A Momentous Shift

Karen Papais | Clay, S'il Vous Plaît

One year ago, I was browsing through all the adorable booths at the Renegade Craft Fair (San Francisco) with a couple friends, having a blast looking at zillions of succulents in pots, miniature handmade textile objects, natural skin care products, yummy snacks, quirky inventions involving bicycles, craft ferments, and feeling secretly “stuck.” I was thinking about how “someday” I’d like to be in Renegade, selling my own work. It’s the (biggest, leading) darling of indie craft fairs that has become very competitive to get in, and has grown to the point where it always contains the most cute, the most hip, and the best designed handmade stuff (at least that’s what I loved and feared about it.) It seemed unattainable, and somehow too hard. One year later, I am honored and excited to tell you that in 1 week, I’ll be selling my ceramics at Renegade!!

I’m not saying the Renegade Fair is a lifelong dream or a destination…it is a mere first (second?) step in the direction of my future life…But it represents a huge leap in me getting out of my own way, so that I can continue working towards my dreams of selling my creative works, and establishing myself as an artist/designer. (One who isn’t tied to the computer screen.)

I have learned, reluctantly (still kinda working on it), that perfect does not exist (supposedly). Since I have always had very high standards for myself and tend to become immobilized when/if I can not meet these unrealistic standards, it’s been really exciting to learn to let things be, just as they are.

Deep, wonderful breath.

And when I say “I tend to become immobilized,” I mean, “I used to” because it’s all changing RIGHT NOW. You guys! This is me moving forward, in this brand new direction. I mean…I’ll let you in on some (crazy) logic: Last year I photographed some of my work for my Etsy shop, got it all set up, and then didn’t promote it. Chickened out. Told very few people. Why? I started to doubt the value of my work. My ability to continue to produce more. The legitimacy of myself as a ceramic artist. My competence as an entrepreneur/business owner. None of it was refined. My skills. My art. Unrefined, and far from perfect.

Then I made more stuff and I liked some of it better, but that made the work from last year  start to look “blah” to me.

Then, I did a small craft fair recently, and, while encouraged to promote it, I still refused to disclose my shop to the multiple people requesting it. Why? WHY? Here’s the (crazy) logic:

I’m planning to build a career around selling my work, but I have this big craft fair coming up…and I can’t tell people about the stuff I want to sell, because they might buy it, and then I will have sold the stuff I want to sell…so I will no longer have it to sell.

IT’S CRAZY. Here I am, admitting it.

And you know what? I just sort of told you about my Etsy shop, even though it’s NOT READY! But it will grow in time. And I’ll work out the prices and the merchandise and add more in the next few weeks. And I’m a bit freaking out, having just disclosed it. I’ll have more of the good stuff up there after Renegade. And then you can buy all your holiday gifts. And then I’ll buckle down and keep on making pots!

So. Henceforth, I’ll mostly be promoting myself, and maybe not disclose so many of my neurotic thought patterns…but just this once, I’m shedding some light on the limiting beliefs and patterns that have held me back, in order to highlight my excitement about this moment in time, right here and now. Maybe this will be an inspiration to someone else. Maybe we can all move forward into the glorious abundant future together. (angels singing). I am proud of my work. It will get even better, the more I do it. Isn’t that exciting? My process, my voice, my art, my designs will evolve with time and undoubtedly become more refined. They will grow and change and there will be hiccups and growth spurts and curves in the path.

But this is my journey and I’m thrilled that it is mine. I invite you along to observe, encourage, or participate. You guys are the best. Here goes!

Renegade Craft Fair


4 thoughts on “A Momentous Shift

  1. Karen!! This post was really a pleasure to read. I think as artists we all go through various stages of this process. Thanks for sharing and see you next weekend!


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