Selling at marketI often read posts by other makers, commenting on how it feels a bit sad to say goodbye to their spoons or other makings.  I’ve never really understood that.  Most of my sales up until now have been face-to-face at market, and I’m very ready to send the spoons on their way.  The process of watching hundreds of people walk past the stall without even looking, and then chatting to the few who are interested, is highly conducive to feeling comfortable with parting from products!  By the time I’ve really engaged with the tiny percentage that might actually buy, and started to build a relationship with the future owner, I’m often confident that the spoon is going to a good home.

On-line sales

But I’ve recently found that on-line sales are different.  I feel different emotions as I parcel up spoons ready to put into the post.  Some of this difference is probably because I don’t usually know the buyer.  As sad as it sounds, I can feel a little concerned that the new owner won’t love the spoon as much as I do – or (worse still) won’t use the spoon.

My on-line sales at the moment are all scoops. Recently,  I settled on a shape that I love to repeat, and the action of repeating a design is incredibly rewarding.  This process is still new enough to me that I’m never 100% confident, as I face a new piece of wood, and a new scoop-sized blank, that I’ll be able to replicate the shape.  But, each time, it happens!  And each time, probably because I’m close to the beginning of this journey, the scoop is actually slightly better.  Each time, the latest scoop feels like my best work.  I realise that this is the root of my uneasiness in parcelling up each spoon, in letting it go… Once my best work has left me, where then is the proof that I can do it?

Proof

My instinct seems to be to collect a body of work – a collection of spoons that I feel proud of.  I feel the need to keep tangible evidence that I can do this thing.  It seems that I need proof that I can repeat a shape.  I need a physical affirmation that different woods, from different sources, can work with me to create a similar product.

But I’m not doing this; so for me, the chief emotion I feel when I ship out scoops is fear.  And vulnerability. 

curly shavingThere was once a time that I collected curls.  Each shaving curl was so uniquely beautiful that I wanted to keep it.  I couldn’t believe that I’d ever chance upon creating something as perfect again.  I’ve almost moved on from that – though the occasional curl still captivates me.

Now I need to have the confidence that I’ll be able to let go of this feeling of doubt too.  It’s easy to believe in something that you can see and touch – like a scoop.  It’s harder to have trust in something that can’t be seen – like muscle memory, and strength and practise.  But from observing the process so far, I’ve demonstrated that the skill is there and that I’m definitely on a learning journey.  If each new scoop appears to me to be better than the last, then the evidence would suggest that the best is yet to come.  And that feels like a good place to be – even if it can sometimes feel a bit vulnerable.