Yes, definitely best to ignore negative people. I just love making things. And you help me! So thank you. K x

  24. That just shows how you have to read things properly or listen to the whole argument before reacting. I love how you got us going and then brought us back to happy calm. I joined a group not long back of painters, not realising how insular and enclosed "fine arts" can be. They looked at me as if I was an alien from a distant universe when I got out my acrylics, brayer and Gelli plate. They were slightly more intrigued when I did some parchment, but they obviously did not consider what I was doing as art in any real way. On another level, my talented granddaughter is apparently worried that she cannot talk to me about the kind of art she loves at the moment, which is nail art. She cannot believe that I am in awe of the fantastic and intricate designs that she can create. We all need to be aware of what others do and be inclusive, which I believe most of us "crafters" are. As a teacher, my belief is that everyone has a talent in something and should be encouraged to follow it, even if it is "just" a hobby. We all need relief from the stresses of modern life and that is what my crafting has done for me. It upsets me to see friends who cannot let go and lose themselves in something they love. Your two words for today are just perfect, and I am going to pass this on to my hairdresser who has just been told that she needs to relax and unwind more, and has just discovered the joys of colouring books. Thank you for another intriguing and stimulating post. xxxx Maggie

  25. You are so right…they just don't get it…..maybe someday I hope they will understand what it means to me and many people here. that it takes us away from our sadness and for many here our ill health in to a world where we can be happy even though we will never be such brilliant artists as yourself but we enjoy trying and with this blog I thankyou …take care…Dot..xx

  26. Super, thoughtful message today. I do love it when influential people use their position to inspire, lead, reassure etc.
    I used to feel quite frustrated that the joy of card making was not matched by the modest output – just a greeting card. But it is really the creative process that appeals so much, as well as the positive comments from friends and family who appreciate your efforts and really don't know how you do it. And anyway you've brought us canvasses now!
    One of the best things about Clarity Retreats is getting together with equally hooked, mad, creative folk who get it and also speak stampish, stencilese and gellian.

  27. Thank you Barbara. I have been told many times over the years that I am not an artist. I was told my art wasn't good enough. Today I shared a witch I drew, baby steps yes, but brave baby steps for me. I felt this too often and had it said too often when I was young. Now I am more mature and I'll tell you what: STUFF THEM: THE PRETENTIOUS WHO KNOW ALL ABOUT FINE ART. I make art, I create and I make stuff. I don't give a rats you know what about that lot any more. I will never be a fine artist and I'm fine with that but don't they dare tell me I do not create art: I'll wallop them with my walking stick or run over their toes in my wheel chair! Love you babes Karen xx

  28. Dear Barb, Thank you for such an uplifting and inspirational blog post. It looks like all of us feel the same. It may not be big, it may not sell for millions, it may not make you famous, it may not fill everyone with joy, but it is our art, our creativity, our joy. And with people like you to inspire us, we are blessed. Take care. bx

  29. Hi Barb,
    What a brilliant blog post. How true it is too! I was thrown out of art at school when I was 14 as I couldn't draw for toffee! However, my Mam ( God love her) was a qualified time served dressmaker and seamstress and encouraged me to try sewing and knitting which I did (& still do). I did tapestry and embroidery too and made various " pictures" for members of the family, which I have to say are still hanging on the walls. I did a tapestry of Henry VIII and his 6 wives which I took into school to show my history teacher. He was blown away by this and actually took it to show the other staff in the staff room. A couple of days later, the art teacher saw me and said how impressed he was with it and asked how I'd done it. I gave him some quick lessons in stitches and low and behold, he started to incorporate this into art lessons. How about that for a turnaround!! I have since discovered stamping, Groovi, canvasses,due cutting and Gelli plates and all I can say is thank you to you and others for giving me the inspiration to try new things. Thank you so much, love to you both, Alison xxxx

  30. All I can add to this is that being creative, being part of this wonderful community, has saved my sanity…..I still get chided for the mess I can make, but who cares, I love doing what I do, even though it's only for me…so what if THEY don't understand….I have serious health issues, I rarely leave my home, my crafting saves me….thanks for this Barbara….xxx

  31. Hated the first poster loved the whole one crafting has saved me I love doing what I do for charity.
    I am in constant pain with arthritis and get very down st times my work lifts me makes me happy I rest my case love you Barbara
    and Dave xxxxxxxxxxjune

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