A Long Rant

Advance warning: this is a bit of a rant. Sorry!

I was sitting in a waiting room the other morning and I had a few minutes to kill, so I picked up a magazine I would never have read if it weren't for my doctor's strange (to me) tastes in periodicals. The magazine was called Details. It appeared to be some flavor of GQ for the young and hip male. Still, I did learn some important facts about tooth whitening processes.

The article that really caught my eye was Welcome To The Age of Self Promotion. Sadly, to me, it proclaimed that hard work isn't enough to get ahead. You have to tell everyone how great you are. Be a walking resumé. Do that whole social networking thing. Make yourself appear to be indispensable. Invent the internet or something, or at least tell everyone you did so they'll vote for you.

OK, that wasn't fair to Al. He didn't really make such a claim. It was a bad game of telephone.... but it does illustrate the point of the article.

People will make themselves bigger than life. They'll go on about their knowledge and achievements to anyone who'll listen, hoping it will filter up and help them climb over the people who are actually doing the work. I'm not ragging on legitimate bragging rights here. I'm just reminiscing a little about the corporate world I left to become a bead-maker. There are some loud people out there, basically starting rumors to put themselves in a positive light. I'm not sure if they believe they have the skills, or know they don't and think it's ok to get other people to believe they do.

I'm afraid it's no different in the lampworking world, or any other part of the world. There are legitimately earned reputations for excellence, there's some darned good, and legitimate, self-promotion by skilled artisans... then there's drama and people claiming to have invented this, that or the other and attacking others to bring attention to themselves. I was once told I have no taste because I stated I didn't care for a particular bead-maker's style, which was a statement of my personal taste (and the story of why I said it is too long to relate here, but came on the heels of a self-promotion campaign that negatively targeted someone else). There, her high station was preserved by bringing to the attention of every reader that I had no taste, which was a statement regarding my abilities. Without taste, I can make no good decision about aesthetics, now can I? Therefore, as an artist and craftsperson, I must suck because I don't value her style as highly as I should. I'm inherently flawed.

Games like that have always frustrated me because I work hard and prefer to work quietly, out of the limelight, happily drawing or painting or making beads in my shed. Now Details has informed me I can't get there with hard work alone, I have to get out there and tell everyone how great I am.

Well, darn.

Gotta love the narrow-minded.

Gotta love the narrow-minded.

I had a sort of similar experience with a college professor a couple of decades back. He was a pottery guru and I wasn't particularly gifted in that area (art major here), nor did I spend 20 hours a week in the pottery studio (on top of a full-time schedule) to become one of his "mini me's". So I got shredded.

Good teachers or mentors are those who recognize your strengths and weaknesses and inspire and guide you to make the most of the gifts that you do have.

That professor and the "arteest" who slammed you, I have no doubt, are cut from the same moth-eaten cloth. Incredibly talented--to the point of being nearly unable to teach anyone anything, and completely blind to any other view. That type certainly doesn't tolerate what falls outside their tiny little box of jealous stardom.

It's a shame and a sorrow, really. I'm sorry that happened to you. I, for one, LOVE your work. Art should lift the soul's eyes to the heavens, to dream, to imagine, to believe, to become...

Thanks for the note!

I was talking to someone else just a week ago, who was almost convinced by one of her college professors that she had no talent, and almost quit pursuing her art career. Now she teaches at a fine arts college and at my daughter's after school program and she rocks! What a tragedy it would be if we gave up because of the arrogance of the narrow-minded.

The great thing about art is there's something for everyone and we don't have to be good at everything to give expression to what's stewing in our heads and hearts, and for every one tootin' their horn and knocking people down to inflate their own sense of importance, there are dozens of people with real talent whose work really does lift the soul's eyes to the heavens because it comes from their heart and not their ego.

Thank you! Your words made my day.