finished bags and comment thoughts

I’ve been mulling over some blog/craft related issues. The thoughts are not chosing to leave on their own, so I will put them here. And so as not to bore anybody, first some photos.

I finished the 3 bags- gifts for various young women in my life.

I made patches from the fabric I printed for a swap last summer- almost exactly a year ago now.

So now for some blog thoughts. I was at a party a month or so ago. I was sitting with a small group of people, all of us involved in the on-line world in various ways. Two of the people at the table, one a man and one a woman, started making fun of the type of comments that people make on food blogs (and also craft blogs by association, although I’m pretty sure they have never spent any time in the online crafty world). I was hearing that the comments were somehow not legitimate (?) or stupid because no one is giving criticism. Too much nice. All very kindergarten. No real issues are discussed. hmm… I don’t know…  I’ve been turning this over in my mind ever since.

We, in crafty blog community, are in a unique corner of the internet universe. To prove this point, this sequence actually happened to me recently.

A man commented on one of my Flickr photos. This flashed through my brain- OMG, a MAN on the internet!

Does that say something about the corner that we inhabit? I don’t think many of the art/craft blogs I look at are putting their work out into the world seeking constructive criticism. Who asks for that from strangers? If I want a critique of my work, I ask someone I know well, whose view point I respect, who I believe has some understanding of where I am coming from and who I can watch as they interact with my work. So why do I put my work out there? To connect with other people who are interested in what I’m interested in. Imagine- look! look! embroidery! wool! cool!…. I can assure anyone who questions this- it is not so easy to find people who get excited about this stuff. So, of course all the comments are nice and oh so gushy- we are thrilled to find someone else who gets what we are into!

Okay, that’s the first rant off my chest. I’ll leave more for another day.

16 thoughts on “finished bags and comment thoughts

  1. I think the issue is *intent*. Most of us use our blogs to make a connection with other like-minded people. Comments serve to reinforce the connections. Critiques (especially unsolicited) usually do not.

  2. Yes we do inhabit a unique area of the online world. It is always nice and thrilling to find like-minded people and yes, the comments tend to be equally nice. Yet, I’ve discovered that if you ask someone to critique your work or ask which one they prefer, comments do become more like constructive critiques. I don’t often ask for them because I usually post the finished project and don’t want to redo it. But sometimes it’s useful to ask for them. I don’t think that makes us “kindergarten” at all. Perhaps that man at the party would prefer there to be more “flame wars” on craft and food blogs? Would that then make us “legitimate” in his eyes? If so, I will happlily remain in the sandbox and play nice with all my other artistic and crafty online friends.

    BTW, I really like that you sewed on your hand patch on those totes. I still have my patch that you sent and am saving it for something interesting. :-) Have a great weekend! Cheers!

  3. I agree that when one displays completed projects, or wip’s for that matter, it’s poor form to give unsolicited criticism. Encouragement, or maybe a tip which had worked for you are appropriate. The only exception to this, in my mind, is when a person displays items which have been copied from (not inspired by) another parson’s idea/work without any acknowledgement of the original artist. In that case, a tactful remark such as “Didn’t so-and-so design that?” might remind the crafter to give credit where it is due. The one thing I have learned as a teacher is that a person can be given 100 positive remarks and all those good feelings will all fade away in the wake of one ugly remark. I agree with Tami, let’s “play nice”.

  4. So true Mimi, it is hard to find people who “get” what you are into in the real world. I occassionally ask for advice or suggestions on the blog and love all the hints and tips that people share. Would I critique a persons finished project ? – not unless I was asked, in just the same way we tend not to critique our friends new outfit, hairdo, lifestyle choice…unless asked.
    If this is kindergarten, I hope I never graduate.

  5. I did ask for constructive criticism… and I got a couple of comments ( I think it’s really hard to critique others’ work, and we all know what it feels like to get negative comments, so unless someone’s in one of those hypercritical “I hate myself & I’m going to take it out on someone else” nasty kind of moods, it’s really hard to write critical comments (and in that kind of a mood, who wants to get those comments!!). I think that’s one of the reasons that we rarely see negative comments. Plus we aren’t taught how to give constructive criticism; in a couple of art classes I’ve taken, critiques were very difficult for the students.
    And also… I agree, that finding someone else that does something similar to yourself! or their work is just so cool! how can you find anything to criticize??
    Plus the time factor, taking the time to really look at a piece and say what you do and don’t like about it. aargh.
    I really would like critical comments… but I don’t write them either; I would much rather be positive and gloss over something I see on the ‘net… and this is one of the longest comments I’ve ever written, so I guess that says something right there!
    and p.s., I enjoy seeing the dolls you make. I’m not a fan of toile fabric, so those are my least favorite, but once I get past that, they’re pretty cool! The felt dolls though… them I love! I keep thinking I need to make one. someday!

