Monday, October 24, 2011

Out of Rejection, A New Mindset

Back in September, Joey and I applied to be featured artisans at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea. It's a state-run center, but you must be juried in to be featured there. Well, several other KY Etsy team members are featured there, and while there was plenty of jewelry on display, beadweaving was not a feature. So, it was with hope that we filled out the request for an application, and when the application came, we carefully considered the items and photos to submit.

When filling out the application, one of the first questions that it asks is if you are a member of three guilds in the state. "Uh oh," I thought. "We're not a member of these guilds. Will we get a fair consideration?"

As it turns out, probably not, and more on that in a second.

On Saturday, we attended the funeral of a 20-year-old girl who died of a rare sarcoma that started in her hip and by the time it was diagnosed had spread to her lungs. She battled this cancer for over two years in the face of doctors who were ready to give up hope not long after her first diagnosis. She was a brave, sweet girl whose parents loved her very much. Her funeral was heartbreaking.

When we'd gotten back from the funeral, Joey opened our mailbox to find the photo CD mailed back to us from the Kentucky Artisan Center. Tucked inside the CD mailer was a letter from the director of the Artisan Center that basically said "Thanks, but no thanks" and made reference to the fact that members of the three guilds are given more consideration in the jury process than people like Joey and I would be as non-guild members. We were advised to take part in another state program for artisans.

My first reaction was not the most mature, I'll admit. I was tired, and emotionally worn out from the funeral we'd just been to. So, I sat down and had a little cry (I didn't dare cry in the funeral, in case I didn't stop), and told some close friends about it, who immediately started cheering me up, including a new ad campaign for Whimsy Beading that states "Buy Kelly's Jewelry. It's Magic and Sh*t," which just makes me laugh. Then I had a nap.

When I woke up, I decided that that Artisan Center's rejection of our work and their preference for guild members was a letdown, but that it wouldn't stop me from creating items that I want to create, my way. I also decided that it was a good time to actually sit down and think hard about what Joey and I want to do with Whimsy Beading and where we want to go from here. For now, though, I think I'll just keep making pretty, sparkly things that are magic and sh*t. It's good enough for me.


  1. I'm curious why groups like that are so...cliquey (is that even a word?). There were artisan guilds near where I used to live in Tennessee that I wanted to join, and I kept being told I had to be a member of one to get into another. It's ridiculous, and it's incredibly unfair to give preferential treatment like that.


    Also: best new ad campaign ever.

  2. Firstly, condolences on the loss of such a strong-willed young woman. 

    Secondly, that's crap of them.  I mean, if they want membership in those guilds to be a prerequisite, then say so upfront and require it.  >.<

    Thirdly, your sparklies are absolutely magic 'n sh*t!  And I relate to the "wait what am I actually doing with X?" thing.  I'm at that point with my blog - like, do I *want* to reach a wider audience, or am I happy doing what I do as it is?  Introspection is rarely a bad thing, even if being nudged into it can be painful. :-/


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