My past co-op was a self-designed project that involved me working with my sister to create different art pieces to sell online and at the Yellow Springs Street Festival in early June. She had decided to start her own small art business due to her desire to work independently and to be able to create things that she would enjoy creating, so I began helping her out.
On a day-to-day basis, I would work with clay, molding it into different art pieces (including small planters and terrariums) before painting them. These designs were created based on either ideas from my sister or me or based on custom orders sent in. At the beginning of co-op, my work wasn’t limited to art though. I had to do some more business-oriented tasks, such as being completely in control of all social media and the online Etsy store itself. This allowed me to make new posts, add links, and list any new products we created.
The transition to working on my own in this way was difficult at first, however. The amount of time I spent wondering what I should be doing during the average workday was kind of astonishing. I’d always had someone giving me direction during any previous job I’d had, and wasn’t ready for the creative independence I was given. During the first week, I was given the task to sculpt, bake, and paint anything that I wanted. It was harder to do than I thought and, at the end of the week, I discovered that someone was already selling products similar to what I had created. I didn’t like working without some form of planning or direction given by someone, as it made me feel as though my work was insignificant, which led to another problem.
I had a lot of insecurity when it came to the work I was doing. I didn’t like having my art judged, even by my sister; it still felt bad when she had criticism for some of the pieces I would make. I’m hoping to eventually get comfortable enough with my artwork to eventually sell them myself, as I feel it will also help with any anxiety I have with other works I do in the future.