  6. You know what? It takes so much guts to have a blog and post your art on the web in the first place. It’s like ripping your heart out and asking strangers to play nice with it. The few times people have “flamed” me I’ve completely checked out, why would I want to let myself be abused in such a public and humiliating arena? I only post comments when I feel strongly about something, because the internet is such a tender place. I know there are those people who love to jump from site to site being rude and doing what they think is “criticizing,” but in reality they’re just being mean. What’s the point?
    Mimi, you are a true artist. A talented artist. Art is something that is very personal, as most of us who read your blog know. We are here to support you. We are a community, and I believe we are all adult enough to behave ourselves. I would argue that your male friend is the adolescent, and we who are crafty and blogging are the true graduates of life.

  7. I love all 3 of these bags! I hope Olivia will share hers with me on occasion if I ask very nicely :)

    And your lovely grandmas! The aprons are so perfect – white so that flour dustings from the baking they’ve been doing won’t be so obvious. I don’t know which hair I prefer – the steel gray, the classic blue, or the soft white. All so perfect. *sigh*

    Who wants criticism after the fact anyway? Your creations are like your children in that you hope the best parts of yourself will shine through. Your work is inspired, Mimi.

  8. Mimi: Pay no attention to those comments about Blogging. Your art is yours and you are so creative, you enjoy what your doing and you don’t have trouble with people wanting your work, so who cares what some guy says about blogs and coments. If he put his mind to work maybe he could be more creative before he opened his mouth ! HA HA !!!
    Not everybody is going to have the same taste in art. Your bags are wonderful. Your dolls are so unique Love them because they are so different.
    I have been working on some hand bag organizers. Have sold two ! And a few for gifts.
    I’ll try and get pictures tomorrow of the one’s I’ve finished. They have been fun to work on and I do enjoy mine ! It makes changing hand bags so easy just pick up the organizer out of one bag and place your contents into the next hand bag and your off. Most everything can stay contained and Organized in your hand bag. Your flowers and tomatoes are wonderful, I haven’t done much with my flowers this year. And it is already the end of July ! YIKES I have some perinials that are doing wonderfully but as far as my annual’s I didn’t get much done at all. It has been a hetic summer so far. Where does the time go?
    Looking forward to your next project. Before I forget. When I arrived in Charleston SC. As I was putting my bags into the car,at the airport. I looked down and what did I find, right next to the curb ? A zipper pull ! I had to laugh and the first thing that came to mind was your little man with the pink zipper pull, but mine wasn’t pink, and much larger in size. woo woo! I quickly scoffed it up and put it in a safe place for safe keeping until I can find my own unique use for it. LOL A Bee busy ! Barb

  9. Mimi, I’ve been reading your blog for so long – I more than owe you a comment! I agree wholeheartedly with you. If I want a critique I will ask for one and, call me fragile, but I like my critiques to happen privately. I blog primarily to connect with others who like the same stuff as me! No one in my house gets excited when I find cool old buttons in an op shop, but I know my blogging buddies will!

  10. I had a related experience a while back that has troubled me ever since. I was in a group with some friends and the subject of blogging came up. One of my friends told another about my blog and he was dismissive. He said blogs weren’t necessary if you lived in an urban community because you could walk outside your door and say hello to your neighbour, suggesting, I think, that bloggers were some kind of reclusive group that never saw the light of day. I think he has a very limited view of community (not to mention a limited view of bloggers – some of the more adventurous, interesting folks I know!). The online community transcends geographic barriers, which is part of its value. Like you said Mimi, it’s hard sometimes to find folks who can appreciate a vintage spool, a thrift score, or fabric find. When I find mine, I can’t wait to post about them … it’s almost my first thought!

  11. OK here is my two cents. I’ve had your post open on my web browser for a day or two and while I was thinking about it, lo and behold who should I hear on the radio but Emily Gould of the NY Times mag story on blogging. I had not even heard of her before that article and had never read gawker. Here was a world that I was completely unfamiliar with. One where people wrote scathing diatribes and tore people to shreds, for what? Truth apparently. Well as I get older, I am trying to get away from the notion of trying to make myself feel better by making others look bad or just talking crap about them. If everything is just a love fest here on craft blogs, so be it. I am with you and have always been with you on the community. This is my community. This is where I find understanding, inspiration and camaraderie. Where I do not need to explain the why, that other people with imagination and creativity can and will if not think the same, at least have an appreciation. Now I am starting to blather because it’s late. But I suppose I’m preaching to the choir.

  12. Boy, have I heard of this many times…I did creative writing workshops, art workshops and so on…each with a touch of being “true” and critiquing as a form of growth. None were that bad…though, on a occasion, I had a few of my pieces ripped into and boy, did it hurt.

    Then, I had the best writing workshop ever. The premise was to let people share their voice, focus on the positives and give people room to grow. I think this is an excellent mantra to have for nearly any type of art/writing.

    I really think this goes hand-in-hand with the mentality of raising a child…the child being our art/writing. If we only focus on the negatives, we freeze and the art is stunted and is always left wanting. However, if the opposite is done, the art grows, matures and becomes what it needs to be.

    There will always be people who prefer “harshness” to kindness assuming by being harsh there is truth involved. I don’t believe this and I’ve seen the exact opposite happen to a person who is encouraged and uplifted by being truthful on the good things in their work.

    Have a Happy Birthday! :)

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