Preparing for the overhaul...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What You May Not Know

I've been really gratified by the nice comments I've received on this blog, and, in general, with the kind, generous, thoughtful and talented people I've met while roaming around the interwebz.  You've all been far, far nicer than I deserve!  In particular, recently, one tutorial of mine has gotten a little bit of notice: How To Make A Really Authentic Dollhouse Miniature Thatched Roof.  And I would like you all to know that, initially, I got so much negative feedback that I almost took it down entirely.

I remember back when I was 15, I was so ridiculously proud of myself because I was exhibiting a painting in my first real (as real as it's apt to get when you're 15) art show.  Sure, I was all pompous and self important about it but, underneath it all, I was just so excited.  A local artist who'd had some modest success came over to me and told me that I shouldn't sell my piece; I should keep it as a souvenir of that time in my life when I thought I had it in me to become a professional artist.  I could look back on it, he said, and laugh at how deluded I'd been.

Yeah, well.  Happiness is the best revenge, right?  It wasn't until years later that I realized, wow, for him--for a grown man--to be talking to a kid that way, he must have some really serious issues of his own.

After I first wrote this tutorial, which was initially created for a miniatures magazine, I received quite a long email from a comparatively well known miniaturist.  He absolutely lambasted me, going into--in gruesome detail--everything that was wrong with my technique.  Principally, he seemed very worried that this wasn't how real thatched roofs were made.  To which my response was kind of like, um, yeah, very little about dollhouses resembles real life building.  The walls of my house aren't made of MDF, either.

But, basically, he wanted to make very sure that I understood what a rotten miniaturist I was, and requested that I withdraw my article from publication lest I lead other miniaturists astray.  He then went on to, rather tiresomely--and predictably--extoll the virtues of his own carefully honed technique.  Which, he assured me, was far superior and I'd serve myself better by coping him rather than coming up with ridiculous, bad plans of my own.

The then-editor of the magazine informed me--having also been aware of the article's apparent deficiencies--that I shouldn't feel bad, their magazine published how-to articles of all types, even those more suited to remedial miniaturists.

Luckily, I have a healthy artist's ego!

Listen, I'm no one's motivational speaker--I usually offend people when I try--but the moral of this story is, it's YOUR project, YOUR hobby, YOUR investment, and YOUR imagination.  Do what you want.  Some people may not like it, but some people don't like much of anything and they're not living your life, anyway.


latchkey and jonquil said...

Hi C.J.,

I felt compelled to write a comment on this one - what a horrible experience!

I find generally that people into miniatures are really supportive, though I think the further up the 'artisan' ladder, the stiffer the competition - which is why some insecure people like to pour cold water on our efforts.

But I'm very glad that you have a healthy level of self confidence!

Keep going, yur blg is really informative and interesting


Giac said...

Hello CJ,
Well said! There is no such thing as a bad or a good technique in miniature. as long as the finished project gives the illusion of reality that is all that matters. It was very rude and quite gauche to point out that your technique was different then his, not necessarily bad. I hate people like that! You've done such amazing work I think you deserve allt he praise that you get.
Big hug,

CWPoppets said...

Hi C.J.,
I'm a doll maker or at least I try to be one ;-) and I've had a lot of these people, too.
There was one who complained about my Bavarian maid and me to stereotype. Guess what, I AM a busty Bavarian ... though not blond ... lol.
Then there is the woman who would have liked to strangle me because I insulted her culture. Well, I spend hours researching Maori culture and tattoo's and tried to copy it onto my 12th scale doll. I admit he wasn't the best doll I ever made but, hey, I tried hard.
And then someone would have bought sooo many things in my shop if I just wouldn't be a racist. I made a caricature doll of a Cannibal.
That was especially humorous because half of my family is of African origin. Well, I'm still making the dolls I want to do no matter what they say and I love it.

Bell and Crow Miniatures said...

Giac said it right. It was quite gauche. They should be embarrased by their words. You obviously display a great talent. And there are tons of us who admire your work, skills, and love your tutorials. Let those bad apples rot in the bottom of the barrel where they belong.