Humility is my friend...
(To illustrate the post, another photo of the rugs I've woven so far. This one is naturally white and brown Romney and hand-dyed Cotswold. I dyed the Cotswold and used some of this in Fiber Gathering for the Sit Upon pattern. There were leftovers...ideal for rugmaking!)
Yesterday I went over to a boutique that is literally a block away from the house to show the owner my rugs. I'd been told by someone I met at the weaving guild (and that I respect) that this might be a good place to go. I was so embarrassed by the experience. Awful.
The first hint should have been when the owner of the shop did not expect my visit or realize who I was after we spoke twice on the phone previous to meeting her in person--which I did at the time she suggested I come over.
I know I'm not a good retailer or a seller of my stuff, I know that. I took out the first rug, the rug I thought would be best for the shop, and of course the owner touched it right away and said "This isn't our thing. It's too yellow." (Of course, the shop is decorated in home furnishings in cream, gray, black, and white, and gosh darn it, wool is cream colored.)
"Couldn't it be more white or gray?" She asks "...could it have tufts? Couldn't it be without that binding on the edge?"
You know, the binding that keeps the ravelling warp threads secure, in place, and ready for hard wear on the floor. That binding. The one I handstitched on and that matches that rug perfectly.
Oh. My heart sinks and I want to run right out of the store. I explain that I've met these sheep, that I process it or supervise its processing from start to finish...that this is the color this sheep came in. Naturally cream colored. That each rug I make is one of kind, like the yarn I spin and the fiber art I've had in galleries.
Never mind. Maybe it was not worth the trip over there and it isn't worth recounting. I felt embarrassed by the whole experience. I did manage a polite enough exit, rugs in hand.
The good thing is that the boutique owner suggested I try the art gallery in town, and they do have fiber art in their museum shop. It might be a good idea to try that next.
Humility is good for me, I know, but being embarrassed while trying to find a place for my work is just the worst. I hate it. I also know that some part of me is my own self doubter. Instead of being an unconditional champion of what I do, that voice says, "well, you know, maybe it's not good enough and that's why she didn't want it." It's only the first shop I went to, and I need to be brave.
Later, my professor took me out to dinner, and made me feel better. I even worked on weaving part of another--equally delicious rug, this time with a weft of Border Cheviot wool--white, springy, and just a little bit smooth.
OK, I'm done telling this sad tale. I needed to tell someone who would understand this experience...in the meanwhile, the first thing the owner did was put her hands on it to feel it, and she kept touching the rugs even as she rejected their color-- so I know that roving rugs are a good idea. A luscious idea, for people who understand... and hard to capture in a photo. That's why I really think I need to find a place that maybe wants to sell these lush handmade things in person.
With a sign that says: Please Touch.