Letter to Dressmakers…or…Cogitating on Popcorn Thoughts…whatever

Dear Dressmakers:

I have been thinking…or rather percolating which is an ongoing activity that I do not have to be consciously aware of. 

Sparking events:

*A family member asked again if people use the info on this blog and if I get paid for it. 

Yes.  No.  My choice.

*Last night, Susan pointed out to me that Rebecca W’s ID dressmaking website and blog had disappeared.  My email to her bounced right back.  Called out to her on the dressmaker’s board…and she emailed me.  Her email got me thinking and the percolations began to rise…do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do {twilight zone}…

*I have noticed recently how many times folks have tried to start positive thought trends on the ID message boards.  They are lauded for their efforts and folks chime in and add wonderful things to the discussion.  There were a few postings about our new tunic dresses, which I found gratifying, and some interesting comments.  But, so much of the boards are taken up by screaming, mind-numbing, destructive negativity…why?  Are more endorphins produced by causing trouble rather than inspiring laughter? 

*Today on the knitting site Ravelry (I am SOOO enamored of this incredibly creative site!), someone brought up the issue of others using her photos without permission.  She said all anyone had to do was ASK!!!  I was very flattered when I was asked by a designer to use one of my pics to illustrate a pattern…in my hermit universe, I felt like a rock star!!!  The discussion was wonderfully constructive and educational…someone wrote about the benign internet mentality that what we can so easily find in the ether must be free!!!!  Most folks really do not seem to mind while understanding that some others are really bothered by it.  And technically, the law is on the side of first documentation. 

*And prior to this,  Susan and I had a conversation about the “sharing” of ideas that happens in ID dressmaking.  Folks in the ID world “share” differently than the rest of the children on the block.  Knitters do not “share” ideas the ID way because everyone calls them on it!  Every message board calls out the offender as the idiot they are!  The offended designer will visit you in your dreams!!!  Consequently, very, very few share without asking, attributing and/or pointing out VERY specifically how they changed things.  It creates a very open culture of folks that share in the true sense of the word.

And then there is my other world…dance.  If you borrow from another choreographer and yet present it as your own, you are very quickly nothing more than mud.  Everyone knows… a critic will take you to task in print.  In dance, as in so many other art fields, a true artist talks openly and with pride about who and what influenced them.  Training and working and studying with different artists are encouraged.  There is dignity in discussing the lineage of your artistry, if that makes sense. 

Plagiarism in all fields, artistic or not, ruins your DNA for generations to come.  In the performing arts, literature & art worlds, artists publicly acknowledge their influences as badges of honor! 

But ID is different.  We are not allowed to videotape competitions for fear steps will be stolen (how many different ways can you do a batter/treble?!).  Dancers can only train at their ONE sanctioned school (although I do find the rise of ID summer camps to be wonderful).  Transferring schools is cause for much teeth gnashing, many bad feelings, and nasty bad mouthing!  The case for the over-use of the trinity knot is before the Supreme Court…knot not.

All of that, and public and private dressmaker angst (I use that word for its power, not as parody) brings me here: even ID dressmaking is very weird…still.  I do think that it is much more open now than it used to be because of the great influx of newbies over the past year or so.  Yeehaw, Newbies!!!!  When I finally discovered the boards (a year or so after I started) getting real help was difficult as the secrecy thing was still in full force.  There were a couple of websites to go to for info…I still see them in my head as I studied them with awe and absolutely zero comprehension. 

My first foray onto a board went something like this:

“Are there patterns for Irish dance dresses?”

“Yes”

…after a length of time… “Where can I find them?”

 “IT.”

…after another length of time…”What is ‘IT’?”

…doo-do-doo, twiddling thumbs…”Irish Threads.”

“Great!  Where can I buy it?”

…time…”Search on Google.” 

My frustration knew no bounds.

