Hey art makers and art lovers! I am Linda Billet, a glass artisan working in mosaic/kilnformed applications, and an occasional guest blogger. I am also a member of the Yellow Breeches Chapter (YBC) of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. Recently, I had an old Facebook status of mine resurface because one of my newer friends had found it and commented on it. The status I had posted over a year ago was about a competition in which one of my mosaics won first place. Someone from YBC asked me to write something about it.
Yes, it is true that I won first place in a Contemporary Mosaic Arts competition. I get in a lot of super-di-duper shows; I land mighty sweet projects; and have my work in numerous magazines and books, museums and public places. But let’s get a little more real. I am going to tell you exactly why. The reason I GET IN so many things is because I submit to so many things. For every win that I achieve, I probably had ten times where I was kicked to the curb. I know this next statement I write is subject to interpretation, but – I never fail and everything I touch WORKS. This may just be semantics but what I am saying is that even though the vast majority of my submissions get dusted, I do not consider any of them a fail. If I make a piece of glass that winds up in the trash, I still say it worked because it got me closer to the piece that will be incorporated in the mosaic. If I were getting a “yes” from everything I applied to, I would think I am not trying big enough things. A show where I lose money is one where I learned things the hard way and I undoubtedly made friends. Sometimes I consider myself a slow learner because I make the same mistakes repeatedly, but the only way I will consider myself a failure is if I quit. That just won’t happen. Nope… not ever.
Here’s a little background about the mosaic competition. Of course, I think my work is good or I would do it differently. But there are quite a lot of mosaic purists that would never consider my work worthy because I incorporate the fused glass that I make. It would be silly of me to think that everyone will love my work. That competition was for mosaics that incorporate fused glass. You can guess that there were very few entries, which made my odds quite good. The win was still a high for me. Admittedly, it was partly because I knew it frustrated some purists. If I don’t win a particular competition, I think the solution is to make better work. But even if I do win, I try to make better work. What I am saying is that if someone doesn’t recognize what I am doing, I still believe in it. While listening to feedback, I question and re-evaluate myself, of course. If adjustment is called for (and only I can know) then I will. In a competition there is generally one winner but perhaps thousands that don’t win. They are not losers. What I am saying is that win or not, this girl is enjoying the ride. All glass, all day. It’s all good. AND, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.