Money Experiment at the Maker Faire

It’s not easy selling something I love for $14. The 5″ x 7″ art cards I create and sell for under $15 are carefully crafted on conservation quality materials and always seem like such a perfect piece of natural beauty. And maybe I have a hard time letting go.

This year I gave myself some time to struggle with understanding the issue of letting go. Do I really want other people to have them? (I decided Yes!) Am I ready to let go of them? (Well, I thought, if they appreciate them “enough,” then yes). Am I doing this for the money? (I’m not making enough to matter, so no). Then why would the money exchange matter?

There it is. I feel like I’ve captured a beautiful gift from nature and all I get back is a little money. Supply money.  I realized it didn’t seem like a fair trade! If the money could get me joy and beauty, that would be a fair trade. What I wanted in my life, and what money probably can’t buy, has to do with joy, love, fun and creativity. And that’s when I decided to trade art for a dance dare: dance behind someone without them knowing, and I’d videotape it.

The Maker Faire was the first place I tried it. As people admired my work, I made the offer to trade my favorite pieces for a dance dare. Reactions mostly ranged from pleasant surprise to challenge accepted and no trade needed! I was hugely rewarded with fun, laughter and others’ creative expressions. Everyone was so grateful for the chance to participate. It was a huge success in the areas of fun, joy and creativity.

On seven year old boy was too scared to do it, but his sister wouldn’t do it without him. They came back a couple of hours later and took the dare. Clearly they had been practicing- but it gave him confidence and had fun doing it. When he was done, the pride he had in himself was way more important than the art card. He really felt like he accomplished something and needed to be certain about where he could see himself on the video.  I hope he found it.

One of my most favorite segments got damaged and isn’t included. It was a guy in full chain mail, who fully accepted the dance dare, and found someone perfectly still and deeply engaged in conversation with someone. Men in skirts is a joy all by itself, but add some chain mail and some crazy dancing, and you just made my week.

There was a 13 year old who really wanted to do it, but had to gather her courage. She came back after an hour or so, and really gave the dance everything she had. It was hilarious to watch, but even better knowing she overcame something and experienced some fun and satisfaction in that.

At the end of the event, no fewer than five vendors around me thanked me for all the laughs they got that day. Then one of them came up and did a dance dare right in front of me, to make sure I “got one.”