I will say that the first ID dressmaking person I ever talked to was Pat at Irish Threads.  She was extremely knowledgeable about all things ID, and very helpful & patient, especially considering I really knew nothing.  She was the first to warn me that getting info and help from others would prove difficult…to put it mildly.  She was also encouraging and I appreciated that.  So I plugged along in my frustration until I met Susan…and she blew my mind.  That experience here.

Even now, still, the old guard seem to continue to be very quiet folks.  Perhaps they pay us no heed at all, but I do think they are there, listening and even contributing to the boards and groups, anonymously for the most part, though I imagine the old culture of secrecy, of “guard your trademark secrets for they are your identity” is still at work.  And yet, as Susan pointed out to me, everyone used to use mainly the designs from Seven Gates!!!  The designs had the same source but no one would talk about it!!!

My blog was the first ID dressmaking blog, and I only started it in March 2006 {what a hoot this is now…notice my tiny font…did not want to seem presumptuous}.  I searched and searched and I was really surprised at the time that there were no ID dressmaking blogs (update: turns out there was one t I did not find!).  I started mine because I was encouraged by reading knitting blogs, and I was so tired of feeling alone in the ID virtual reality.  But, I did it with much trepidation because I was afraid I would be perceived as an interloper, a fraud too big for her britches even though I really only started it as a way to share things with my family who live way off in California and Louisiana!! 

So…what is my freaking point?  I dunno…do I have to have one?  [[[whine, whinge, snarf, snurf…]]]

I feel like there is an elephant in the room…only I can’t see it to point it out.  It is part of what drove my whinging about no one talking to me a while back…it is part of the mild surprise that we at Feisdress felt when we actually heard very little from our fellow dressmakers about our tunic dresses because we value those discussions, those insights.  We do thank those of you who responded with such enthusiasm!  Kisses!  We also want to hear from those of you who did not feel enthusiasm…there is nothing better than a good, thorough, Irish dissection and debate!  My favorite “criticism” of the tunics from the boards was that they resembled Renaissance armour, and then pics were provided.  It was specific, and I understood.  My laughter was appreciative as well as highly amused.

ID is a very strange and irrational world.  I really do not understand because my Irish heritage is filled with people who looked/look you in the eye and told/tell you when you were/are full of shit!  Quite frankly, if it weren’t for Susan I would not be doing this.  I truly appreciate her blunt, take-no-prisoners attitude as my tendency is to take most things to heart.  Even though I can be perceived as a hard ass, once you get past what is a facade wrought by stellar teenage shyness coupled with the rigid ballerina posture, I am basically a marshmallow (as my sister Katie puts it).  I do think Susan and I make a good great team, and that is why I continue.  My former dance life was about collaboration… this dressmaking life is also a collaboration.

That’s it…collaboration.  We dressmakers are in collaboration.  We share and borrow, spy and steal, evaluate and re-format.  The Celtic Flame dressmaker’s message board has become quite a wonderful thing…except when we feel there is a sacred cow/elephant in the room.  We have become pretty wonderful about sharing in the true sense of the word…except when we don’t.  We are so giving…except when we aren’t.  We are supportive and funny and forthright…except when we are silent.  And we do all of this in packs.

Am I making sense?

I, for one, vow to start thanking any dressmaker that shows me something new.  I vow to look at all pics. I vow to answer all specific questions if I have something even remotely valuable to add. I vow to give feedback if asked.  I vow to help/support/validate/educate any dressmaker in conflict with a TC or client.  I vow to get over myself and be the collaborator I know I can be.

That is what this blog has evolved into.

The ID world, the TCs and parents, can be hard on dressmakers.  (So far my experience has been nothing but good, great and amazing…I KNOW I am lucky.)  Human psychology is a bitch to begin with, but the psychology of an art form that finds its validation in competition is so freaking complicated!!!!  So much of their anxiety gets taken out on us…we are ONLY people who ONLY work with our hands and EVERYONE knows that takes no brain power, for goodness sake!  (I am stopping there as THAT crap is a sure-fire way to get my juices flowing in a non-constructive way…)

We as dressmakers have a rarefied, immensely stratified and separated support system.  When we are dismissive and uncommunicative, we hurt each other.  When we are good, we help people fly.  I was so struck by the support Rebecca W received in the IDD group…it was not only wonderful, it was ‘us’ at our best.

