Context Matters, When Talking About Your Art

Just this week, I had the opportunity to show pictures of my art work to two different people. I had my 8″ x 10″ glossy pictures, handily laminated and at the ready. The series I was showing each person, on different days, in different settings, was my Medals That You Wouldn’t Want to Earn. If you’re a regular here, you might remember reading about those.  (You can see them on my artist website in the portfolio, here: http://elainelutherart.com/gallery/medals-series )

The part I want to tell you about is their reactions to the piece, “Society of Mothers…”

One of them laughed. (Hint: laughter, not really the right reaction.) The other one said, “Oh, I can’t even look at that one!”

I can’t really complain, it’s a difficult piece. So difficult, that apparently, I’ve never even posted a picture of it here on the blog. I was sure it was there, but I just checked the photo library and nope, nothing.

The title of the piece is “The Society of Mothers of Dead Babies.”

What I realized this week, is that I really can’t just show that one to people without any introduction. They need context.

It’s probably helpful if they know that that piece is personal, that it’s about me, my loss, my membership in that club.

Neither of these two people knew that about me, I’d just met them, and I usually don’t tell people about the loss of my daughter when I’ve just met them.

Maybe that means I can’t show them this piece either.  You’d think I would have known that, I suppose.  But I made the piece about seven years ago and I’m used to it now.

Is that at all useful to you?  Do you have difficult work that you have to be careful in how to present it?  I’d love to hear your st

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About the Author

ElaineI'm an artist and writer. I blog about metal clay and jewelry making and the business of crafts at All Things Metal Clay.View all posts by Elaine →

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