Or – why it helps to go beyond the urge to ‘just say no’.
Have you ever had a day when you realized you spent a lot of time answering questions with “No, I don’t do that”?
Here’s some of what I remember saying at Farmer’s Market last Saturday :
- I don’t use natural dyes
- I don’t spin dog hair
- I don’t do other craft shows or events
- I don’t have handspun handwoven cashmere scarves in other colors
- I don’t do custom weaving or spinning
- I don’t have any more of that particular piece.
As I debriefed from the day, I realized several of the conversations I’d had were about what I don’t do. I’d been saying no an awful lot and it had me wondering what was going on.
Was I having a bad day? Were people bothered by my answers? Did they walk out of my booth in disgust?
The family that had seen a demonstration of natural dyeing at a living history museum – was interested to learn about why I choose to use synthetic dyes.
The young woman who loves her dog so much she wants to have some of his fur spun into yarn – appreciated knowing how to harvest and store the fiber.
The ladies who offered me information about a really big craft show they liked to attend – were impressed that I was satisfied ‘only’ doing the Burlington Farmer’s Market.
The young man who asked about other colors of cashmere – understood that the brown, beige, white, tan and gray pieces on display are natural animal colors – that the fiber is so special it’s taking me awhile to feel to comfortable with the idea of dyeing it – and was very happy choosing the light gray/tan color as a present for his wife.
The vendor who was curious about whether I made most of my sales at market or from custom work – learned that I prefer to concentrate on a particular and peculiar path of my own. If I can incorporate what I want to accomplish with a customer’s request then yes, I’ll consider it. If not – no, I don’t do that.
And the person who wanted to know if I had any more like the narrow hand-dyed piece I’d made specifically to show her? She’s already a collector of my work. One of those special people I learned about from Alyson Stanfield .
Telling this patron of my craft no means she has the only one. She knows I’ll continue making things with her in mind, - taking into account the questions she asks and the ideas she shares about what she likes.
All of the no-ing I did at market last week?
It gave me a clearer picture of what I choose to say yes to – and why.
- I’ll be dying some cashmere yarns and fiber pretty soon.
- Weaving more pieces with hems instead of fringe.
- And maybe writing a post or two about: “natural vs. synthetic”; why the Burlington Farmer’s Market is so great; and what things to consider if you want your dog’s fiber spun into yarn.
What does your list of “don’ts” inspire you to do?
And yes, I plan to be at market tomorrow.
I hope you will be, too.