Saturday, October 1, 2011

Talent or Hard Work?

I am lucky to belong to several communities of great craftspeople, like The Artisan Groupthe Aspiring Metalsmiths and Handmadeology. Through these communities as well as Etsy and a myriad of sites I have bookmarked over the years, I see a lot of beautiful handmade items, from ceramics to woodwork and everything in between. Often, when I see a particularly nice item, I think "What talent!".

Recently, I have become more and more unsatisfied with this simple reaction. It boils all the creative process to one variable: talent. What about hard work, experience, self editing, research and education?

I sincerely believe that most people can, with hard work, dedication and good instructions, create a decent, basic example of almost anything. Almost, because no matter what, this author cannot yield a needle or sewing machine. And, with time and practice, we can all be very good at a variety of activities.

On the other hand, we all know people who have a brilliant talent, who seems to be magically able to create beautiful things. Yet, how sad it is when these talented folks don't work to develop themselves. Like a brilliant student, who does just enough work to scrape by at the end of the year.

But when you join natural talent with hard work - oh boy! Great things happen.

So don't really only on your natural talent - develop. And don't let a lack of talent stop you - you may just find out that you did, indeed, have it in you all along.

Please share your thoughts on this subject! I want to write a couple more blog posts on talent and hard work and I would appreciate hearing what you have to say. And if you would like to share specific examples of these, I will gladly incorporate the pictures (this post seems a bit bare, doesn't it?)


  1. I think you cannot have one without the other. You may have talent, but if you don't work hard to grow that talent it will wither and die. You can work hard, but without that spark to make something no one else had, whether a painting or a microchip, without the fire of creativity you will not succeed. It's kind of like the age-old question, which came first...the chicken or the egg?

  2. Practice makes perfect is such a cliché but it's so true too! I really agree with you. Sure, there is talent, but talent needs hard work to make things great.

    Maybe talent decides what you will do. I have been trying different art forms on and off throughout my life and nothing really stuck with me, until I discovered metalsmithing. I find this so interesting and exciting that it makes me want to work hard and spend a lot of money on tools and material. Drawing didn't quite do the same for me. ;)

  3. This is off topic, but I want to congratulate you on your new website! Good job! It's very elegant, and it led me to your blog!

    On topic comment: I have been painting silk for nearly 20 years and I am still coming up with studio and production innovations. I think dedication and activity count for a lot when it comes to "success" Whether I am streamlining pre-production or decreasing production loss, sourcing new suppliers or cold-calling potential clients, not to mention gaining photo skills, conceptualizing designs, I focus my attention to do the best I can do. And while multi-tasking is the norm for a creative entrepreneur, keeping the tasks at hand manageable is really key. Step by step a bird makes it's nest, as the old adage says! ~xxJoy

  4. Hi, I am bouncing over from your new website. I love it!
    I think that it takes both talent and hardwork, but most of all love. If you love what you are doing then you will find a way to succeed. By looking at your work, it is clear that you put a ton of love into your jewelry. Stunning is the word!