Thursday, July 12, 2012

What I would have said in that moment


The other day I was having a conversation with a parent at a local play area and I told her what I did.

(Refinishing and restoring furniture as a little side business)

Her response was, "People like you drive me crazy. You charge ridiculous money for slapping paint on a dresser."

I just stared at her and honestly tried not to cry. 

I mumbled something about the work that goes into a piece and then thankfully Rhett was ready to go so we left. 

I've thought a lot about what I would have liked to say to her if I could live that moment over again, so this is what I'd say.

Via
Isn't this amazing?

And so true. 

What we do is not some dumb housewife activity because we have nothing better to do. 

We do it because it allows us to fill real needs, for real people. 

Our "artisitc" hobbies are in numerous ways like a job.

We make things.

We sell them.

We put energy, love, and skill into what we produce.

We promote our product and ourselves.

We meet deadlines.

We put hours of labor and worry and our very best into our creations.

And even though for most of us, our hobby/job isn't the main source of income in our home, it does contribute to our family's income.

I am proud of myself for what I do, what I've learned, what I continue to learn and what I create.

It's not always 1000% perfect and I work on achieving that with each new piece.

So please don't tell me that my time, energy and sweat is worthless.

And if you think it is then I truly feel sorry for you; that you can't find the joy in creating something from nothing. 



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53 comments:

  1. Oooh! I'm so fired up right now reading this and it didn't even happen to me! You should have asked if she's ever refinished anything - I'm sure she has since she "knows how easy it is"! The sad thing is people like that will never understand and they probably don't even appreciate real art. What's important is that there ARE people out there that DO get what The Arts are all about. Ignore her. She's not worth your time!

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  2. Preach Julia.......some just don't get it and let's not forget that a little fairy gives us paint, brushes, waxes and sandpaper all for free, if anything I'm just breaking even.
    Just remember those words spoken can give you the fuel to create something even greater.

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  3. I'm sorry for the jerk. I have a self-editing problem, so if such a thing were said to me, that lady would've been the one near tears. What's funny is that when looking at your shop, I'm amazed by how reasonable the prices are. Custom work can be very expensive, but if it's quality, it's totally worth it. I find that most people who are flippant about artisans are speaking from ignorance and really just need some schooling, although who would admit to that?

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  4. Bugger! Don't you hate it when you don't have the good comeback at the right time?! How rude?!

    Besides the issue of that person clearly not knowing how much time and energy it takes to do *anything* by hand, what gives anyone the right to be so rude to someone else for no reason?! I don't get it.

    Hope you don't let this one negative person get to you. You do great stuff!

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    1. she clearly wasn't looking for a play date buddy! ;p

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  5. The nerve! It's just like people's attitude toward stay at home moms...uh, people get paid to watch children so why not do it yourself if you want to? The term *artsy fartsy* bothers me to NO END. I have an art degree, have been an artist all my life... I live creatively, this is not fartsy...this is a way of life, not something cute for you to giggle at. But then ask me for a favor when you don't know how to make decisions about color, interiors, or decorations. This happens to me all the time as an art teacher. I always feel some English teachers shave a hoity attitude that they know more than the rest of us. Really. I am quite proficient at writing and used to do it competitively and had a perfect ACT score for reading. BRING IT. Not all artists are pot smokers. It takes higher order thinking to be a true artist. They all think they can do this, too. They would fail because they would give up.

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  6. The nerve of that woman. She spoke out of ignorance. You do such beautiful work! Don't let her words bring you down.

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  7. Dear Beloved Daughter, This is perfect! I liked it so much that I tweeted it to all my followers on Twitter (@strategicGFH). We are very proud of you in so many ways. Much love, Your Dad

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  8. Ignorance is right! She obviously has no clue what goes into refinishing a piece of furniture. I like that quote, it's perfect!

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  9. I hope it didn't bother you too much. She seems to be someone who has seen the furniture made and had hoped to buy it, but couldn't at those prices and makes herself feel better by saying it's just slapping on some paint. I really don't think she is someone talking out of experience who has refinished items herself. If she did, I don't think she would feel that way because it is a lot of hours of work and actual hard physical labor. Based on the amount of hours of work, I feel some items I see priced by artisans is low, but know that what people are willing to pay plays in.

