Tuesday, May 28, 2013

To Light A Candle

One of my personality quirks, if you will, is that when I see a problem I try to figure out how to fix it.  It is probably part of why I am the weaver I am today.  Because we all know weaving is filled with problems!  It is one of the reasons that the creation of cloth captivated me and continues to hold my interest today.

But I also apply this quirk to the world at large.  When I see a problem (sometimes it has to be pointed out to me, I admit) I will mull things over and see what I, personally, can do to rectify at least part of the problem.  Sometimes people appreciate my efforts.  Others - well, they continue to see the injustice and carry on railing at the dark.  Which is their right.  Sometimes that is the only way 'world' problems get solved after all.

Sometimes people take offense at my solution to a problem, for whatever reason.  When they do they can be quite vituperative.  I have had two emails that were so amazingly venomous I could barely read through them and dumped those toxic vials of venom out of my inbox as quickly as I could hit the delete key.  In both of those cases, I had asked for remuneration for my efforts and each person took umbrage at my selfish greedy request.

Which brings me back to my post about needing teachers.

In the weaving world, especially when I entered it in the mid-70's, there was a prevailing attitude of 'let's all be jolly here together and share everything we know.'  People took great offense when I starting asking to be paid to teach.  However, I knew that some people were being paid - why shouldn't I?  Was my time, knowledge, expertise not worth something?  I had, after all, paid good money to learn what I knew - tuition for classes, books, conferences (registration and travel).

My stated goal for myself was to be a professional weaver.  Part of being 'professional' is that you do get paid for your time and knowledge.

On the other hand, some people had very kindly helped me without request for payment and I also felt that I needed to 'pay it forward' at some level.  And so I started my website in the late 1990's when the internet was still primarily educational.  I joined chat groups and attempted to answer agonized cries for help.

It is a balancing act - how much do I give away before I start asking for payment?  How much ought people expect for nothing before they should start paying?

Questions for which I have no answers.  I can only go based on what I feel comfortable about doing.

And whenever and where ever I can, light a candle rather than curse the dark.


Rhonda from Baddeck said...

Sorry you had to deal with the nasty emails. Learning from a teacher with specialized knowledge can shorten the learning curve tremendously and is well worth paying for. Too many people don't acknowledge that an artist's time and knowledge have a monetary value, too.

Laura Fry said...

Well they were a few years ago and the sting has gone out of them. But words once said cannot be unsaid, and words once read cannot be unread. But when teachers get a bit prickly about being taken for granted, it is generally because they have had similar experiences.

Fortunately there are a lot more pleasant people than unpleasant ones. :)


terri said...

I, too, am sorry that people can be so nasty to you. I am thankful for all that you do. Personally, I've learned a lot from your blog, youtube videos, and your CD. Someday, I'd love to be able to take a class from you in person.

Laura Fry said...

Oh I'm hardly the only one. It's an occupational hazard and eventually one grows a pretty thick skin. :-/


Margaret Tayti said...

Then there are those who forget - to light a candle, someone has to acquire the wick and wax...

If you don't ask for payment when appropriate, how much can you really afford to 'share freely'?

...still learning this lesson myself, and very glad of the input you provide - freely offered, or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Laura, I am very thankful for all the knowledge you have taught me via the internet, your blog, videos, etc. You are a valuable asset to the weaving community, thank you for all you do.

I would be happy to pass the lighter so you may light your candle ;-)