Crossroads or Crisis?

I often think about my art work in the “why” sense. Or I should say the “where is this all going?” sense.
Lately, many things have come up that have made me consider selling my art. Should I do it or not? In one case, the local farmer’s market invited me to join them, but I had no inventory to speak of to sell, and no tent, and no supplies, and in the end I think I made the right decision. I often get asked if I make my small weekly quilts to sell. Well, no. They are too personal to sell. I then think about patterns. “Oh, I’ll make patterns and sell them til the cows come home” and think about funding my hobby with the income. Right. Somehow, the art is still to great an emotional investment to part with. I haven’t found the price I would be willing to be paid to part with it (unless I was making it for a gift). So no selling for me.

I then thought at the beginning of this year that maybe I was meant to enter contests, and make art to show in that arena. I can’t seem to find the time to work on the project in enough time. The deadline approaches (or passes) and I’m not ready, or the work is very not ready. This was tough, because I wanted to “get out there” and “be seen” and “make a name for myself”. But if I work full time, how can I meet the deadlines? I love my career, but want to be an “artist” too. After several attempts at entries into shows this year, without any real success at getting the ENTRY done, I’m going to put this off until I have a year with a little less travel and more free time. I’m not giving up, just delaying a bit.

So that brings me back to “Where is this whole thing headed?” Why do I make quilts? Why am I making this art? It’s not to give away, it’s not to sell or turn into patterns, it’s not for a contest. It’s for me. Why does being an artist need to be for one of those reasons? I fi said I did it because I like it, it would be half truthful. It feels like there is much more to it than that, but I can’t put my finger on what.

I’m 35 years old. This hobby of mine has an average age of about 55-ish, so I have 20 years to perfect this craft of mine and get to a point of being comfortable with this in my mind. I’m not the first or the last who will go through this, but it kind of sucks when it’s happening to you.