I’ve discovered something today which has caused me quite a lot of pain. It is not excessive to say that it caused some tears.
You’ll recall that I wrote a post on the topic of subjective value in quilting, saying that I prefer doing it now for love instead of money, trying not to attach ‘value’ to my work based on how long it took and how much the materials cost, but instead on how much I enjoyed doing it. I was amazed at the strength of reaction it provoked, both pro and con, because I wasn’t tub-thumping or getting on any soapboxes to preach my point, merely making an observation. I respect the position of those who demand a fair price for the work they sell, and I have been clear about this, but I do also expect that respect to be reciprocated for my opinions.
What I was stunned to discover today was that someone has hijacked chunks of my post into a blog of her own without asking, and has seen fit to slant and emphasise points out of the original context to support an attack against me personally and others who do not charge ‘correctly’ for their quilting work. This person did not respond directly to my post, as would have been appropriate, but has seen fit to criticise me on her own blog for my opinions because they are different from hers. I do not name her, because I am not in the business of tit-for-tat, and quite frankly I’m not anxious to swell her readership.
To add insult to injury, she has missed the point. I am no longer in the business of selling the fruits of my hobby. I am not in competition with her or her fellow quilt professionals. My refusal to sell my work does not set false price expectations amongst potential buyers for the quilts of others. I do not sell quilts at all for any price. Instead, I give them away for love, for charity, for friendship, for celebration and in appreciation. They are gifts. Sometimes, the recipient pays for the fabric. Mostly not. Apparently this is wrong and I am devaluing the market for her and others of her ilk who earn a living making quilts. I should charge, whatever the context. The Quilt Police are among us….
I know that the world of blogging is filled with people who have no manners, but wouldn’t it have been better if she’d commented on my blog, mentioned that she disagreed with my points and said that she was planning to write a post of her own responding to mine? To make her comments personal and directed at me by name without any notification seems disrespectful in the extreme.
I think what I find most painful is being accused of perpetuating and hiding behind “a corrosive lie”(her words), which is that I don’t need the money. I truly don’t need to make money from friends, family and deserving causes. I am accused of “making myself sound fortunate” because I don’t need to make a living from my quilts. I am fortunate, but why is this something to be ashamed of? This is not the career I have chosen for my life’s work. I do not need to be businesslike, or realistic. This is merely my joy, my interest, my passion in chief amongst many passions… It’s like condemning hobby woodworkers because they give their grandchildren wooden toys without charging a ‘realistic’ price and making life hard for ‘real’ woodworkers who earn a living at it.
I did not know her post was there so I had no opportunity to respond. And today, reading her rather sarcastic attack directed at me personally hurt, quite a lot, like being struck from behind by an unseen assailant.
I hope she is satisfied with herself and her actions. She certainly got her point across, but did it have to be at the cost of causing pain to a complete stranger, who has no possible impact on her potential customer base, in another country far, far away…?