Things change, fads come and go – that’s simply the nature of the world at large, not just the textile arts.

But colours, fabrics and those must-have tools come and eventually quietly go, so what remains?  What is the one constant in the art world? For me, it’s those artists who’re willing to go against the trends and swim against the tide of the times to strive and create original artwork that’s meaningful to them and the messages they want to convey.

Being a textile artist is a competitive business and if your one goal is staying ahead, then that’s just adding pressure to the mix.

And just like those fashions and fads, that can be a trap.

It’s those artists whose work dares to be different, who you can see have worked at and were dedicated to, achieving their vision that stands out in my mind.

They don’t compare themselves with others or worry about what others think.  They’re willing to go it alone, walking to that beat of their own drum – and by doing that one simple thing, they stand out.

They have confidence both in themselves and their work – and that’s not always easy to achieve.

Popular isn’t the key here.  Standing out because your work demands it, is.

I want to be made to take a second look, be stopped in my tracks, be amazed and gobsmacked at the content and skills I see before me.  And that’s rare – and becoming rarer.

It’s a tough world out there, by anyone’s standards, so it takes a brave artist to go it alone and swim those fear-infested waters.  But when you do, the likelihood of success is far greater.

There are many who are willing to support you and your work, but equally, there are those who either intentionally or unintentionally bring your confidence levels crashing down with one phrase or thoughtless comment – don’t listen.

So strive to create unique and meaningful content using your textile and fibre-related skills. I applaud you and support you.  It’s a hard road, full of unseen bumps and pitfalls, but it’s also one of superb creative opportunity.

Stay true to yourself and your vision for your work.  Follow your dreams.  Be brave and swim with confidence, but most of all, dare to be different.

People like popular – I like different.

cathy jack coupland