Being an Artist vs. Becoming a Designer

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Being an Artist vs. Becoming a Designer

I got to know a gal this weekend at the Arts Festival in Minnesota who makes gorgeous leather handbags, purses and backpacks. I have one of hers bags with fun fringes and really wanted a little clutch this weekend, but I reminded myself I need to buy a chandelier for my new Studio. Hey, a chandelier can be sexy too!

We were talking about our path that directed us towards handbags and jewelry. We both wanted to originally design clothing, but were discouraged by being told it was too competitive, you have to be snooty and live in Manhattan. It was a little too ironic how our style, taste and story were all too similar! Eventually we were both brought back to fashion accessories.

We discussed how we are designers, while others are artists. Everyone is born with a talent- something that comes natural for you. For me it was never singing, dancing, speaking or cooking- I found my true talent with jewelry. Both artist and designers use their talents to create beautiful artwork, but a designer creates a name for themselves.

To become a designer, you have to hone on skills that will showcase your talent. Skills are learning how to market yourself and your artwork, learning how to help a client decide on a design, how to communicate your designs efficiently, developing people skills…

Believe me I would rather focus on my talents; it comes so easy! But without skills, I would be the only one who enjoyed my artwork (well, and maybe my mom- she loves jewelry). In the beginning we are all artist- wanting friends and family to love our artwork too! But designers can see a much bigger picture. Designers want to make a business out of their talents.

As time goes on and life gets busier, I try to not get caught up just in the marketing, paperwork, business decisions and the other “skills.” I have to remember to set time aside for the artist inside of me time to create, invent and dream again.

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  • Ambrosia Slothower