There’s a church somewhere, probably down the road and around the corner from your house, that has a slew of ladies. Among those ladies, are half a dozen who sew on a regular basis, a few beginners, and one professional seamstress. There is always one or two that can’t sew to save their lives and frankly, don’t care to learn. Those who don’t sew at all are usually not the ones who undervalue the work of the professional. The clueless woman appreciates the skills that the professional has spent years honing, the time invested in her products, and the value of her work.
Why is this? Why is it that the one who has no experience to help appreciate what the seamstress is able to accomplish is the one who shows that appreciation?
Often (and of course I’m generalizing here!), the others with some or much sewing experience are the ones who undervalue the work. You hear things like, “Oh, I could do that” and, “Oh, that’s no big deal” as if the time and skill is nothing. Do they not realize that as they undervalue their sister’s work with words like that, they also denigrate their own knowledge. Why is it that the people who should support the seamstress the most (if not financially, at least verbally), are usually the ones she gets the most criticism from?
Why isn’t there support for the professional? Why aren’t her sisters saying, “You are worth every penny that you charge?” The novices should realize just how much they have to learn and appreciate the knowledge and skill that the professional has developed. Those who have perfected their skills to the equivalent of a professional should know, more than anyone, how much time and effort goes into a well -crafted product. Why do they often show so much animosity and criticism for others?
Have you ever been to a craft show? I used to run booths at them locally, and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard someone walk around a booth, sniff disgustedly at the price of something or the apparent “simplicity” of it, and sneer, “I could make that.” Well, yeah, ya could. Anyone could. The question is, would you and if you did, would it really be as nice as the one in your unimpressed fingers? I used to have a sign in my booth. “I know you can make it, but will you?”
I’ve seen this over the years– hey, I was the obnoxious person sniffing superciliously at the “overpriced” products at different places when I was younger, but the older I get, the more it grieves me. We, as Christian sisters, are supposed to have a graciousness that I often see lacking. A woman gives a friend a handmade card at church. Someone asks where she got it, and she confesses that she made it. When the admirer asks what it’d cost to have one made and is told $5.00, there’s nothing wrong with the admirer admitting that they can’t afford it. It’s a little tacky to tell the knitter that Wal-Mart carries them for $2.00 before clearance, though. Just sayin’. However, the problem doesn’t usually come with the admirer. It’s the other crafter across the aisle. Whether she’s an expert or a novice, invariably she pipes up (either to the crafter and her admirer or to another woman nearby), “That’s just too much. There’s only $1 dollar in materials there.” Let’s forget the hours and hours and hours in actual crafting time and the tools that were used with those little bits of paper!
I see it with so many things. Sewing, knitting, beading, paper crafting, pottery, organization, house cleaning, photography, art of all kinds. I think it’s high time that we start supporting our skilled sisters and spend less of our leisure time criticizing them.