fear, beads and the UN


19/01/2011 by Sarah Ritchie

Beaded Necklace, Sarah Ritchie

Beaded necklace, Sarah Ritchie (2006)

A few years ago, Simon and I lived in Israel doing voluntary work. The craft of beading was sweeping the globe and Jerusalem boasted a couple of fabulous bead shops – one of which was very close to where we lived. To satisfy my crafting nature I took up beading (and became rather good at it).

Thanks to a friend, I was presented with the opportunity to have a stand at the UN Ex-Pats Christmas Craft Fair. I accepted.

Over a two month (or so) period I worked my tail off, creating my intricate necklaces and bracelets to build up enough stock for the fair. This endeavour cost me time, loss of sleep and a fair whack of money.

The result? I sold just one necklace. All that time and all that effort for one sale. I was so dejected that I stopped beading after that, selling all my equipment when we returned to New Zealand.

Right now an old fear is rising. I have just over one week left to complete a painting for the Estuary Artworks competition. What began as a simple graphic-type of image has become more and more complex as the idea as matured. Every time we have added a new compositional element my confidence has dipped.

Simon has invested countless hours researching the subject matter and developing ideas. I will be spending most of the remaining (non-working/sleeping) hours on this painting, and have serious self-doubts about the eventual quality of the work.

“What if” – when the painting is finished – it is not very good? “What if” it doesn’t get selected for the exhibition? If it does get selected, “what if” it doesn’t sell? The subject matter of the painting is very specific to the competition brief; it is not a typical “pretty picture” that I could easily sell at a later date.

I’ve had flashbacks to the UN Christmas Fair, fearing the same “waste” of time and energy; fearing rejection and not wanting to let Simon down. Simon, philosophically, tells me to treat it all as a learning experience.

I have to figure out some way of dealing with these (mostly ridiculous, but very tangible) fears. My best suggestion to self has been: [Joke] “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” I am preparing myself for a meal of one really large, chewy elephant. Dinner will be concluded Friday-week!


7 thoughts on “fear, beads and the UN

  1. leonabriggs says:

    What you do on the journey to get from point A to point B is as important as arriving! Simon is right–life experiences are a learning process and never a waste of time!

    You only sold one necklace–but it was only one show! Have you ever tried selling your bead work on Etsy? My daughter had a very good response selling on her Etsy site. And your bead work is truly lovely!

  2. Sarah Ritchie says:

    Thanks Leona. No, I have not investigated Etsy, but thank you for the idea. I have taken to wearing the jewellery myself these days…it’s nice to have such an extensive collection!

    Yes, it is difficult to make the head believe rational thoughts sometimes. I have to keep telling myself that “God has not given me a spirit of fear…” and “perfect love casts out all fear…”. Takes a little time for the words to reach my heart, but they will!

    Thank you for your encouragement!

  3. Lynnette says:

    We can’t wait to see your piece for the Estuary Artworks exhibit, as we are quite convinced it will be your usual creative and fabulous work. Have faith in yourself and let it be.

  4. Sarah Ritchie says:

    Cheers Lynn!

  5. Jewels says:

    I’m glad to hear you still have them, though perhaps don’t want to part with them now… I looked at that photo and thought “I’d buy it!” Thought about suggesting TradeMe and it’s a possibility, though I have no idea how well it would work (might be worth a try?), and there are lots of craft stalls, but it would depend how much it cost to hire one. Alternatively, something so beautifully and lovingly crafted would make an awesome personal gift for someone. I used to do Paper Tole & one of the things I loved about it was you could create pictures for people based on things they were interested in, with the added bonus that you’d put the effort in especially for them 🙂

    Those ex-pats have no idea what they were missing! 😉

  6. Sarah Ritchie says:

    I think I am so “over” the beading that I would rather put the energy into painting than trying to sell the pieces now. I don’t wear all of them as some are really not my style or colour. I have given a couple of pieces away, so – you are right – that will probably be the future of some of the remaining pieces.

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Finalist, Estuary Art Awards 2011
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© Sarah Ritchie 2014

Please do not use copies of my original artwork for profit, however you are welcome to share my artwork images as much as you like!

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