is knowing when to share them and when to keep the trap shut. The one ugly aspect of being creative is that people offer their unsolicited opinions about your work. If the comment is positive, supportive and complimentary no problem, but when it’s negative it can suck the joy out of the moment quicker than a sock going up the vacuum hose. As a shop owner, I’m a bit of a
bartender in that people feel free to confide in me, exposing the aftermath of thoughtless comments, the collateral damage of opinion bombs. “Why did you use that colour?” “I would
never have done it that way!” “What were you thinking?” All of a sudden the project you felt so proud of is tainted and worse, your confidence has taken a hit.
If you ask someone for their opinion you open yourself up to their thoughts and have to accept what comes down the chute. You don’t have to heed their advice or take it to heart but it was solicited and good or bad you deal with it. Wanting approval for your work is normal, we all want to fit in and feel accepted but do we really need someone else to tell us what we’ve created is good? When it boils right down, the only opinion that matters is your own. A wise art teacher once said something that has stuck in my crop for thirty years and I use this philosophy in my business and in my life. "Never, under any circumstance cast your work in a negative light. Don’t ever bring attention to what you perceive is a flaw. Most won’t even notice but as soon as you point out a part that you might not be happy with, others will view the work as flawed. Accept that you have created something special and others will see and believe in the value in your work." Wise words!
One wonderful rug hooker I’ve known since I first opened my door lacks self-confidence about her work. Why? Because people in her group have told her repeatedly that she’s not a very good hooker. Why anyone would say this is lost on me, especially when it couldn’t be further from
the truth. Obviously there is more going on than meets the eye. This woman is a beautiful rug hooker and sweeter than brown sugar.
A frustrated woman came into the shop to sign up for a beginning class. She’s been hooking for
years so I was surprised at the request. Apparently, her friends told her she wasn’t a very good hooker so she wanted to learn to hook like me. I was flattered but then I had to laugh. I’d always thought her work looked identical to mine and I consider myself a pretty good hooker, so that meant my work was less than pleasing as well. The whole thing was utterly ridiculous and I pressed that fact, hoping to rebuild the confidence that had been torn down. Seeing she needed more convincing I took it a step further. I told her because there was nothing wrong with her rug hooking, the problem might lie somewhere else in her life. Maybe these people are envious that her house is bigger, or maybe they are widowed and she still has her husband. Maybe her car is newer and her clothing is perceived to be nicer, maybe they think she has more money. Who knows why envy rears its ugly head but I was positive it was the main ingredient behind the
She said to me. “You know, my best friend and I were out shopping the other day and I had
to pump gas and when I went in to pay and then returned to the car my friend said, “You know, you don’t look that fat from behind.” BINGO! I said. See there is nothing wrong with your hooking, there’s a little green monster messing with your head. She left with a smile and a renewed faith in her rug hooking and maybe in herself.
I don’t want to sound like I’m preaching, far from it, just be kind to your fellow rug hooker. Words can hurt. My mother always said; “If you can’t say anything nice about someone don’t say
anything.“ If there’s an element of a friend’s rug that you don’t agree with then find the things you like and play them up. This is a craft, not world domination; we don’t have to score points off one another to gain ground.