Are my handmade items good enough?

It can be a real challenge to believe in the items you create.  Just because you love to do it and you like what you make, that doesn’t mean that you are comfortable showing it to others.  Am I right?  I know that I personally I have experienced this many times, and that is why I started the Handmade in Norway Facebook group.

I have worked as a Illustrator and Graphic designer for many years.  So many years that I should be confident in my abilities by now.  I paint, I sew and I make jewellery.  I can honestly say that I am rarely 100% happy with the pieces I produce.

On the one hand this can be a good thing.  As a creative person the need to produce the best work you can will propell your work from being ok to being beautifully handcrafted.  But only if you use that doubting voice constructively.  However it is all too easy to let that voice get the better of you, and it can all too quickly become a real hindrance.  It can create an obstacle so impossibly large that it becomes an absolute show stopper.

Using self doubt as a form of constructive criticism has proven to be a way for me to deal with my demon called self doubt.  However I do also have many years working in the industry to back me up.  I have exhibited paintings, I have sold prints and jewellery online and now I am building up an online portfolio of my illustrations.  So I have experienced, on many occasions and in many different settings, how challenging it can be to believe that my work deserves to be shown.

As a hobbyist wishing to venture in to exhibiting, or maybe even selling your items, it can be very difficult to move past that.  I have experienced members of the Handmade in Norway group contacting me, sending me images of their work and asking me if they should post images in the group, asking me if their work is ‘good enough’.  These are always people who have lots of pictures, they have been creating for a long time, and they have the images to prove it.  They are very very skilled at what they do.  They are proud enough to document their successes by taking pictures.  They just need a little push perhaps to dare to show others.

Maybe someone else makes better handmade cards, maybe my jewellery isn’t as contemporary as others people make, maybe the colour is wrong, maybe no one will like it, maybe no one will comment, maybe this and maybe that… There is always going to be a maybe, or an excuse to not do anything with your talent and keep it confined to an audience of one.

We need to get better at celebrating creativity of all types.  Why should we feel uncomfortable about showing our creations?  When in fact, putting more beautiful things out in to the world is a truly wonderful thing to do, and should be encouraged.  It’s not bragging to show what you make, you’re not saying ‘Look at me, aren’t I clever?’  You’re saying ‘I made this, I’m proud of it’

Whether you want to sell or just showcase your work it is important to allow yourself to be proud of your accomplishments.  The members of Handmade in Norway are all there for the same reason.  They all appreciate the skill and time and devotion that goes in to making things yourself.

Just for the record, there will always be someone who can make it better (in your eyes).  That is a fact!  Creativity is subjective, some will like your work, and some won’t.  And you will nearly always like someone else’s work better than your own.  Fact!  But please remember, there will always be people who absolutely cannot do what you do.  There will always be people that will marvel at the fact that you MADE something.  There will always be people who simply wouldn’t know where to start!

There will always be a larger audience outside of your own four walls.  Not everyone will love what you do, but some will.  Not everyone will appreciate the work you put in to making what you make, or the time spent learning your skill.  But some will, and you’ll find lots of people that understand these things in the Handmade in Norway group.  So stop worrying and start posting pictures.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t have an online shop.  It doesn’t matter if you have never sold anything.  We are in the group to celebrate creativity.  We are a community.  We are a network.  We are the most appreciative of audience for anything handmade, that you will find.

Where better to challenge yourself and get feedback, and post all those pictures you have of your work?  So I hope to see you showing your work very soon.  You can sell your work there if you want.  But you don’t have to.  We’re just happy to see what you have been creating!

Kelly xx

You can join the group here Handmade in Norway Facebook group Please note that you can join the group no matter where you live.  However only people living in Norway are allowed to post images of their work.

You can visit our website here Handmade in Norway