I’ve been working on this post for awhile now. Today, I spent the day installing all of the insulation in the studio conversion.  Here is what it looked like this morning:

And here was the end of the day…

Anyone who has ever installed insulation before knows what a thankless task it is! I love the drywall install as it seems like the room all comes together before your eyes! Insulation…not so much.

But… it is necessary and, as I hinted above, it gave me some quiet time to think about this post.

So here is the question I was thinking about: Why so much drama?

Specifically, why so much drama in our sewing and quilting industry?

I will begin with a confession: at my first Quilt Market in Fall of 2008, I was amazed, excited, enthusiastic, and thrilled to have found ‘my people’! I had just started my job at C&T Publishing.  I had never even heard of Quilt Market before. It was an energizing experience that left me just giddy.

However, after my second Quilt Market, I came through the door, my husband greeted me with excitement, wanting to hear all about my trip, and he gave me this huge hug…and instead of not being able to decide what to tell him first…I burst into tears. What happened??

The drama. It was just too much for me. And my homecomings from subsequent Quilt Markets haven’t been a whole lot better.  Now…do you know what? I dread it every season.  And I hate that this is true.

Now, there are a ton of things I love about Quilt Market and I do come away with great connections, and great new ideas, and….honestly now….I meet some new designers that leave me amazed and breathless and humbled with their talent. And that is what I love. Even meeting just two or three of these potential authors, fills me with so much excitement that I might be able to work with them and to bring their talents to a large audience.

Sadly, this is the exception to the rule.  Why why why? What is it about this creative journey, this amazing industry with room for everyone, with designs and people and companies who are some of the most innovative, hard-working, inspirational, people I have ever been lucky enough to meet….what is it that leads to all of this drama?

I absolutely hate it. In fact, it got me so upset, that I asked for Management Training in how to extricate myself from conversations that were degenerating (which C&T provided because they are such a great company to work for!!).

But…the sad fact is: I am a great dumping ground. The conversations I have are required to be confidential. The sheer amount of ‘information’ I have in my head about who likes whom and who doesn’t and who said what about whom and who doesn’t like whom and who hates this or that or the other or who is mad at me for not liking this or that or the other, who came out with a fabric line that they hate, who they heard this scandalous rumor about, and who they would just never ever want to be on the same publishing list with because their work is…… (fill in the blank)…. it is just staggering.  It. Exhausts. me.

I have heard enough from others to know I am not alone.

So, this Fall, I have made the decision to ignite change. Because it can be infectious. I have decided to have powerful progressive conversations, to be open to everything, to trust my gut, and, most importantly, to walk away from any conversation that is anything but positive.

I know we all have opinions (goodness knows I sure do). And that is okay. That has to be okay, because discourse is good. But I’m just going to try it out this Houston Market. I want to be able to come home from Market energized again. I want to be excited to tell my team what I saw.

So, if you are going to Market, whether for the first time or for the umpteenth time, and you want to share something you are excited about, or someone you met who you just adore, or some great technique or pattern or trend that you think just has to be shared with the world….I want to meet/talk to you!!! I want to go for a coffee and talk about all the great things you want to add to this ‘publishing conversation’/'sewing conversation’.

If not…..

How about you all? What do you think? Are you exhausted too? Do you want to focus on the great stuff? Do you think there is too much drama? Do you want to see a change? What do you all think?

About Susanne

I am a small business owner, a mother, a crafter and the Editorial Director at a craft book publisher. Opinions and thoughts are mine alone. If you would like to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you at susannewoods at hotmail dot com.
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17 Responses to

  1. Appreciate you sharing, great blog.Thanks Again. Cool.

  2. I have only been to one Quilt Market so far…I went this past May to see my first official sewing patterns professionally displayed in Anna’s booth! I felt like a fish out of water. I met some really great folks out there, but left feeling like an even smaller fish out of water – and dry as can be! I’d love to say – that I’ll see you in Houston, and would love to have a great conversation with you (because I don’t gossip and don’t know enough people to be negative about anyone…) but sadly I am not going again until May 2012 (i hope).

    It was inspiring to be there – even just to see all the fabric and smell it and conjure up new ways to manipulate it…but I can also see how hard it would be to put forth all the energy to go, all the while missing your family, just to hear tons of negativity. I hope this plan works for you! Either way – dial me up in May, and we’ll chat then! lol! – Kerry

  3. charlotte says:

    There is a saying: Be the change you want to see in the world. Go out there and live your change. It may take time, but it will win out. I believe in the positive over the negative every time.

  4. Good for you. I hope you meet lots of amazing, positive people, have wonderful conversations, and leave rejuvenated and inspired. xoxo

  5. Sherri says:

    What a great post…so much food for thought here! I just recently attended my first market and saw bits and pieces of what you are talking about. I love your take on it…and staying positive about everything is definitely the path to take. P. S. Can’t wait to see your studio!