I vow to try to support everyone who asks for it.

Sincerely,

me

22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Colleen M
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 16:41:23

    You are truly amazing. I don’t know how time and again you manage to put into words what so many of us are thinking. I know that many of the sentiments you have expressed here have been in and out of my head multiple times in the last year. Why the silence??? I can only illustrate …..I started an irish dance blog almost 3 years ago. I did it to have a place to express all of the thoughts that I had, that I felt could never be said out loud. It chronicled so many parts of this activity along with my dressmaking process. I was so scared of anyone ever finding or reading those words. I did not even tell my husband the computer geek about it. It worked for me. I still have it and sometimes go back and read it. I probably still can’t explain my need for being so private….but that part still remains.

    When I finally felt like I could speak publicly about any of my sewing/irish experiences I posted on celtic flame. It was great when the new dressmaking group started, much easier to ask for and give help. You have been a blessing to me….and I’m not even religious!! hpyswr

  2. taoknitter
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 16:44:39

    Well then YOU are the first ID dressmaking blogger, not me!!! Is it still private? It is so ok if it is…but if you want to share, I would love to read it!

  3. K8
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 17:22:38

    “Plagiarism in all fields, artistic or not, ruins your DNA for generations to come.” And gets you kicked out of school, and leaves your aura all sticky. Come on, people, this is basic good form, academic, artistic, or conversational – if you quote, you cite your source precisely; if you paraphrase, you still cite your source, but don’t have to be quite as precise about it.

    Every time you post about this stuff, it makes me want to go into the ID world and start banging heads around. ID is supposedly art – don’t these people get it that art only flourishes when people can meet and discuss and trade ideas? That secrecy and stratification lead to death, not life… and to people, no matter how proud of their Irish heritage, being turned off, and thus depriving the community of membership. *coff* Using the knitting world as an example of how the ID world could and should work is absolutely on target: in the knitting world, everyone thinks it’s great if you tweak a pattern, and we all want to know the details of what you did, so we can emulate (or avoid) it. All this encourages the juices of creativity to flow, so that they’re reaching flood-like proportions (depending where you look); bloggers get asked to head major magazines (as Eunny Jang and Interweave Knits), and get published, sometimes under their blog pseudonyms (Grumperina and Brooklynn Tweed) – and fer cryin’ out loud, there are now high schoolers getting designs published (as in the latest Knitty)! and not simplistic ones, either. At the same time as all this wonderful creativity is going, there is the necessary counterweight – accountability. As you said, because everything is so open, and everyone wants to share what they’ve done, there is no way that someone can plagiarize without getting seriously called to account for it. ID needs to gain this openness; it can only benefit on all levels.

    Incidentally, is it just me, or does that profusion of curls the girls all wear look completely ridiculous?

  4. taoknitter
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 17:25:11

    I love you, Katie!

  5. Carrie
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 17:25:30

    Ann, you never hear my name, but I read and appreciate every word you’ve written, both here and on the boards. I’m sure there are lots of lurkers like me out there that do appreciate you. I contribute (always kindly) to the boards quite a bit, but without using my name. By the way, your tunic dresses were beautiful.

  6. Diane K
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 17:29:58

    I am so much in awe of you and your accomplishments. You not only sew like a dream, you write in a way that speaks to the heart of the readers. I think you make a good point about giving feedback to cyberfriends. And if I ever get started on my dd’s dress – I vow to share what I learn along the way, although I think you’ve got most of it covered! I’d be even more terrified to try if it weren’t for you & Susan, your blog, and the IDD group. Thanks for sharing in such wonderful detail!

  7. Cindy
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 17:38:30

    Years ago I overheard a theatre guy say: “Her work is fun, which sells tickets, so that’s good. Of course, it is totally derivative. So we will continue to give a venue, but not a headline.”