    And even if it really were just slapping on some paint, technique comes into play that is only perfected through experience. We've all seen bad paint jobs and your expertise deserves compensation. Also whether some people believe the prices are ridiculous for what it is is not the issue. You provide a service for people who aren't willing to do the work themselves or simply love your work. It is an honest way to make a living and all that matters is that you are successful because YES some people do believe you deserve to be paid for your work! :)

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  10. If it was that easy why doesn't she do it herself, that's just rude any type or work or job is a job, and as long as you enjoy it who cares what other people think. They have no creativity or taste for good things they go and buy the cheapest stuff that they can find with no good quality that just makes then spent more money in the long run, since is going to go out faster that better quality stuff.

    So you feel proud of what you do girl.
    I love your pieces.

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  11. Unless you have personally refinished a piece of furniture, you have no idea how much blood, sweat and tears go into a piece. There is also a great sense of satisfaction in taking a ho-hum before and turning it into a beautiful after. People like that are just uninformed. You do beautiful work, Julia!

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  12. Hey, I've slapped paint on a piece of furniture before. That is NOT art. That is turning something crappy into something slightly less crappy that will work for now. What you do is WAYYYY different than what I do when I need to quickly change the color of a piece of furniture to "make it work". You make pieces that make the REST of the room revolve around IT. Kudos to you for not slapping the woman in the face the way you "slap paint" on furniture. OOOOOh, I would be so mad at her!!!

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  13. Oh my GOODNESS! I totally would have cried. I've refinished too many pieces of furniture for our house over the years and it's SO MUCH WORK! Screw her.

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  14. WOW..... who has the nerve to say such a rude thing!!! wow. someone is slightly jealous and totally lacking in creativity and artistic talent, it seems.

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  15. :0 :\ totally agree with everything you said. The time that we put in plus materials, probably brings most artists per hour rate down to very little. I feel like there are doers and there are buyers. If she doesn't want to pay the money then put in the time and do it yourself (it will probably cost just as much by the time they factor in the time they spent doing it, researching techniques, shopping for materials, scouting a piece if they don't already own what they want, etc). But there are plenty of people who don't have the time/desire/know how/talent to do it and they will pay to have it done for them. Bottom line, if people are buying then it is worth the $ to THEM. Anyone who has a problem with that is probably just jealous because they percieve it as a glamorous low work high profit job (which in most cases it isn't!).

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    1. p.s. You keep doing what you're doing! Your work is FAB! Don't let a hater get you down! :)

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  16. So well put! It's interesting how people who have never lifted a paint brush know how easy it is. You just keep on creating your beautiful artwork and let all those satisfied customers be the real critics!

    -Lynn

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  17. What a witch. I'm sorry that happened, Julia. She obviously knows nothing. Keep doing what you are doing...she's a miserable person!

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  18. AMEN sister!
    Don`t bother yourself with these people.
    Sometimes I wish I could press mute when such dumb people talking...
    Sadly the most negative statements stay on our minds, just stick to all the praise you get;)
    Go on doing what you love and your heart is dedicated to!
    Love your work and how the pieces look at the end;)
    Lovely greetings from Germany...

    http://pudel-design.blogspot.de/

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  19. Well said Julia, as a fellow furniture painter I often hear the same comment but have learned to ignore it. My work makes me, my family and all those who buy my pieces happy, so how can that ever be wrong or not worth sharing.

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  20. Oh the audacity of some people!!!!! My blood is boiling for you! How dare she talk to my sweet Julia that way. And I can attest having tried to restore and paint a couple of pieces that it is a lot of work and it's definitely not just "slapping paint" on furniture. Not only does it take knowledge and skill but vision as well. After finishing up two dressers, I've realized that I don't have the knack or patience for restoring furniture. I would gladly pay you for your time and efforts to have such beautiful pieces in my home. just shrug it off julia. you're wonderful and wonderfully talented. loves!

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  21. WOW! I cannot believe someone had to nerve to say that! It amazes me because most hand painted pieces are still cheaper than all the fancy stores whose furniture all looks the same! You create one of a kind beautiful works of art!

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  22. The people that buy painted pieces are the ones that want something unique, salvaged, fresh, and made new again...I wouldn't give it a second thought!

