Altered Golden Book by Lani
A friend asked me about being disappointed in art mail swaps. She'd said she had put so much effort into a piece she did for a swap and she really felt as though the receiver didn't understand or appreciate what went into her art/gift. She also admitted that the art she received looked as though it didn't have the same care put into it that she had anticipated. So her question was what to do with these somewhat yucky feelings.
As I gave this some thought I remembered an email from a nervousness.org artist. I had admired her work and asked her how in the world she could part with such beauty. She said for every swap she would make two objects. One to send and one to keep.
This struck me as perfect because whose art is going to be the most meaningful to you? Your own, right? Who will understand all the layers of meaning in your art work? You will. Who will chuckle at the in-jokes, cry from a touching memory, and just be so glad that you can create art? You will.
A woman I worked with in New York said that art making was for her a way to learn who she actually was, and learn to love herself more every day. As time goes by and I participate in more artist's swaps, I'm finding this to be truer and truer. I love art swaps because I'm always surprised by what emerges, and I do enjoy the process, and now I make two of everything, one to swap and one to keep. Then I never have to worry about who may or may not appreciate my work, and who may or may not put as much effort into their own work, since I can always enjoy what I do myself.