    It got me thinking about what really constituted “original work.” And I came to a different decision than the theatre guy. If no one else is doing the rehash of an greek comedy the way you do it, then you are as original as when Shakespeare did his rehash. Probably not as good as Shakespeare, but that isn’t the issue.

    I’m not sure what the knitting blogs are all about, never having visited one, but having knitted for close to 5 decades, I can recognize pattern themes or devices at ten paces. I continually put them together in new and different ways. My favorite pattern books belonged to my grandmother (c. 1900 or older if they were patterns from her mother, etc). I have yet to find a new pattern book that doesn’t just rework those old patterns into new garments, etc. And commercial and designer work fits into the same catergories. Who copied whom? Did Ralph Lauren copy my design – from the sweater I made for a relative the winter before – or did we both copy from someone who came before? The pattern and style of sweater had been in public domain sampler books for over 100 years before either of our sweaters were made.

    As for ID: When I first suggested modifying an old cheerleader pattern I had for an ID dress, my DD’s teacher looked at me as if I had just served a family pet for Sunday dinner. “No! No!” She shrieked. “You have to use this pattern, from this company. You can’t copy anyone else’s designs. You shouldn’t even make them similar!”

    Not make them similar? Sounds simple, until you realize, that just like knitting, there are only so many ways to build a border, layout a visually appealing dress, or sew a satin stitch. The components are endlessly variable, but the basic design was more static. If there weren’t observed boundaries, it wouldn’t be identifiable as ID!

    For one designer to claim animal print fabric, or feathers, or a skirt innovation as their intellectual property, because they were the first to use it in an ID dress is absurd. Cleopatra was wearing those design elements 2 millenia ago. They are simply rehashes. While reproducing an exact design or pattern is infringement, making a “Gavin-like” dress should not be. What defines a Gavin-like dress, defines lots of other dresses.

    As for the steps: Stealing someone’s dance and passing it off as one’s own – infringement. But if I, who have never done more than a hop 1-2-3 and a point and a seven (learned from a very intense 5 year old) can identify cool combinations in championship treble reels, and rattle off the step elements to other dancers, then I assume teachers and advanced dancers are more than capable of picking them up without video as well. So does taking a slide from one traditional dance, pairing it up with a rock sequence from another, and managing a midair course correction to avoid a collision make a dancer the owner of the “step”? Or does it belong to the 200 dancers who have done it before – or after? Or does it belong to the teacher who is currently teaching you other dances?

    IMHO, all art is derivative. If you see one great design and play with it to produce a variation, it is fair to cite your inspiration. But if you see something here, and something there, combine it with a piece of old fabric at a thrift shop, and draw upon a lifetime of experience – then it’s your design. And that should be true whether you have a known name, or just a good eye.

  8. Caroline
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 18:07:20

    Hi Ann, Just wanted to show you this:

    http://www.burgdesign.nl/

    It is the dressmaker that has now taken up her own business after me giving a little “push”. I thought you might like to see that 🙂 We might pair up for more work in the future as I cannot make all the 30+ costumes I need to make for the school. Would be nice to become a team like you and Susan 😀

  9. Adrienne
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 19:47:17

    Collaboration is such a great word. I don’t think I would be involved in ID if I didn’t have great folks to collaborate with. I am so grateful for them and for you and Susan and everyone on the boards who are willing to contribute and share their ideas. It seems that ID has been built on “what came before”, one-upping your neighbor down the road. We have a lot more neighbors now, but seem have forgotten how we got here in the first place.

    I still love the tunic dresses and will wait to hear with baited breath if there is any possible way to do them for a school costume. I for one would be very interested and would be quite happy to discuss it with one of you.

    On top of all that, your kinesiology posts are a wonderful resource for me and my school’s ID parents. Thank you so much for putting together such simple and intelligent information. I still study other forms of dance while teaching Irish and encourage all my students to study at least one other form as well.