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  23. Preach it! :) I get similar comments when people find out that I have a Masters in Creative Writing...They think being a writer/artist is not a real job.

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  24. I LOVE this post! When I was in middle school, my dream was to be a painter. I told my mother's friend that I wanted to be an artist, she replied "Oh! You want to be a graphic artist?!" No, I want to be a painter..she replied, "Oh, so you want to be a poor artist." Crushed my dream right there. People can be cruel.

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  25. Well then I would guess that she prefers to paint her own furniture then. She must also fix her own car, cut her own hair, and put braces on her kids teeth herself.

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  26. I seriously can not believe that someone said that to you!

    I was at a show yesterday. I had a grown daughter and mother come into my space. The daughter admired my work and her mother said, (with me standing right there) "if you want something like that I can paint it for you."

    The daughter asked doubtfully "and make it look like that?"

    Mother, "Yes!" (with an 'anyone could do that' tone.)

    I then took the time to tell the daughter about the specialty products that I use and how the techniques that I use create a depth and patina you can't get by just painting something and sanding some of it off. I had her feel the piece she was looking at and explained how my finishing process protects the raw wood, and makes the piece feel smooth and makes the finish durable.

    I we moved away from the piece and continued talking I notice the mother coming over, looking a bit sheepish, feeling the piece and looking closer at the finish.

    Ignorance can really bring out the worst in people, can't it.

    Luckily, you have all of us telling you how talented you are and now you have something prepared to say the next time someone is so blatantly rude. I'm willing to bet she has tried to paint something, had it turn out horrible, and is envious that you are so good at it that you can make money doing it.

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  27. Why do people say things without thinking?!? What a thoughtless person. I wish she could see all the amazing pieces that you've transformed. Don't beat yourself up about not saying the 'right' thing I think I would have been dumbfounded too. I love that picture you shared and know that you are an amazing talented artist, woman and mother. I really look up to you and all you have accomplished. You do so much more than slap paint on furniture...

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  28. You ARE an ARTIST! You do awesome work and are definitely worth your pay. :) Now breathe in and let her ignorant comment slide right off ya. Unfortunately for the artists, being misunderstood kinda goes with the territory. Good thing she doesn't get to tell you what you're worth (And don't you let her!!!)
    Amanda @ www.the-cadence.com

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  29. First up - I agree with what's been said above, so I wont repeat...

    I'd just add this - every time I come to your blog I am amazed at the gorgeous pieces you have transformed. A slap of paint doesn't do that. You do, with all your skill, experience, attention and effort. I can see on the sidebar there that more than 600 people agree with me.

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  30. Thank you for saying it so simply and straight forward. I hope everyone was listening.

    hugs!

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  31. "People like you?" "Slapping paint on a dresser?" Unbelievable!!! What kind of person says these things out loud??? Someone who has never tried to transform a piece of furniture might think it's easy. But those of us who have actually done it, know that it's NOT. :) So glad I found your blog today!

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  32. I am furious at reading this!!!! That woman must have had some kind of blurting, mean, angry-spirited disorder or something. Let's pretend for a moment what she said was true (which we all know it isn't)... it is not OK to talk to people that way!!!!

    Anyways, I HATE painting furniture because of the time, care and love that needs to go into it. All those nooks and crannies drive me nuts so I try to stick to walls. Also, I've been looking for a dresser to refinish for some time now and haven't found anything. The hunt alone is worth hundreds for all the time and effort that goes into it. Thanks for sharing your story; I'm so sorry your feelings were hurt by this mean, crazy lady. Crazy lady, if you're reading this comment: I DARE you to try to do what Julia does. Just once. Then apologize to her.

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  33. hell, yeah, my artsy friend!! you KNOW i'm in your corner on this one... with my poofy pom-poms!! HOO-rah!!

    as for that chick, poor thing! can you imagine having that much anger in your heart? :(

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  34. pffft!!! what a idiot. Some people just have the need to knock others down.
    Don't let people like that bother you. Usually they are just too cheap to pay money for quality items.
    You are an artist ansd do beautiful work. I drool over your posts. You inspired me to try to try some of this on my own. Please keep on inspiring us.

