Had a fun experience today. Took myself up to St. Paul to the American Craft Council show. I’ve been going for about the last 5 years and always enjoy seeing the very well-displayed and original things there. It draws craftspeople from all over the country so you get to see the folks who are at the top of their game. Most of it tends to be at the top of the price scale too, but this year they made an effort to keep things more affordable.
I ended up talking to a gentleman named Ray Papka. His stuff appealed to me because I’ve got a bunch of old books and other paper material that I’ve been trying to find a creative use for, and his work caught my eye. We had a nice chat about how he did his encaustic technique and the fun of finding and using old things. He was very open about his technique and methods.
All the craftspeople there were very easy to engage, talking about things they clearly loved. That is a refreshing break from the attitude we see in our Business Culture, in which secrets need to be protected, “business intelligence” is gathered, and everybody plays their cards close to the vest.
But I guess when what you do is creative and expressive, you don’ t need to worry about competition. If what you do is truly unique and expresses something of who and what you are, there ISN’T any competition. It is only when the work is dull, mechanical, and easily outsourced that we need to worry about things like competition and secrets in our zero-sum society. I’m sure we’ve all worked with people who play the Secret Knowledge Game – “if you know what I know, then I lose my value here”.
But that’s only one way of looking at life. It’s nice to spend time with the people who are here to enlarge and create, not obfuscate and control. There’s more than one lens to view the world through, so my suggestion is to get a viewpoint checkup and change your prescription if necessary.
Examinations are free of charge at your local gallery or workshop.