What can possibly be bad about giving a gift? As the artist, you dream, plan and create a little (or big!) something that you are sure the recipient will adore. It's worth oh so much more because it didn't come from a store. It came from the heart. It will be met with hugs and smiles which are worth more than a thank you any day.
But what happens when it's not?
What happens when you give a gift and it is met with a blank stare?
Are you ready for the heartbreak of:
- Seeing the tote bag you made as a thank you gift for your child's teacher on the arm of a stranger?
- Finding the quilt you made for your newest family member tossed in the corner, filthy from having been stepped on numerous times.
- Being told that one of the two afghans you made for your in-laws has been packed away in a chest, to be given back to you upon their deaths.
- Receiving months of compliments on your work from an old friend, sending them a quilt and never hearing from them again.
- Giving friends numerous handmade gifts only to learn that they aren't true friends after all.
Small examples of the the perils of gifting, all of them, but each is a personal experience that I now own as part of my history.
The tote bag was picked up by the new owner at a yard sale for $3.00. It still looked brand new.
The baby quilt was stained, ripped and ruined inside of three months. I haven't seen it since.
The second afghan was intentionally picked apart by my MIL and thrown in the trash after a family argument. The other afghan, made for my FIL, is still new and will be returned to us along with items from my husband's childhood. I've been told that a detailed letter of all of my personal failings will accompany the chest.
I've lost two friends after sending them quilts and/or supplies to learn how to quilt. I don't think I will ever learn why.
Surely I'm not the only one who has been discouraged or upset after giving a handmade gift. Some people are cruel and thoughtless. It seems to be the norm in society these days. Do I have regrets? Yes and no, but it is my nature to care and to share although I'm not so anxious to give personalized gifts anymore.
My solution? A two-prong approach.
Crafting for animals in need - Shelter animals barely receive the essentials much less something to call their own. As I enjoy the company of animals more so than humans any day, it's definitely the perfect solution.
School Raffles/Fundraisers - My oldest is in high school now and they hold several fundraisers each year. This coming Fall, they plan to sell real pumpkins and scarecrows crafted by the student body.
I've made 25 handcrafted fabric pumpkins to add to their sale table. They can sell them for any price they choose with 100% profit. The kids don't have to go door-to-door or peddle merchandise no one really wants. Plus, they were fun to make and I learned a new craft to boot!
There are several different sizes made from three different prints. Each one is unique, having an original leaf style or color and either yarn, twine or perle cotton decoration for the segmenting.
It's gift crafting with a purpose and without the heartbreak of giving art that is unappreciated. Win for all!
On a happier note, I started a Facebook page about a 18 months ago, which is where I've been posting instead of here. Look for the new page at Sugar Tree Stitching Handmade!