Monday, January 19, 2009

Shout it from the rooftops

I had no idea when I read Jessica's blog post that it would start so much introspection on my part. My original intention when I started this blog was to help in marketing Around the Block Designs. Read much about that yet? Yeah, I didn't think so.

I'm warning you right now that I've been pondering this for the last couple of days. If you aren't interested, then just move on. Or scroll down to the bottom and think about the questions there, because I'd love to hear someone else's thoughts on the process.

Turns out that trying to write about things that Mark and I create, even for the greater good of expanding our business, is a really hard thing for me to do. But why? Why is it so hard to write about the fused glass that Mark creates or the quilts that I create? Some people have no problem saying, "Hey, look what I'm working on. Isn't it GREAT?" I've donated three quilts to MCC for their fundraising quilt auction and each time they have been hung facing the auction audience. For me, that has always been the ultimate honor, my equivalent to performing at Carnegie Hall. Why? Because of all the quilts donated each year, only four are hung facing the crowd.
The down side? It causes all those voices in my head to start talking at once: Why mine? What about THIS quilt makes it good enough? And how to respond to people saying, "I really like your quilt"? I usually end up saying, "Well, you know, Mark's cousin, Ione, did an amazing job of machine quilting. THAT'S the reason it's so good." True enough--she is an artist with that sewing machine. It just feels so awkward, just wrong, to acknowledge out loud that, hey, I made this quilt, I LOVE it, thanks for noticing it and thanks for liking it too.

And Around the Block Designs? Mark's work has been published in three magazines, he has been commissioned to make recognition plaques given to world-class quilters and appreciation plaques given to corporate sponsors with really big names--Bernina sewing machines and Gammill. And yet, other than very close friends and family, we haven't really told anyone.

So what is it that makes some people comfortable telling the world about their accomplishments, whether the world agrees with them or not? And others, like me, jump up and down, but only on the inside? Is there a recording that plays in my head, something I got growing up perhaps, that tells me that public attention is bad, like a character flaw, that pride goeth before the fall?

Well, I want to be like you, Jessie. So, resolved for 2009, shout it from the rooftops. You'll be seeing what we're working on, what we've completed, what we hope people will want to purchase. And when things don't turn out the way we thought they would, that's okay too--it's part of the process, and you'll be the first to see--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Because in the words of Scott Adams of Dilbert fame: Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

So what about you? Are you comfortable tooting your own horn? Or do you hide your light under a bushel?


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Toni said... #

I am glad you posted about this! You deserve great recognition. And it reminded me to ask you about ordering some coasters. Peter has been talking about having some of your cool coasters for weeks, and I keep forgetting to ask you about it! What would be the easiest way for me to order some? Send an email through your website? Let me know! thanks cindy

JHNickodemus said... #

Ooooh good! I'm so glad to be seeing more of your work! It's fabulous and meant to be shared! You're so supportive when I come over and say "look what I made!" I cant wait to do the same with what you (and Mark)make!

Grandma G said... #

I think this post has gotten you off to a great start!

I LOVE that quilt! And I'd still LOVE it without the machine quilting, because that's not what 'makes it'. Your design is what 'makes it'.

There's a difference between bragging and sharing. You have every right to share your accomplishments and the joy you find in them, and it needn't be considered bragging.

So keep sharing, my friend! I want to see more!!!

Anonymous said... #

Ditto Grandma G - sharing is fun for everyone. Do tell!!! Do show! You and Mark are both really creative and talented. And speaking of showing and telling, you mentioned your 3 qilts that were at the MCC auction. Wouldn't it be fun if you showed everyone the 3 quilts you made? If you REALLY want to share, you could tell more about MCC, what it is all about and that each of your quilts (different years) was one of the top 3 sellers. Maggie

Katie said... # and Mark are amazing! Don't be bashful, show us what you're working in. How will we ever be inspired if no one shares what they've done?! I can't wait to see what you're working on.

The Luedtke Family said... #

How about saying "thank you". That goes a long ways! "Thank you" also allows you to sincerely receive the compliment in your soul. Another great thing Eric has taught me, to say "thank you" instead of passing off or talking around the compliment.

Sharing is definitely different than bragging.

So go on, and shout it from the rooftops!