Welcome to Part I of a IV part series on vulnerability. Now, we all know that Brene Brown is the queen of this topic. If you want to dive deep, and really understand what vulnerability means to our lives, and to our growth as human beings, I would highly recommend that you visit her website and watch her Ted Talk.
Here, I’m just hoping to share with you different view points and thoughts on being vulnerable. And to share what vulnerability can mean to us artists as we struggle to define ourselves in the creative space and build small business that, lets be real, are direct reflections of us and our hearts.
Each post in this series will feature the thoughts of a different designer who is actively sharing their work and building a creative business. In the last post I will share my own struggles and embrace vulnerability as I tell you some of the challenges I’ve faced as a creative.
I hope you enjoy. Here’s to being vulnerable!
I’m starting this series with Virginia, AKA The Happy Artisan.
She is a designer and artist who I’ve had many great conversations with on Instagram. I find her to be warm and approachable. And in this interview she is extremely vulnerable, sharing her anxiety about joining Instagram and knowing how much of herself she should share.
I’m excited to start with this interview because I think what Virginia has to say reflects how most of us have felt at some time or another as we’ve embarked on a creative career.
My name is Virginia and for the last couple of years I have been a part of the Instagram community, under the name of my label, The Happy Artisan. I have been working to slowly build the Happy Artisan into a little business…not quite there yet, but trying!
It took me a long time to build up the courage to join Instagram. I was particularly nervous about sharing my art and creative work with virtually the entire world. I have been on Facebook for years, but joining Instagram felt different. With Facebook I felt more in control of who saw my posts and who I interacted with…ultimately how much I shared about myself.
A fellow artist encouraged me to join Instagram as a platform to showcase my work, get known and network with like-minded people. I had no idea how to ‘use’ Instagram to my advantage nor did I think people would be at all interested in what I had to offer.
However, I’ve discovered since joining Instagram that, if used well, it is the perfect social media platform to help promote you in the way you want to be seen by the world. And it is certainly helping me get my art out there in a way that just starting up a website would not have done.
But with this magnitude of exposure comes a sense of vulnerability too.
What if people don’t like what I do?
What if I post too much, not enough, or not the ‘right’ content?
I have every now and then felt I should introduce myself and open up a little about myself and my life. And then just as quickly I delete those posts.
I have this feeling that what I think, who I am, what I look like, might not align itself well with the idea of me as an artisan/textile designer.
How much should I share about myself?
What could people do with that information?
HOW MUCH OF ME SHOULD I PUT OUT THERE
Does it make people more drawn to someone on Instagram if they talk a lot about themselves? I have often wondered if sharing more about myself would make people relate to me more as an artist and as a human being.
When I have posted an image of myself I have almost instantly regretted it. Despite my attempts to inject some humor into more personal posts, I have thought people think it is self-indulgent.
I have seen people post quite personal things. And I have often admired their courage to do so. I am still trying to work out a happy balance where I feel comfortable sharing snippets of my life, maybe opening up a little.
As an artist and textile designer, my focus right now is on trying to get this dream of mine off the ground.
And the dilemma is deciding whether I want/need to keep my anonymity on social media and use it strictly as a business tool or whether to engage more fully and truthfully with my audience as a textile artist/woman.
I see pages by other designers on Instagram that are very private and that feel like a business. But my idea of Instagram in the first place was to be a part of a creative community where I could find support and hopefully gain enough interest in what I do to eventually set up a proper website.
As one who not only creates in the hope of one day becoming self-sufficient, but one that has a need to create daily as a way of expressing things I cannot verbalize, this is a tough decision.
I hope you have enjoyed what Virginia has to say, and I hope that it has resonated with you.
In part II of this series I’ll share with you the thoughts of a designer who took the leap and decided to be extremely open and vulnerable on social media. You’ll hear what this journey has been like for her.
Until next time…get our there and create!