showing work vs. hoarding it

tammie bennett's lemondrop patternyou may have noticed i haven't posted my #365patterns in awhile. i have been faithfully doing them every single day since i started. but i got a little freaked out about copyright infringement and people saying that pinterest, facebook or instagram "owns" whatever you post. i got worried that manufacturers won't want to use work if it's already been in the public eye. so i've been toiling away on my patterns and keeping it to myself. but i've missed the interaction and feedback i was getting from posting my work. in her class, lilla talked about showing your work everywhere. how can companies want to work with you if they don't know what you can create? how will blogs and magazines want to feature you if they don't see anything new from you? so i started getting a really strong itch to start showing my work again. i've been wrestling with this decision for a few weeks. should i protect my work by keeping it for myself? or should i show it off to the world and risk copyright infringement and risk it not being exclusive in exchange for it being seen.

i need to trust that i can always create something even better for companies and art buyers if they choose not to use my published work.

and if my work's copyrights get infringed, i will just remember this great rudyard kipling quote :

They copied all they could follow but they couldn't copy my mind so I left them sweating and stealing a year and a half behind.

i spent a lot of time yesterday reading jessica swift’s ebook (for like the third for fourth time) and she says over and over again how she put her work everywhere when she was just starting out.  it inspired me to start showing my work again.  i made a game plan and took a lot of  notes on where i want my work to take me this year.

about half an hour after i made these notes, i got a dream email asking to use my work in a future publication.  people, i'm talking mondo-beyondo life-list-for-my-business kind of email. and you know how they found me? from seeing my work online. decision made.

you never know when people are going to find + buy your work

tammie bennett's mixed media piece plus one

this is for all the artists out there who may feel like their work isn't getting seen.

about 3 years ago, i was in the outer banks of NC visiting my family and we went shopping in manteo. i came across nancy huse's pottery studio with a shop attached. i spotted some "god jars" into which one puts their worries or concerns on a piece of paper and then lets god take care of them. my in-laws were going through some trying times, so i bought one for them.

fast forward to a few days go. my mother-in-law texted me to ask where i had gotten her god jar because she had a friend who wanted to buy a few as christmas gifts. i couldn't remember the name of the artist, but i did a quick search on google and pulled up the artist's website. my mother-in-law's friend just ordered 4 god jars. that sale took three years to make.

so you never know who will see your art and want to buy it.  and you never know where those customers are coming from, or how long it will take.  but they will come if you put good work out into the world.