Evaluation and Commissioned Work

camera upload 016I began accepting commissioned work over 40 years ago; it remains an important part of my textile time.  Two weeks ago I found myself praying for the courage of my gifts.  I was in the middle of a custom table runner in which I was combining favorite techniques, new tools, and an unfamiliar size.  The delivery date was less than a week away, a tighter time frame than I usually provide for myself.  Fear began seeping into the studio work.

The fear was irrational.  I had stopped evaluating my efforts and results and started listening to that inner voice of judgement. I had provided myself plenty of artistic cushion: two extra linen runners, practice samples with paint color and new stamps, a sample pillow to give a better sense of design space.  I had been true to what I needed to bring the project to completion.  Even with all that spread before me, I doubted my abilities.  This is a dark place for a creative soul.

I prayed for courage.  I also read the quote from William Stafford that hangs in my laundry room, a highly visible space in my daily routine.  It is advice to poets: “Lower your standards.”, given in conjunction with the assignment to his students that they write a poem every day.  I moved beyond doubting the placement of the grass around the bunny.  I stopped second guessing the color of the flower.  I inked up the stamp and pressed the final bee into place.

The client received the runner on time, appreciated the work, and paid the invoice.  I like commissioned work because it involves communication as much as craftsmanship and design.  I enjoy the skills I have honed in these areas.  I evaluate my creative process and product.  I end excessive fear with appropriate standards.

How do you overcome irrational fear in your creative endeavors?

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