( Column 10 / 2002)
"A commentary about creative people living in the small communities scattered through the hills and valleys of Central New York"
Published in The County Review
"The Lost Valleys" by...Ron Gladkowski "A commentary about creative people living in the small communities scattered through the hills and valleys of Central New York"
"Out of the mouths of......"
Those of us, who sit at art and craft festivals, often hear (Or overhear) comments and bits of conversation. Most of these demonstrate that the mind is not always connected to the mouth:
- "This sure looks like a great way to make a living.....I have to work."
- Overheard...One elderly lady to another, (referring to the artists around her) "They don't look homeless, do they?"
- "Do you make one exactly like this, but cheaper?"
- "I'd like to be creative and make things like this, Do you sell the patterns?"
- "My grandfather was a woodcarver, but he never charged as much as you do."
- "My grandson made a terrarium just like this in day camp, except it wasn't glass, it was in a plastic soda bottle."
- To a porcelain artist. "Do you bake these in your oven?"
- "Martha Stewart showed how to make these. It's Easy!"
- Someone commented: (After being told a piece took 45 hours to make)"No wonder! At that price, it should!
- One festival visitor, after a storm blew through and did a lot of damage, approached an artist and asked: "Will you be having a Storm Sale?"
Artists and crafts people are not immune from being thoughtless, even to other artists. Here are some stories about people who should know better:
- A good friend (A batik artist) said to me, after viewing my portfolio of web pages I have designed... "My nephew plays around with computers in school, I'll see if he could make me a web page."
- A craftswoman who received a hand crafted gift from a school class for doing a demonstration, contacted the creator, and asked "If I pass this on to a friend could my friend exchange it for something else."
- One potter approached another, and (seriously) asked: "Would you mind if I copied some of your designs?"
- The director of an organization which supports and encourages arts and culture, was known for approaching professional artists and wanting to buy their "Seconds"
- A young man paused at the entrance to a craft booth, and looked around. Taking a business card out of his pocket, and handing it to the artist, he said: "I do this kind of work. Only Better!"
As much as I would like to think otherwise, I'm sure I have committed more than one "faux pas" within the creative community in which I travel. So, you see....People are people, and, even when we should know better, words can escape our lips without first passing through the brain. The best we can do is laugh at these blunders afterwards, and resolve to try and be more sensitive the next time. If you have any such anecdotes to tell, go to www.lostvalleys.com, and e-mail them to me. We can start a collection of such stories and I'll post them on a web page.
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