    Thanks for being here.
    Adrienne

  10. Mary H.
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 20:16:34

    Every word that you type is so true, I have never read my e-mails so much. I read them 3 to 4 times a day now to see what everyone is sharing, or what little I may help. Mostly its me who’s crying. you are so right about all the hush, hush, of sharing or helping, especally here in the North of Ireland. The day my first dress was danced in 2 other dress makers nearly pulled the child apart to see how I made the dress. I would have had no quams about telling them. But they did it when she was lining up to dance. Ann yourself and Susan are the most wonderful people I have ever come to know, even tho its through all my silly questions.

    P.S. I hate those wigs too. Theres nothing like beautiful long straight hair flowing when a child dances.

  11. Suz
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 21:12:36

    IMHO the cycle of silence/supportive/silent/supportive seems to be based on two events. The first seems to be a surge of goodwill and nurturing until one kind of catty comment appears. Regardless if it was even remotely directed at me, a technique I endorse, or a style I have been admiring I know I don’t want to be sucked into the negative vortex and I back off and lurk. When ‘the water warms up again’ then I feel safe to offer comments.
    The second is the ‘post-major’ collapse. I personnally go from the O craze right into three December birthdays follwed quickly by Christmas. I’m just barely there mentally and ‘forget’ that a very few kind words can do so much for someone who may be out on the same ledge!
    This is my 31st year of ID dressmaking…OMG I feel old saying that! When I started my, ‘feeling’ was that the “REAL IRISH” thought me very cheeky to think this mere American teenager would dare to think she could make something as intricate as a dance dress! The secret society was in full force especially when I actually pulled off a couple of hand-embroidered solos. Then there was this brief golden-age of sharing and collaborating followed by the evolution from “fun family activity” to ‘COMPETITION’. Suddenly there was a tolerance…almost sport…in slamming DM’s who resided anywhere outside of the British Isles. Regretfully, my tender artistic side took it too much to heart and I ‘shut up and shut down’.
    The support of Diane, Kathi, and all you cyber-friends saved my sanity! Thanks to all of you I caved and answered the phone for a frantic mom just two weeks before the O who had been left high and dry by one of you-know-who! Hormones?..the moon? I can’t say what exactly pulled at my right-brain but I took the order! The Mom was grateful, appreciative and so reasonable to work with…the daughter a doll…and the TC left us alone! It flew together, they loved it, she qualified for worlds, and my scabs are now just scars……
    You’ll be hearing more from me! Might even regret inviting me in to read 🙂
    PS Loved the tunic.

  12. Rebecca W
    Dec 13, 2007 @ 23:54:05

    Ann – You are right. The support I’ve received from you and everyone else in the ID Dressmaker’s board has been remarkable! I’m so lucky to have found you, and everyone else. It seems that through feisdress and the ID Dressmaker’s group Susan started, we have found a group of woman that not only share tips and tricks, but we are there to pick each other up when things get rough. It’s not easy to reach out and announce when things are getting tough, but I’m so happy I did. I most certainly could not have gotten this far without any of you. Thank you!!

    rebecca w

  13. Gina
    Dec 14, 2007 @ 07:19:30

    The easiest way to create silence and Pablum is to post a picture of your new creation on a board and ask “tell me what you think”. Regardless of the true nature of the beast, inevitably it’s “Great” “lovely” etc etc etc.

    Reminds me of the story about Einstein showing a picture around a dinner party of his “nephew” … everyone commenting how smart or cute or _____ the child looked. As Einstein left the party he informed them he would have little interaction with them in the future. The child in the picture was not related to him at all but rather the Mongoloid child of a patient. He said that above all we should be honest. If we feel we can’t be honest so that we spare someones feelings, then we should be silent. Didn’t Thumpers mother say “if you can’t say nuthin nice, don’t say nuthin at all”?

    The other side of this coin is – are we REALLY helping the blossoming seamstress by sugar coating the truth? They go blithly away thinking everyone loves their work – yet we are wondering at “Didnt she realise the design has a hidden mouse?” “That dress is way too large in the neckline”, “the colors just do not work for that dancer” etc etc etc.

