I kept my first diary, a pink pleather journal with a flimsy silver lock meant to keep my brother from reading my innermost thoughts, in grade school. In that- and other, less-glamorous- journals, I’ve poured out my heart, dashed off notes-to-self, and recorded minutiae of my life no one would ever want to read.
In the digital world, we craft personas to appeal to our tribe, the group of people who might actually care about what we have to say. Sometimes, especially on an e-commerce website like this one, we blog in a cynical effort to build a bridge between ourselves and an audience who might like to purchase something from us. While I believe commerce, when done well, is an exchange of value where each participant is enriched equally by the exchange, I am guilty of thinking first about developing this persona, and second about how to get real with an audience. When I do this, I struggle to come up with something I think my audience might like to read about- mostly art-related topics, rather than what’s really on my mind or in my heart.
In this sober time (April 5, 2020, entering my fourth week of social isolation due to the spread of COVID-19, aka, Coronavirus), more and more of the people who interest me are veering into new blog territory. They are getting REAL. They are writing about their feelings. Not necessarily about their work-product, but about how they process their lives. In that spirit, I challenge myself to write a new kind of blog post.
Many people wouldn’t think it of me, but I’m actually a very private person. If you’ve met me at an art fair or trade show, you wouldn’t think that. I have a naturally loud voice (sometimes inappropriately loud- sorry!) which I use at events to tell customers about my designs. In my jewelry, I work very hard to create designs with integrity. You could call it “design integrity,” as if it’s some lofty artistic ideal, but let’s be honest- it’s totally subjective, and it’s decided by me. Perhaps that’s what customers want from an artist- someone who has made her own decisions about an object or idea. Comments, anyone?
I suppose my primary goal, then, is to communicate Integrity to other people. Ironically, I need to stretch myself away from my naturally private self to trumpet the qualities of my artwork to facilitate this exchange. For example, I might share that my entire life as a designer was inspired by my grandmother’s love. Or I might draw attention to the singular beauty I see in the high-karat yellow gold I choose to use. I might describe the metaphysical qualities of the particular gemstone I set in a pendant. I use art as a bridge to my real goal- connecting with another human being. I want to connect, to belong, to feel I am part of the human community, but I don’t want to stand on a chair in the middle of the street and ask for it. As an artist, I’m sharing something well beyond the jewelry you see. If I succeed, our exchange becomes a piece of me... for a piece of you.
Hmph. That felt pretty powerful. I’ve never quite articulated that idea before. But it rings true. This is how I feel. Maybe there’s something to this new way of blogging… An exciting possibility. If there’s anything good that can come out of this worldwide pandemic, let it be this: we get real with ourselves. In doing so, perhaps we can stand together as one human community, and love each other through this dark time.