Looking for Legitimacy

About 8 months ago someone from Fiber Arts Magazine contacted me and asked me if I would put an ad on my site for their start-up on-line magazine.  I was excited about being approached by a what looked like to me a really good publication about fiber art.  We made a deal, I put up the add and would be paid a small monthly fee and get a free subscription to the magazine.  I wasn’t making a lot of money, but what I liked about it was that it made me feel like part an art  community that I have never been able to enter.  Because, as much as I shy away from what I perceive as the  art world, a part of me would love to be accepted by it.

Well, the fiber magazine ad didn’t work out.  They forgot to compensate me and when I inquired about it, they said they were too busy to keep track individual ads.  I immediately took this as a huge rejection, of my work, my website and of me personally.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that what was really going on, was that I was looking to a stranger,  who had reneged on a contract with me, for legitimacy  and community.

It would be wonderful to have my work in museums or written up in  an arts magazines, but legitimacy,  that has to come from me not from someone else.  And as for community,  I have that too.  Everyone who reads my blog  or buys my work is a part of my community.  And my community is also filled with other artists, like Nancy Bariluk-Smith,  Kim Gifford, Donna Wynbrandt,  Jane McMillen and of course Jon (just to name a few).  I’m surrounded by artists and people who love and appreciate art.

So what am I looking for?  I’m looking for what is right in front of me.  I’m looking for what I already have.  And if I can’t find legitimacy inside of myself, then I should be doing something else.

18 thoughts on “Looking for Legitimacy

  1. Well said, Maria. It sounds like someone took advnatage of the fact that you have a wonderulf blog with a great following and they wanted to get some of that action. I have the feeling that you have learned from this and will move on. As always, thanks for sharing your gift with all of us. You have encouraged me to step outside my boundaries and I plan to try a t-shirt quilt when I return from my summer vacation.

  2. You do beautiful work!! You inspire me to get back into creating fiber works, I may finally get back to it this winter… after the sewing room gets moved upstairs. “Soar with the eagles, never let the turkeys get you down.” I heard this years ago, still love it!!!

  3. OK – your blogs – even tho they are few and far between (slight dig cause I WANT MORE!!) are becoming the BEST things that I read!!! This one made me cry – to share your journey – that so many of us are on, in very different ways – BUT STILL – the journey of life – thank you for sharing – I could not be so open with anybody – but in your openness – you help so many………. thank you…………

    “So what am I looking for? I’m looking for what is right in front of me. I’m looking for what I already have. And if I can’t find legitimacy inside of myself, then I should be doing something else.”

    I think I may need to do that in needlepoint! 😉

  4. I feel so honored to be part of your community. And the piece posted with this blog…. a pillow? I want it!

  5. Dear Maria,
    I know what you mean. I have to pinch myself everytime I get an order or make a sale, though it has little to do with money and everything to do with someone recognizing my work as something worthy to put in their home. I wrote “The Rest of the Story” yesterday, two blogs about the story behind your pillow. You have captured a special story and it is like a published book sitting on my Vacation Chair and it openly tells the story that my chair is not just an ordinary chair. Your work is amazing! I have tried “free motion quilting” and I can’t believe how difficult it is…it becomes “canned” immediately, and never mind the fact that I have to concentrate on the tension so I don’t have big stretched stitches or knotted up ones from being held back…and your designs are so fun!! And are your ears burning? The recent customer that came to me through you wrote to me about how amazing you are! Your recognition as an artist is happening, but like you the day to day life in the middle of it all sometimes seems to diminish our lighted path…I am finding how much work it takes to keep up with it all! I cannot believe your big picture…fixing up your new place and getting ready to move! Lots of prep work there for your future. We are excited about your new place and new plans and look forward to visiting you and sharing in your journey! love, jane

  6. So very well said Maria , you have more going on for yourself than a stranger can offer you. With creativity , passion & love for what you do , you do it oh so we’ll ! Keep it up & smile !

  7. I just took a social media workshop. What this company did to you is typical….they are great on promises…..not so great on the come thru.

    I am a quilter….have been for most of my life. You need NO stupid ad for legitimacy…….you ARE an artist. And a damn fine one. The one thing I learned from working at an art museum years ago……sometimes not so talented people are making the decisions as to what is new and hot in the art world and what they will spoon feed the public as a got to have got to be a part of art.

    Keep up the beautiful work…..you inspire the rest of us.

    Victoria, Bellingham, WA

  8. Wow, Maria, how insightful. And I love being part of your community. Part of your artist community. Keep letting the artist within you fly, ans dance to the music of your soul.

  9. And Maria, Fiberarts Magazine is no more. They stopped publishing it several months ago. Try Cloth Paper Scissors. I take it and while it has all mediums in the magazine, I often find myself interested in reading about and stimulated by other people’s mediums. I think as artists, as designers we are often looking for approval and feedback from our viewing audience but as you’ve said, our audience, first of all, is within ourselves and secondly, if we reach a wide audience with professional success, that’s great. But that kind of success can be fleeting. I think you have a good venue here with your blog and the friends you are making through this means.
    Sandy Proudfoot

  10. Yes, bravo! It is hard not to take rejection personally and your line about “I’m looking for what I already have. And if I can’t find legitimacy inside of myself, then I should be doing something else.” reminded me of Dorothy Gayle from Kansas, “…and it’s that if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”

  11. great post — love this: “So what am I looking for? I’m looking for what is right in front of me. I’m looking for what I already have. And if I can’t find legitimacy inside of myself, then I should be doing something else.” — dealing with my own version of that today at work and you hit it right on the money — thanks for sharing your wisdom with us — i think you and your art are fabulous! 🙂

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