    Should we be honest? IMHO Yes. but dare I say a word? No because I use my name on the boards and would never hear the end of it.

  14. Kristine
    Dec 14, 2007 @ 09:51:11

    Thank goodness for blogs and groups:) I’d be clueless and lost. Ann, it goes w/out saying how much I appreciate your very WORD. Clearly, you are much admired and appreciated here in Boston from this shy poster:) Kristine

  15. Rose
    Dec 14, 2007 @ 10:22:14

    I can’t begin to express how the unity in this unique group has helped me continue to plug away at this labor of love. Somehow, the support of friends, cyber or otherwise, can put your troubles back into the proper perspective.
    I love making dresses- have been doing it for years now, but I’ve temporarily “quit” several times- sometimes for valid reasons: family member’s illnesses and deaths, extremely demanding family matters- non ID related, and sometimes just the feeling of inadequacy (read that- I’m not good enough…I can’t keep up with the style changes…Was that critical mom right when she said two appliques didn’t match up perfectly from left to right? I measured! And the worst- years back, when a mom said she was told new dresses could only be purchased from a specific BN, not me.)
    Somehow, the support of this group has helped me overcome so many doubts and has supported what I’ve always known- I CAN do this. It’s amazing how a few kind words can be the fuel you need to keep plugging away.
    So thank you, everyone who has offered a kind word or bit of advice, or even constructive criticism. We are our own biggest support system, and I truly appreciate Ann, Susan, and all the boards which hold us together.

  16. Nancy
    Dec 14, 2007 @ 13:58:21

    Ann,
    I LOVE your new dress and the direction you are taking the dresses. I find myself thinking how I could make it… what patterns I have that I can adapt to make it work….I’ve never made an ID dress, I don’t have a daughter to make one for and I’m always thinking who knows someone who knows someone else who MIGHT want/need a dress….so far I have one strong lead another possible.
    I look forward everyday to reading your blog and learning more about ID dress making. When I tell my friends I want to do this they all look at me like I’m crazy. Why they ask? They feel the dresses they have seen are over done blah blah blah Why do I want to make ID dresses?…. because my background is in fashion design and the past 19 years in embroidery. this is the perfect venue to combine my love of fabric, embroidery and now with your new direction in dress design, fashion. I see your new design as current, fun and opening up a whole new direction….I’m starting to repeat myself. Anyway GO GIRL GO!!
    Nancy

  17. Ali
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 07:29:45

    “Should we be honest? IMHO Yes. but dare I say a word? No because I use my name on the boards and would never hear the end of it.”

    As is often the case, Gina and I are in agreement.

    I think the largest white elephant in our collective room is the fact that we are all conciously aware of eachother still. We know our places in the network of dressmakers and designers NOT in a collaborative sense, but in a competitive one: “I charge less than X and Y, but draw better than Y and Z, produce a more coherent product than Z and A, and I know X and A won’t take clients for reasons 1, 2, 3…” and so on. Whether we fit in as moms or dancers (oh, heavens, lowest of the low 😉 ) who are trying out designing or dressmaking for the first time, or as dressmakers of limited/some/extremely great renown, or as designers only (relegated into a sort of “separate but equal” mental status, usually), once you’ve been around–yes, even on our beloved CF board–for a short while, you start to get the feel of the community. It is, as you said, Ann, one so entrenched in not just competition but secret competition. We know it, and it makes us uncomfortable, and so we act “nice”.

    Gina’s example is good: it doesn’t matter if the dress is crap or the best thing ever. If a dressmaker asks for feedback on her new creation, we will not give it. We will be kind to a fault and probably even lie–at the very least, lie by omission by choosing not to respond.

    When we are not nice, we are especially viscious. We can rip others to shreds. So we usually avoid it–it makes so many of us uncomfortable to see any sort of “mean” comment that all criticisms are often avoided. Of course, knowing our internal social structure, we feel free (largely) to snipe at the biggest names. They are impersonal corporations, far away and faceless; they are the President to our local political action committee. We pose no threat to them, but they do to us, so we feel comfortable making real criticisms there and only there.

