So, we come home late Thursday, and there were two things waiting for me.

One was the scarf I sent to the national exhibition; it had been rejected by the selector, and the attached letter read:

I was surprised it was rejected, though I was certain it wouldn't win any prizes. I'm not sure if I'm more offended by the disparaging "too many technical errors" without the courtesy of details or examples, or the punctuation-free, capitalization-optional sloppiness of the form letter. This is my first official rejection letter, so I don't know if this is always the way they do things.

You know I'm always quick to point out the technical weaknesses of my work, even before you have a chance to pick up the piece and have a good look. Well, this piece doesn't have too bad a selvedge, it doesn't have my characteristically long floats, and I've debated with myself whether the sett should have been looser and haven't come to a conclusion yet. But it doesn't have have "technical errors" this self-taught weaver can see; it's a sturdy piece of cotton cloth. And with an inane comment like this, I can't even agree to disagree, can I?

Once again it reminded me of my tenuous relationship with the "guild" organization. I feel like a blues singer in a church choir; neither is better than the other, but just different groups. It's also been liberating, because I don't feel obliged to participate any more just to support the organization if they can't be civil or try to help me improve. And I've seen other instances of works being rejected, or accepted, and there are definite creative differences in what some of us want to create, and what powers-that-be deem appropriate. I had thought it was purely aesthetic, but perhaps not.

For my part, I'm going to take the piece and the letter to several long-time weavers to see if they can shed any light on the errors, because I'm always for a good, constructive criticism, or alternate interpretation. At the same time, the world is too big a place to dwell on one platform for too long.

Oh, the second thing? There was a phone message asking me to be a judge of a local alpaca event; this, I'm going to decline.


Susan B. said...

I do think that letter is pretty rude and crude. If they are going to include the reason, I think they should do it in a more positive manner! My goodness! That would have crushed me!

Peg in South Carolina said...

I think you are spot on about the blues singer in the church choir. Show your work elsewhere, but continue to support the guild in other ways.

Cate Rose said...

Sorry about the rejection -- and the form and content of that just added more bad juju. Sour grapes, I'd say, and move on. Your work is spectacular and don't forget that!

Anonymous said...

SO sorry for the poor rejection. it would have been nice for them to at least offer so much as ONE substantiating comment to the critique. She could have just left it at "I don't like it".
But, technical errors? And "too many"?
If it's any help, I adore your work, with or without "technical errors". It's those little things that make it YOURS. And, as someone who reads your blog, you're one of MY inspirations.

Dorothy said...

How cruel the note is.

I wonder what a "technical error" is when the result is acknowledged as "beautiful"?

Maybe this cursory note is identical to those sent with all rejected pieces, and is not therefore actually a comment on your work?

Dianne said...

Hmmm. Disappointing but "liberating", yes. Neither Yanni nor the national Exhibition curator is a weaver so who gave the technical advice?
I've had pieces come back saying "not an exhibition piece" which says even less!

Meg said...

Susan, I'm not reject novice, so I can laugh at this, but I can well-imagine them sending this to novices or young persons, too. Can you imagine what that would do?

Peg, yeah, I've always been singing out of tune to the rest of the group. I think I'll wear this like a badge of honor.

Connie, yes, I'm moving on; westward in this case. Figured that's the best therapy.

Dave, EXACTLY! I think as participants of exhibitions we are used to the whim of selectors, our tastes not being similar to theirs, but "technical errors" is a factual statement that can be proven or refuted, and in this case they have a moral/organizational obligation to point out the errors, at least some of them. Like I said, I can't even agree to disagree! They would have been justified in saying, "not my thing, dear", without the burden of proof. I think it's just bad manners.

Dorothy, my own take, without knowing anything of the situation at Exhibition Central, is that they have a lot of works and since this exhibition is traveling they need to cull the numbers. So they just have stock throw-away comments they give out, thinking they sound as if they've studied the pieces carefully.

Dianne, someone who used to work on the inside of the National Guild suggested I ask Anne Curtis who was the technical adviser for weaving. Like email her nicely. The blurb said the selector's decisions are final, so I wouldn't be surprised if she rejects the email on that ground, but I am itching to know.

Taueret said...

ugh! I am really sorry! I have lots of thoughts on the whole guild thing and 'judging' thing but I think they're best kept to myself! poo to them.

Meg said...

Yeah, I suppose it's a hard one if we have to do it. But you know... %$#@!!!!!

Anonymous said...

okay lets talk technical errors.........

the address is printed in both normal and bold...why?

Second sentence is missing a period.

"Nirvana" should either be underlined or in quotes, but most certainly not both.

"For future National Exhibitions" the For should not be capitalized and again the sentence is lacking a period.

"yours sincerely" the Y should be capitalized.

And heavens to Betsy just look at that penmanship!

Meg, I suggest you return the letter with an attached note that it is unclear due to too many technical errors.

Silly Selector!

Meg said...

Hee hee, now that's a thought! Welcome home.