It’s been a crazy week. My daughter went back to school (last year of her immersion Preschool!) and my son started spending full days with my mother and step-mother. It’s wild to be in my studio without him, but I have to admit that I get a lot more done. Oh yeah, also, Moxie & Oliver is a Martha Stewart American Made Finalist! I honestly almost cried when I saw the email. We made it on the wildcard which means, and this may be even more incredible than being chosen by Martha, that my friends, family and fans shared the page enough to get us there. Amazing.
Something else happened, too, that I don’t want to overlook. I started calling myself an “artist”. I have been up to my ears in applications and the more I write about my own work, the more I think about it, and the more I realize that what sets my work apart from other leather goods is that it has art on it. How’d that art get there? Well, I guess an artist must have… oh wait, yeah. I guess I’m an artist.
This may seem completely obvious to everyone else, but it wasn’t to me. For as long as I have been working with leather I have been creating goods that are functional – bags, wallets, belts, mailboxes, pillows - and for that reason alone I put myself in the category of “crafter.” The division of “arts’' and “crafts” came about in the Renaissance, and in addition to industrialization of crafts, this was something that the Arts & Crafts Movement sought to undo. As a lover of the arts and virtues of the Arts & Crafts Movement, I’m not sure how I wandered so far from their teachings when it came to my own work.
So today, at a party, someone asked what I do and I said “I’m an artist.” My husband says that this always makes people think I don’t make any money, which is fine. The other thing I’ve been asking myself recently is whether I would rather make a lot of money or make a difference in the world. I’d rather make a difference, and by making leathergoods that have my original art on them for people to enjoy, I believe I do. And that they will last for years and years to come helps everyone – your pocket, the resources of the world, you know, small stuff. And I hope to further this world betterment by teaching others my craft, but that’s news for another day.