One of those puzzling encounters really stuck out in my mind. I brought my untrimmed quilt to the shop so that I could show my boss and use the cut counter to trim it. I am so used to using the large counter space that I don't really want to tackle larger projects at home. Before I begin to explain my encounter let me just say that I have been making quilts for over 30 years. I did not learn to quilt with a rotary cutter I used scissors for all my cutting needs. Today, after showing my boss my first longarm quilt, another lady in the store walked over to take a look. We do this show and tell thing all the time in the store. I love seeing all the different styles and skill levels of this craft. I grab some scissors, as was a natural tool for me, and started to trim off excess batting from the bottom of the quilt. The lady at the counter told me that I should use a ruler and cutter for this and that she measured from a certain point. I replied that I wanted to use the scissors and I was just trimming off the excess. At that point, I didn't decide if I wanted to cut my quilt with scissors or a rotary cutter. It was up to me what I did because it was my quilt and I felt that she was wanting to take over and tell me what to do. She then gave me a scolding looking. I finished trimming and she took my quilt in her hands and started rotating it and discussing where I should trim it. All of this really got under my skin.
With this person trying to take over my project my blood started to boil. Maybe she thought she was just giving me advice. But to tell you the truth, I do not think people realize the experience I have in this craft. I do not know it all, but I know enough to get the job done. I excused myself so I could leave the counter and gain my composure (that I had not lost but it was slipping). Her behavier was not appropriate. I do not advise my hair stylist on the type of scissors to use. There are many different paint brushes an artist can use to get the effect she wants. The creator is free to choose any tool she wants to get the results she is aiming for.
I assist many women with all aspects of their quilts. I have helped chose colors and fabrics, helped design simple quilts drawing out diagrams and labeling for measurements, figuring out how much fabric is needed, figuring out how much an already made top will need in backing fabric and so on. I try very hard to be respectful of the fact that this is not my project and the dissision making lies with the one who is making the quilt. Yes, I will advise, but ever so gingerly. I respect the artist!
Today was one of the two days of the month that we have a large group of ladies who come to the shop for a class/block of the month. My boss is all about sharing your work and said that I should come into the class to show my quilt. After that encounter, I did not want to open myself up to any other "opinions" (or direct bossiness for that matter). Luckily, she forgot to call me in. While the store went back to calm one of my quilt friends came in and I shared with her my quilt. I told her how it was for my son, and why I chose the fabrics that I did, and how I quilted in his kid nickname. I realized that this quilt was so personal and held a lot of memories, stories, and was a tangible creation to express my love for my first child. The above experience crossed a line with me and it got personal.
Lesson: Respect others art. Whether it is a small child or seasoned artist, respond to their art with wonder and curiosity. Ask them to tell you what inspired them, compliment them in any honest way that you can. If you don't like what they made and can't think of a darn thing to say ask they to tell you the story behind their piece and at the very least show interest in that. Leave your opinions on how they should have done it at the door. Creative people create for many reasons and I think that it is safe to say that for most of us it comes from a very personal place.
***If I have ever made a quilt for you it was out of a place of love for you. Just know that.
I would love to hear your reaction to this. Please feel free to comment!