For the month of March, I decided my double dog dare would be to get my first winter tree embroidery ready to drop off in the Jamestown Art Center's Collaboration art show. (I kind of slid that information into this post here.) I dropped it off this afternoon.
A little bit of back story--I thought about entering something last year, but didn't. Both my boys did; my then-six-year-old won first place. This is an open show, which means what it sounds like--it's open to all, as long as you meet the criteria, which is 12"x12" format and a small entry fee. Any medium, as long as the finished piece is 12"x12" and ready to hang. So right from the get-go, this is about as low-stress an art show as you can get. In a juried show, you pay the fee, drop off your piece, and they may say, "So sorry, it's just not right for us," and your piece doesn't even hang. But this is truly open to all.
And still! I very nearly didn't get it done. In the end, the actual work to get it ready to hang did not take a lot of time, but it did take a lot of mental psyching up. I was just so afraid of messing something up along the way...but also, I was just sort of...afraid. I'm not sharing this to get lots of comments on how wonderful this embroidery is, but because it's so easy, I think, for most of us to see what somebody else is doing, whether it be entering a show, selling at a market, opening an Etsy shop, putting together a book proposal, and think, Oh, easy for her to do. Better that we realize it's not easy for most of us, so we don't think all that stuff is for those other people. It's for everybody, if that's what you want. (And really, I can at least be as brave as my kids, right? You can see their entries here.)
So some of the things that flew through my head (and, at times, out of my mouth)? Besides the fear that I would just plain screw up getting it wrapped around the canvas (here's a peek at the back side)...
...I worried I'd have to defend my choice of embroidery as art, that I'd have to explain it wasn't from a pattern (as if a painter would ever have to explain it wasn't a paint-by-numbers piece!), and, worst of all, Who am I to think I'm anything more than just a mother? You know, we'll just leave that right where it is for now. I'm just saying, I said it. And then later, I went and stapled that fabric to that canvas (the piece I embroidered on, by the way, is intact, except for very small stitches holding it in place behind the black piece) and told myself I SAID IT WAS MY DOUBLE DOG DARE AND I'M DOING IT.
Because, though it might just sound like a psychological mind-trick, I'd said I was going to do it, and I hated the idea of slinking in and admitting I hadn't. Because I'd have had to admit it, and the only reason for not dropping this off was fear. And I was driving there anyway, with my kids, to drop their pieces off, and I remembered the saying that you don't regret the things you do in life as much as you regret the things you don't do, and so I dropped it off.
The two women accepting the pieces really, truly seemed to like it. I did not have to defend my choice of medium (of course I didn't). It is sort of, um, obvious that it's not from a pattern. It's, you know, art, and just as deserving to hang on a wall in an art show as anything else.
The opening reception is Friday night. We're all going; I'm so looking forward to it. If you're local, it's at the Jamestown Arts Center in Jamestown, RI, from 6-8 pm.
Double dog dare DONE!