It’s one thing to be creative as a hobby. It’s vastly different to try to make an income from it.
Becoming a professional textile artist may be the best career choice you’ll ever make – it certainly was for me, but just what are the factors you need behind you to carry you across that invisible line?
Experience has taught me many things, and I’m more than happy to share what I’ve found to be profound, powerful, and productive in my transition.
These things are achievable for anyone with a passion to create – but there has to be that passion, to begin with, so let’s find out what else is out there:
- Understand the reasons behind what you want to do and achieve. Will it be about earning an income, or selling online, or is your passion to exhibit and create work that resonates with self-expression and meaning?
- Once you recognize the why of what you do, look to your work as your business and treat it professionally in all ways – that includes your marketing, branding, social media posts, writing, photography, etc.
- Focus on what’s important in your life to achieve your aims – how you go about it is up to you, the thing is to know those aims and use your determination to reach for them every time you work.
- Have the courage to be different, don’t follow trends, or be easily led from your aims by negative comments. Learn to follow your own path to deliver the narrative you want to deliver.
- Be willing to teach yourself to find your own way. This not only applies to techniques but also to the way you run your business, your social media platforms, and your brand – and it usually requires a ton of research.
- Create a daily work routine – small steps add up and can build momentum in your work.
- If you’re stuck, reach out to someone who can help – if that means paying for their service, then pay. This is particularly relevant to tech support and photography.
- Create a set of business systems to support your work – make them as simple or as complex as you require, especially if you wish to exhibit and keep on top of all your paperwork, and emails.
- Set up your own art inventory file – a very simple way to have all the information about every piece of your work at your fingertips. Include a full image, the year made, materials, artist statement, inspiration, the sale price, if it’s been sold, publications that have used this image – anything you feel is relevant. Make a template and simply follow it for continuity.
- Have a professional headshot taken every two to three years. Mine is woefully out of date. Faces make a difference to an article or promotion – they add warmth and personality, so find a photographer who can capture you at ease, while conveying a sense of professionalism.
There is so much information and support available now, so the transition from hobbyist to professional textile artist should not be too difficult.
But it does require a different way of thinking and a different approach to everything you do.
Be thoughtful before you jump in. Do your due diligence and research – and, most importantly, do it your way.
And all credit to you.
I wish you great success.
All views and opinions expressed are my own, except where acknowledged information is included from other sources.