  6. Sherri says:

    Really great post…so much food for thought here. I recently attended market for the first time…and had a great time…but I’ve seen bits and pieces of what you are talking about. Your idea is the best ever…to just focus on the positive. And there is so much amazing creativity out there that one can never run out of things to be positive about! P.S. Can’t wait to see your finished studio!

  7. Megan says:

    This is a very thought-provoking post. Thank you for sharing your new strategy to find and cultivate the positive. There is so much negativity and judgement coming at us from all sides these days and it is all too easy to get sucked into the drama and feel powerless against it. It’s important to remember that seeking and surrounding ourselves with people who are positive and encouraging is incredibly energizing! Thank you for the reminder.

  8. Jenean says:

    Hi Susanne- Thank you so much for this wonderful post! I will be following your lead and showing up with an extra-positive attitude! While I haven’t heard a lot of the “who likes who” types of conversations you mention, I have found myself in negative conversations with other designers at previous markets. I think it is because often when you are around people who do what you do, you use each other as sounding boards to talk about any problems you might be having. This is one of the only times of year when I find myself hanging out with a lot of other designers. And if anyone is having a problem or wants to talk about something, this is often when it happens. It can be a great time to come together and pick each other’s brains, and I find a lot of these conversations to be very helpful and productive. But sometimes they can go in the direction of lots of complaining and negativity. I understand this– so many of us are struggling so hard to be successful in this industry, and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. But complaining for the sake of complaining or to get things off our chests doesn’t lift us up. It reminds me of my days waiting tables. We would work our hearts out all night, get off work, then go have drinks–and instead of putting work behind us and focusing on the positive or our plans for the next day, we would spend the night telling horror stories about how bad the night had been, what this customer did, who didn’t tip, and so on. We focused on the 10% of customers who were awful to us instead of the 90% who were downright lovely. An important difference between that and market is that only a few of the people I worked with actually enjoyed and wanted to keep waiting tables. Most of us wanted to move on. So complaining about it seemed natural. At quilt market, we all really want to be there. And if everyone focused on how fortunate we are to actually be there at market, to be surrounded by such wonderful talent and such inspiring work, then there would be nothing to complain about. There would be no negativity. Of all the places in the world we get to go, we get to go to quilt market!! What exciting, wonderful lives we lead that allow us to gather together like this and celebrate creativity. I truly hope my life continues to go in a direction that will allow me to attend many more markets in the future. And I hope I can continue to walk away from each one inspired, feeling full of positivity and ready to create!

  9. Anita says:

    I love that your craft room is coming together! How exciting.

    I don’t think quilt market has always been this way. It’s sort of crept up into that sort of drama in the last few years. I’m hoping that the pendulum will swing back in the other direction soon and that eventually there will be less drama. The world of fabric & craft design seems to have become more “hollywood” in the last few years where fabric designers are now celebrities. Not so long ago it wasn’t always that obvious who designed what fabric. I don’t think it should matter so much. There are so many wonderful things out there, we should just enjoy them and drop the drama.

  10. This was a wonderful, thoughtful post, which is rather true. I’m glad you are willing to make the change you want to see. I hope you are wildly successful!!

  11. Heather says:

    I completely understand where you are coming from. However, it seems to be an infectious disease that strikes any creative industry at a certain point. I’ve sewn clothes for a while and the poisonous things that were said in the diaper making and boutique clothing world still make my stomach turn. There is enough room for a lot of creative people to be accepted and excited and if everyone would work together, the audience could grow and grow and then there would be room for new creative people. That whole utopia makes me smile.

    The thing that I think, and sometimes say, when faced with those comments is, “Wow, she (he) is awfully negative. I would hate to live my life filled with negatively. I want to be constantly amazed and excited about the awesome creativity everywhere in this industry.” Oh and karma will get you in the end. ;)

  12. Bari says:

    With you. It’s so easy to fall into the negative rather than focus on the positive. And it’s absolutely exhausting.

  13. Erica says:

    Wow Susanne, thank you for articulating your thinking so well. I feel the same way about the quilt making world here in Australia. Treading the fine line between offending certain people or listening to meaningless negative stories about others – well, I’m totally over it! Best of luck with your new approach. Don’t forget to let us all know how it plays out for you.

  14. Shari, Doohikey Designs says:

    I hear you and I agree! There has been some serious judgement in our community! I’m right there with you, however I might take this fall off to enjoy the holiday. Not sure yet.. But I encourage you to infect with positivity!

  15. Kris says:

    Infect away! I’m sure most of us want to see change. The whole quilt scene drama is so high school, and I didn’t like it then! Hope you have a wonderful Quilt Market!

  16. You know exactly where you can come when you do walk away!

    I’m thankful that as a new professional in the industry I’ve not experienced this drama, but I know lots of it.

  17. Amy says:

    Bravo! At least someone has the balls to admit that the sewing community is not filled with nice little grandmas anymore! I hear all too many of these negative things, and I am so glad you’ll be setting a good example to calm the cattiness of the fabric world!

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