Just now on Facebook, I discovered a link because my friend and crafts author Susan Beal commented about it: The Dumbing Down of the Quilting and Sewing Industry « LoveBug Studios.

I seriously, passionately, and wholeheartedly disagree with almost everything Ebony asserts in her post. And though I’d never read her blog before, and I’m not familiar with her work, I’ve decided I’m not interested in looking further into either. I find perfection to be pretty uninteresting. And I find the desire of one person to paint the world with her own perfectionism to be infuriating.

We owe her nothing.

Nothing.

You owe me nothing.

You owe other crafters nothing.

Nothing.

Don’t let talk like hers discourage you from making things. And certainly don’t let it discourage you from liking things other people make, from appreciating other people’s work for whatever reasons you have.

Know what I love? Exposed seams. Asymmetry. Feeling the joy a maker obviously felt while making a thing.

I won’t buy or praise or promote work I don’t enjoy or find sub-par.

I’ll spend my money how I want to spend it. I’ll make (and photograph and offer for sale) what I want to make. People will agree with my choices or they won’t. They’ll buy my work or they won’t.

When people like Ebony leave comments on my work – on anyone’s work – with unsolicited I-know-better-than-you-so-obviously-you-must-want-to-hear-from-me tips or advice, I don’t appreciate it. I resent it. I discount it. I do not want to learn from her.

Now.

To get past my own rant and into something possibly more constructive, I think Ebony is very seriously wrong in one major way (amongst others), and very seriously correct in another.

First, as I said, she’s painting the whole world with her own perfectionism. She says she wants people to want to do better for themselves, but what she’s really saying is that she’s very disappointed in everyone and would like them to do better so she’s not so offended all the time. She’s conflating her own personal standards with some impossible-to-define set of public standards. Because she’s disappointed, everyone should be disappointed. This is not okay.

But on to the part where I agree with her: There are some very serious flaws in the crafts publishing (and media) industry. Very serious flaws. She’s bang on about this. Some crafts books are overseen by people who don’t know the craft. Some deadlines are unrealistically (and rigidly) too tight. Authors are almost never allowed to attend photo shoots for their own books, which leads to inaccuracies in photography. Marketing sometimes shouts over editorial. As an author, I know very well what it’s like to try desperately to convey my message and maintain my integrity while also playing nice with the dozens of people who are also involved in making my books, and who have their own opinions about what’s best. I’ve won some battles and I’ve lost some. I have no doubt that every author has experienced the same.

I’ve seen some books that could have been amazing but ended up not so amazing. And Ebony is right that some books get made because of the author’s popularity and not necessarily because they have anything important or interesting or beautiful to say. That’s business. I’m not much bothered by the popularity game in publishing. If you were a publisher, wouldn’t  you want some sure-things in your line-up? I would.

{Right here, I deleted a rant about how-to television. I hate it. It’s so awkward. So very awkward. You may or may not notice that I don’t highlight my work in how-to television in my professional bio. It’s the only body of work I’ve ever done that I’m not proud of. Perhaps one day I’ll figure out a responsible way to write about this.} {ETA 11/2015: I’ve since become an instructor at Craftsy, which, though not actual television, is how-to video, and my experience and classes are things I’m very, very proud of. They do it right.}

I had an entirely different post planned for today, but I’ve gone off the rails on this one and I’m just going to publish it so I don’t spend the next hour revising it.