So I made some of my art into cross-stitch patterns to sell – not because I expect it will pay the bills, mind you. For amusement.
And then I realized I needed what they call “model stitchers” – people to stitch the pattern for me. So I did my research. Apparently 100% of the pattern companies I found only offer their model stitchers a free pattern for their trouble. If the model stitcher is willing to part with their hard work rather than send a mere photo example, then the company reimburses the stitcher for their supplies. There is no talk of pay for hourly work.
Model stitchers are expected to make perfect stitches with no frayed ends. The backs of the cross-stitches must be perfect as well. They also have to complete their work within a certain time frame.
There was no way I could compete with that, really. So I posted in a certain art forum, now known as the Caustic Forum, that I couldn’t offer even that – didn’t offer anything really. Didn’t say what I expected out of people. I just said I needed model stitchers but these things the companies give are out of my league. And I got reamed for it.
Won’t go into the entire “conversation” because it’s not important to the story. We can sum it up by me apologizing for not being clear, trying to engage in a real conversation by mentioning this nifty machine I found that cross-stitches FOR YOU (ooooh… drool), and deciding that for my cross-stitching model I would offer the following:
Anyone could have any one of my patterns for free. All they have to do is ask.
*If* they want to and they finish before I die of natural causes, they can send me a photo of their work. They keep their work. Just send me a photo, and give me the right to say “this is what it looks like finished!” But only IF they want to.
So that I’m offering something for free with the *hope* of a return. Not even an obligation.
I wasn’t expecting perfect stitches. I wasn’t going to impose a time frame. But if someone has finished the pattern and would consent to letting me model it, that would be great!
And once I have a model photograph of any select design that design’s freebie status would be closed.
I got reamed again. And privately lectured by a college student as if I were half their age, never-mind they clearly are only half of mine. As politely as I could I said “um… you’re reaming me over an obligation-free gift. You know that, right?” So. Just out of the blue it was statements along the lines of “Well we wouldn’t have reamed you if you’d used some other term than model stitcher!!!”
“Some of us ARE professional model stitchers, so that’s why we acted like general asses in your direction!”
(pinches nose and sighs)
So let me sum up for the world at large.
I tried to be friendly and engage in discussion.
I was slapped down.
I tried to learn from the slap and offered a GIFT to anyone that would want it.
It was slapped down. (In my culture that’s, like, the fucking height of rude.)
And then when I said “Wow, you guys sure know how to be ungrateful!” I get 14-year-old level excuses as to why that was okay.
Followed up by claims of being “professional model stitchers”.
Not saying I was perfect in this situation. I definitely had a button pushed.
The outcome of this situation is that I retracted my gift offer from that forum and now only offer the free patterns on Etsy, where my post was treated with respect and… well… professionalism. I have been forever discouraged from ever seeking to employ anyone in the Caustic Forum in regards to anything professional. I wouldn’t send Satan over there to buy a soul.
And this is the moral of my story. How you carry yourself, regardless of how experienced you are, is everything. Attacking someone of an innocent remark and then not having the brass to apologize for your mistaken behavior is anything but professional. Just because you’re getting paid to do a job doesn’t make you a professional. Knowing your work and not making quick judgements – that’s professional.
I can sign off on this situation with the following:
Through the reaming I was told that no one would be interested in my patterns because I wasn’t prestigious enough or didn’t work for a prestigious company. I’m not famous enough to give away a free craft art pattern.
That’s like saying that prostitute on the street corner isn’t whorish enough to bed.
And is a fine example of how unprofessional and ignorant those “professional model stitchers” showed themselves to be.