    What the community needs is three things, to my eye: a) to learn that criticism is NOT meant to be mean, it is meant to help you grow, b) to learn that criticism of one’s work is not criticism of oneself, and c) to learn how to give criticism in a way that gets these points across. Musicians, dancers, other artists all manage this. It baffles me how stifling the ID community, and the dressmaking community within it, can be on this point. I think that innovation can only flourish when people both expect to recieve and feel comfortable giving constructive criticism.

    In the interests of stepping up to the plate, I told you in an email I’ve been tyring my hand at shirt designing for a weekly contest. This week’s theme is “winter” and my entry is titled “Knot Another Generic Snowflake”: http://shirt.woot.com/Derby/Entry.aspx?id=7794

  18. Ali
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 07:31:30

    Pardon my grammar! “What the community needs ARE…”

  19. taoknitter
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 08:43:12

    As usual, your insight is right on, Ali. You know I have ranted about exactly the same things. Thank you, once again, for saying it so well…grammar and all!

  20. Ali
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 09:11:50

    It’s because we both come from a heavily academic space, I think. This is not to imply elitism, but I suppose it could be read that way. You taught for years, and I’m pretty over-educated for my age. 😀 We have stubbornly refused to let go of the idea of constructive crit being required for a healthy community; what baffles me is that, after seeing the poll on CF of what other dressmakers and designers do or previously did as their main job, we are the exceptions! The DM community as a whole seems to be pretty awesome based on that poll: we have biologists, engineers, teachers, social scientists. We have so many well-educated people, whether by formal or self education, who MUST have learned how to give and recieve concrit at some point. Why do we allow ourselves, as a community, to follow the secretive, deadening path that Irish dance as a whole follows when we KNOW better? We are smart and creative. Let us set the example for how to criticize, critique, and share in an open, honest way. If we’re lucky, it will catch on to the whole of ID.

  21. Suz
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 11:15:33

    Ali,
    You got me thinking on why we can take criticism in our “real” professions but not ID. Just my first ‘gut-reaction’ here but my two worlds were built different!
    My ID world formed WITHIN my family’s cultural life while my professional life is OUTSIDE my family. The university not only allowed me to evolve independantly but encouraged me to be independant! In my science based career I was taught to question the methods and practices of other scientists to get ‘proof’ for my opinions!
    My ID life has evolved AND involves numerous family members both immediate and extended. I already had my ‘place’ given to me because I was hopelessly unable to dance. Unlike the DANCERS(said in revered awe…) I could make my way around the left side of my brain as well as the right side so I chose to join the ‘support staff’ as a dressmaker….really as an avenue to remain ‘in the family’. (Whole ‘nother psych. paper in that statement!!) So I do have enormous problems seperating criticism of my work as not being criticism of me personally. By the end of a dress it is MY CHILD and the more difficult the ‘labor’ the more I tend to want it to thrive. So if it is “bashed” (as stagemoms are so apt to do these days) I am hurt. I’m sane enough to know the defect in my thinking, and do know how to consider the souce, but that would be my brain’s left side which does not always control my world!
    All right I’m stopping my self!!! Warned you about letting me out of my box!

    PS Ann, had an idea…yeah I know, another dangerous thing! In your overworked stressfull times when there is no ‘blog idea’ fermenting would you ever think of letting DM’s (who do not want to start their own blog!!) submit ‘articles’?

  22. taoknitter
    Dec 15, 2007 @ 11:29:08

    Suz,

    Hmmm…hmmm…gonna have to have a serious talk with my five yr-old ego about that!

    Very interesting idea…I guess if I think about my blog serving as a magazine that way, meaning there is an over-arching “philosophy” to serve as a filter, I suppose that could work and be very cool!

    Hmmmm…do you want to be the first to help me see if “I” can deal with it?

    (I actually emailed this to Suz first, but thought I should be big enough to post it publicly!)

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