Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tips for a Tuesday - Keep Calm and Carry On

Alright, I suppose by this point you've all had the saying pounded into you, but it bears repeating: Keep Calm, and Carry On. This post is dedicated to all of those people who've forgotten the other saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." 

Don't you love me?
We, as artists and craftspeople have the unfortunate distinction of being in a position of subjecting ourselves and our creations, as extensions of ourselves, to public scrutiny. Be it online, or in person, I'm always amazed at how cavalier some people are with their remarks. I was at an event a few months ago and had brought along some of the plush creatures I make. An older lady picked one of my goofy owls up, looked it over, and then gasped upon seeing the price tag ($52) and tittered to her friend, "How can she POSSIBLY justify charging so much for THIS!?"

Um, hello? I'm sitting right here.

So to clarify, my little critters aren't your average stuffed toy made with toxic materials by tiny, slave-wage, child-hands in some third world country. Nope, they're handmade by me, a Bay Area resident (with Bay Area rent!), no less, that survives off her art. They're hand embroidered, one of a kind, made from high quality and mostly green materials, and I basically come out close to minimum wage for what I charge for them. This little rant was what I wanted to respond with, but instead I just smiled and said nothing. Because this is the pill we all have to swallow in some form when we start pedaling our wares out in the flesh.  Now, to be honest, I've had handfuls more people say nothing but kind words of appreciation... but it's the zingers that seem to stick and contribute to that post-show emotional exhaustion.
A fellow crafter posted this blog post a few months back which include a few more of my favorite all too typical comments that we're lucky enough to hear out in show-land:
  • This would look great in my bathroom.
  • You should do/add/take out this next time.
  • This is too expensive.
  • I/my kid/my dog could do this.  
I'm sure you all have your favorites as well. By now, you're probably wondering, "So Maggie - where is the tip in all of this? When will this tirade of yours conclude?"

What Not To Do:  

Some Possible Alternatives:

{Deep Breath In} Ok, Now! So how do you deal with moments like these? I tend to remind myself that I'm doing what I love for a living, and that for every one snarky or inadvertently ignorant comment I receive, I get ten of support and thanks. I remember that people smile as they look at my work, and if that smile should again appear while they're viewing my art from the comfort of their toilet, well, at least I'm still bringing them a bit of joy. And I remind myself that chances are, they/their kid/their dog would actually have one heck of a time replicating what I do, and that if they were to try, perhaps that would just bring them a higher level of appreciation for what us artists are sharing with them. Of course, I'd still like to occasionally throttle some of my booth visitors, but in the end, I just repeat to myself, "Keep Calm & Carry On."

So, fellow artisans, do you have any other particularly fantastic lines you've received? Want to get them off your chest? Share! And feel free to pass this post along, and perhaps our craft-going friends will give that not-so-polite patron a slight whack the next time they ask you, "So, this is art?"

Signing off for now,

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. Very true.
    I've heard people will say "Oh I had a similar idea once..." If I'm in a really snarky mood I'll ask they did about it.


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