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  35. I thought people learned how to not say stuff like that out loud in normal-human-interaction school. I would have been like, "I'll slap my hand on your face for free," but that's not exactly the high road.

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    1. That is the most hilarious comment, I love it. :)

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  36. You provide a skilled service for many people who would not, nor could not, begin to take an ugly, cast off piece and make it beautiful and unique. She either is incapable of appreciating what you do or she is jealous and angry, which is her problem. You've gotten so many positive comments, you have to let this ignorant one slide off your back. Artists are not appreciated in our culture and price rules all. I would rather buy something unique and of quality then something cheap that someone else has decided I should like. I search for one of a kind items to decorate my home and because I am handy, I can modify them. There are many, many people who can't do what you do and enough who appreciate what you create.
    Like your sign/poster.

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  37. BAH! this woman was speaking out of jealousy because she is not able to improve herself and her family the way you do. obviously she has never created something because anyone who does knows it isn't "just slapping paint."
    i don't remake furniture, but because I work my tail off to write effectively i can appreciate that the creative process is a challenge for any artist.

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  38. Ohhh, I just had to comment. It is very obvious she has NEVER refinished a piece before. We have had clients tell us they believed the same thing, so they attempted the project themselves. Well.... You know the outcome. They then get so overwhelmed and frustrated, they end up calling us after all. Amen to your wonderful post. We do put sooo much time, energy, creativity, sweat, and sometimes tears into our work. Ok, the tears may just be me. I am such a perfectionist and sometimes I don't know when to stop! Lol. Thanks for the words.

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  39. Wow, who says things like that? Can you imagine how she treats her own family if she talks to a stranger that way? I am a SAHM who homeschools, blogs, creates and I love it. Same folks who think work has to equal money, she apparently has very boring furniture and is angry about it. Keep creating !!!! Hugs- Tanya :)

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  40. I'm sure I would have been speechless, fighting back tears. But you know, there really isn't anything you could have possibly said to someone like that. This woman clearly has issues that have nothing to do with you. ... Keep up the good work girl, you are absolutely awesome!

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  41. I don't have the gift of the perfect comeback either, but I think that is just because I expect people to behave better than they sometimes do if that makes sense. It knocks the breath out of me when they attack like that.

    I'm so sorry that happened to you. Sending a cyber hug your way. You are a fabulous person and a talented artist (and blogger). I just love reading your blog because of the amazing pieces that you create AND the warmth and humor that exudes from your words. Unfortunately there are people out there who haven't been taught how to "play nicely with others" (or they refuse to be teachable). I hope you are able to recover from her mean-spiritedness quickly. And I hope she buys all her future furniture at Walmart... she does not deserve to possess any of your masterpieces.

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  42. Ugg! This is probably the same lady who would go to T.J Maxx and spend $200 on a dresser that will break in 6 months rather than spend $285 on one from me. My dresser will last a lifetime. It already has!
    I am so sorry she made you feel this way. Your work is fantastic and I look forward to all of your new pieces. Chin up!

    Laura

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  43. Why in the world would she say that? I don't think that any artist EVER just SLAPS paint on anything. What nerve!

    We spend HOURS on our work...not to mention the emotional investment that goes into it as well.

    Art in any form is rarely appreciated for the time and energy that goes into it.

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  44. My thoughts... "Ho Bag Alert!" ;) Your work is amazing.

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  45. I can't believe some people - I've had customers ( not quite as bad ) but basically act as though they're doing me a favour for taking something off my hands - " look, I'll give you this much " wth - no actually you will give me what I'm asking for which is so below the true value it's ridiculous.
    Thank God ( no really ) that we all have each other for support -
    You do absolutely beautiful work - and are a complete inspiration -
    If I may I'd like to post your post ( fully crediting you of course )
    What you're saying is IMPORTANT for people to read.
    Big Gigantic Hugs!!!
    ( plus we're all so fragile - I guess that's the artist mind right? 1000 compliments and the one insult never leaves, lol )
    Suzan

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  46. Do not worry about that ignorant remark, she clearly does not know what it means to refinish/repaint a piece of furniture. It is not easy to do what we do, we try to match our own creativity with what customers want - be happy we can blog and share what we love to do!

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I really appreciate all of your thoughts and comments! They bring a smile to my face!