My college boyfriend was a jazz guitarist. One day he took his guitar down to Pike Place Market in Seattle to see if he could make some money playing for the tourists. After playing for an hour or so and being less than a dollar richer, he gave up. Fast-forward 40-something years, and he is a well-known musician, maybe not world-famous, but he has had some well-deserved success in the music industry.
Today, I gave feedback to a contributor as to why their project wasn’t chosen for an issue. I offered it to be helpful, and they said they wanted the feedback, but I also made the point that I think people should weave what they want just as people should play the songs they want to play. If they want success in the music industry or for their project to be published, well maybe that’s a different thing.
I even told the contributor that I am sometimes guilty of throwing away judges’ comments without reading them. A judge once told me something about one of my pieces that I disagreed with. After that, I decided I don’t always want or need to know other people’s opinions about my weaving. That said, I have sold my work in the past, a sure-fire way of finding out what people think of your designs in the same way that playing guitar at the market will tell you whether people like your music. Today, I weave primarily for friends and relatives, but mainly to please myself.
The art committee is a group of 5 or 6 of my fellow Long Thread Media employees that looks over and discusses every proposal to decide whether we think it should be in the magazines. We look at all aspects of a piece, from the concept, to the overall look, structural details, and the finishing. I’m sometimes very surprised to find my personal favorites aren’t necessarily what the group chooses and vice versa. I have my biases and opinions, which is exactly why the committee has great value to me. I want Handwoven to reflect a wide range of tastes.
Submitting a proposal to Handwoven or Little Looms is an act of bravery, just as is submitting a piece to a juried or judged show. I give you 10 points just for doing that. I’ll also give you 10 points for realizing you can’t always please everyone all of the time, but you should at least try to please yourself.