Artist Jessamyn responds to the challenge:

Jessamyn gives a thoughtful response to the challenge:

Do you find that the statement “You can tell a lot about a person by the art that they make” is true?

I think that art must tell you about the person that made it. Craft is different, craft can reflect fashion, or another person’s style, or can mimic other people’s work. Art is when it comes from within a person and brings something out into the open. For me, the process is what is beautiful, craft as art. Art can be thought-provoking and visceral and not be crafted at all, it can be conceptual or minimalist and be merely representational. But for me, craft is what makes art beautiful, seeing a piece and having a sense of the time the artist spent with it, imbued not just with the thoughts they have had about the work, but with all of their thoughts and daydreams and worries and all the energies that passed through their fingertips.

I was not a very successful art student, I could not find my voice. I have always been a crafter, and that has always embarassed me I think, because it’s not regarded as art, unless it’s ironic and kitsch. I have soldiered away for years, though, always working on something, for the process, because it’s good for thinking. Occasionally I have excelled at something, I became an accomplished calligrapher, and I was very good at needlework, but I never had a network to share it or explore it any further than what I could teach myself from books. The internet was a revelation. It really changed how I looked at what I was making.

In the past ten years I have developed a lot. Professionally, I have sold a lot online, and at one point developed a little following for my funny little dolls. I have opened an art gallery! What an amazing thing. I have maintained a public studio space for many years now. I have shown my work locally. Artistically, I am still very insecure that I will be exposed as a crafter. Craft is very valued in Ireland, but my craft is so traditional, I don’t have the art-school aesthetic. I kind of ground to a halt when I opened my shop, lost my way a little bit, lost the time to sit and think about it. But lately I’ve been so inspired, it’s like so much has come together in my head. I am so deeply in love with my craft right now. I think becoming a mother has been like the final puzzle piece in the picture of myself as a woman artist. I don’t take my craft for granted so much, I want to celebrate it. I still have self-doubt, and I still feel inadequate in many ways. But I am enjoying myself and feel very driven, and feel very in touch with my artistic voice.

This was really hard to write and took me a long time, an hour to write three paragraphs! I didn’t want to disappoint Tricia. I knew it would be good for me. I wish I could have expressed myself better.

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