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I read something recently that really spoke to me. It was an article by a young novelist who was talking about imposter syndrome, which is where you feel as though you’re not as clever or talented as people think you are. You feel as though somehow you’ve managed to pull the wool over people’s eyes and you’re convinced that any minute you’re going to get found out for the fraud you are.

This article put a name to something I have felt for as long as I can remember. A good friend of mine is a hard working, talented and successful headteacher. She told me once that she keeps expecting someone in authority to come along and say ‘Alright love, you’ve had a good run, now hand the keys to the school over. We’re onto you, we know you’re a fraud. We’ve got a proper grown-up who really knows how to run a school to come and do it, The game is up.’ And I know exactly what she means, especially when it comes to art and creativity.

This weekend I put some of my jewellery work into an exhibition in a gallery. This was a weird feeling. I had to put prices on my work and display them for all to see. Several people told me that the jewellery was too reasonably priced, but I simply couldn’t justify  charging any more for it as I have this irrational, nagging fear that my workmanship is going to be called into question. I’m not a professional artist you see, I don’t have an art degree or anything like that, and I work from a bench in my spare room. I’m terrified that someone is going to look at my work and say ‘Ahhh, who are you trying to kid? You’re not a real jewellery maker, this stuff isn’t any good.’

I’m really not fishing for compliments here. I’m giving you an insight into the strange hinterland you enter when your put your creativity out there for the world to see…and buy. The minute you attach a monetary value to something you’ve created you feel as though you have to justify it. I’m hoping to start seeing my jewellery making as an income stream, which means I will have to overcome these fears. To balance the scales I will continue to pursue creative ends for their own sake, to prevent losing the feeling of pure pleasure of creativity. So, whatever you do, always save some of your creations purely for yourself.


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