When Did a Risk Pay Off for You?

When Did a Risk Pay Off for You?

Published on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. This article appears in the February/March 2016 issue of American Craft Magazine.
Department Voices
Author Staff
Libby O Bryan What Is It Worth

A still from Libby O’Bryan’s What Is It Worth? video and textile installation; Photo: Tim Robison

I think the biggest risk was in grad school, when my professors challenged me to work with color. At the time it was a real challenge – and being open to failure is uncomfortable. But it paid off. My work would be a lot different if I hadn’t done that. ~Ben Fiess, ceramist, Minneapolis

When my wife and I decided it’d be worth the risk to quit my job. I had been making coiled rope vessels for a while and thought I might sell a few pieces a month on my web shop if I was lucky. It paid off pretty quickly – much more than I anticipated. ~Doug Johnston, artist, Brooklyn

That’s a tough one, because I’m three years out of grad school, and during that time you’re finding your voice. Between craft shows, presenting and workshop gigs, teaching, and galleries, it all feels like one big risk package. But at the same time, you look back and you’re thinking, “This is kind of cool.” ~Laritza Garcia, jewelry artist and educator, Austin, TX

I don’t consider myself a gambler, but I’ve repeatedly put myself in situations where my skills are challenged. I find a rush from reaching and growing into unknown territory. I moved to Asheville, North Carolina, and started my business, Sew Co., filled with curiosity. It was a vulnerable place, but I’ve discovered a rich community and built a happy family here. I’ve hit pay dirt. ~Libby O’Bryan, artist-designer, Asheville, NC

When I made the decision to quit my job and go to school full time. I’m no longer going brain-dead staring at Excel spreadsheets or sitting in meetings that don’t accomplish anything. I know what I need to do, and I can get it done with my own hands. It’s my own adventure. ~Nicole Hodsdon, furniture designer, Troy, MI