I thought I would post this, not to discourage anyone, but just to kind of shine a little light on the reality of the work we all do. As people start posting all their beautiful pictures of their good times, I want you to try and keep it in perspective. The whole thing is glamorous, but not so glamorous.
When people talk about market, you think, Sample Spree, new fabric, Cake party, famous peeps, and free stuff. You see the pictures of people smiling, and meeting people they have long time chatted with online... Maybe if you really think about it, or follow the tweets of the people who have booths you might get a small glimpse of the stress and hours of labor that go into planning, setting up, and paying for a booth. Sometimes you hear about quilts being made instantaniously with fabric that has literally just arrived from overseas two hours ago to be displayed in 28 minutes. Only to find out that it has been folded and essentially hidden in a booth.
queue sleep deprived tears.....now.
What people don't see or really hear about is the stress, the sickness, the drama, the competition, the straight up weirdness that happens in this little convention center bubble that we all live in for 5 days twice a year. Maybe this is the way that all trade shows are. All I know is this industry, so I don't have much to compare it to yet.
How about preparing for a schoolhouse only to find out that they haven't put YOUR name in the program, so no one really knows that you are giving it, unless you are within the sound of their retweet, or my shouting to get people into the room.
A quilt sent off to a quilter only to be seen again in a schoolhouse and you find that there is a good two inches missing from around the perimeter of your quilt a with new sashing you had nothing to do with and a binding as thick as the Mississippi delta... completely destroying what it is you did.
cry cry cry
One thing that I really noticed this year, was a lot of dire energy. Lots of people really laying it on the line. Winner takes it all sort of feelings. Which can make for intense energy and situations. A lot of designers looking for fabric homes, a lot of designers with fabric homes looking for support and validation.
I had someone tell me off at a friends booth, because they assumed the worst of me, never even having met me before... I had never met them either. It was one of those people being condescending to me because I was young.
I cried through most of my cake party any time any one said anything to me even remotely sentimental because I was so tired.
The whole thing is just so extreme. Your nerves are already shot so when something goes wrong it's extreme, and when something goes right it's extreme. It's like you get your highest highs, and your lowest lows all at the same time. And that's not me taking it overly seriously, it's just the way that it goes. The longer I am in it, the longer it is easilly compareable to a very dramatic family reunion.
But on the flip side of the drama and weirdness is the greatness. Your friends, your peeps, shops and manufacturers supporting you. Spending times with your friends, meeting new peeps, eating cake, late late night late chats, and really seeing your path start to lay out in front of you. There are victories to be had all around. There are oportunities that you can only pay for by being present. There is a lot of good that happens. I had a lot of good things happen this market.
I want to say how grateful I am, and how proud I am of all of the people who have purchased my e-book, How to Enter the World of Textile Design. It takes a lot of time and courage, to actually take the steps that you all took to go to market this time. I spoke to several creative directors and there were more artists at market shopping for manufacturers than EVER before. What used to be 8-15 is now around 60. Because of your efforts and your strong front, manufacturers will have more choice, and maybe that means that we as consumers will have better choices too. So thank you for being strong, and working hard to make these things a reality. Maybe you can now attest that there isn't anything easy or simple about being a fabric designer, it's a lot of work. And maybe now you know better and can share that you really need to love doing it to stick it out. Also, if you have just gotten the book, or haven't made it to market yet... don't be discouraged. Everything is a choice, and it's up to you to decide what and when is best for you.
So there you have it. A little more of the truth for you.
Do you like hearing this? or would you rather everything was still rosey colored and quilty dream like? What are your thoughts or experiences?
love to all of you,