Tuesday, June 19, 2012

letting go

I'm struggling with something.

I have a few facts and a lot of conjecture. Throw a little paranoia in there, a little need, both emotional and actual and it's not a pretty picture.

The facts are that the garden club here, of which I am a member, decided to donate a sculpture to the library. I asked to be on the committee. They were looking at cement yard art and catalog stuff.

I suggested we see about getting a real piece of art, like, from an artist.

That was my first mistake.

They asked me if I knew some artists and the more I thought about it I decided I did not want to take on finding or suggesting certain artists and then I thought that maybe my friend who does fused glass and I could do something together with some sort of metal framework.

So I did a presentation to the committee.

That was my second mistake.

I showed them examples of some outdoor uses of fused glass and steel and etched glass, slides and actual physical examples of glass done in different ways, and showed my portfolio. They liked my suggestion of doing etched glass in the side lites and transom around the inside doors to the library. We talked about using the new logo for the library as a jumping off point for the design. They asked me to do a proposal and sketch.

So I did.

That was my third mistake.

While they told me they loved my drawing for the space and indicated to me that they all agreed for me to do the job when I presented my proposal and they were going to set up a meeting with the library and the county, someone or several someones decided afterwards that they should look at another etched glass artist for the work.

My conjecture is that they thought that because I knew the budget, that I was pricing my work to it when in reality, I gave them a big discount because the installation cost was a big chunk. It is my conjecture that they didn't want a member of the club profiting from their gift. Never mind that I am a resident, a member of the club, and a user of the library so that the art and artist would have a personal connection.

The email I got several weeks later informing me of this decision came as somewhat of a surprise and I knew then that I would not be getting the commission. I asked them to not show or describe my design or concept to the other artist as these were proprietary.

Last week, the committee presented the 'anonymous' designs to the club at the summer social for a secret vote even though it had been announced at a previous meeting that I would be submitting a proposal. It was painfully obvious that they had done exactly what I asked them not to do as all three elements of my design were present in the other sketch. I cast my vote and my sister's vote (who couldn't be there) and left. I had no desire to be there during the vote.

The committee chairman called yesterday to give me the results of the vote and it was as I expected. But what I didn't expect was that I would only get three other votes besides mine and my sister's out of 29 cast. I thought it would be a little closer.

I think I would have preferred not knowing the vote count.

I did tell her on the phone that I thought I had been treated unfairly and it was quite obvious they had done what I had asked them not to re my design. She said she was sorry I felt that way, that they appreciated all my hard work, that all they had done was tell the other artist their vision for the space, except that their vision for the space was what I had presented to them. When they met with me, they had no vision for the space. I came up with those ideas.

So now I'm struggling to let all this go. I know who the other artist is and I know they also are struggling financially, like all artists these days, because we use the same installer. I don't want to begrudge them the work and I know that I will be plenty busy soon enough when the purchase orders for these two walls I've been consulting on come through.

It's hard though. It's taking a conscious effort. I'm glad there won't be any more meetings until fall. And maybe I'll still be too busy when they start up again. I don't want any hard feelings to carry over, but damn...

I'm going to hate going to the library now.

edit:  as it happened, I crossed paths with the guy that did the job about three months later, and it came up in the conversation  and he told me that they did indeed show him my design.


  1. The situation sucks. I have no idea what I would do. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  2. I would be SO pissed. I mean really, really angry.
    And this is one of the reasons that I refuse to join anything that has the word "club" in it.

  3. I agree that this feels utterly unfair. Your hurt feelings seem apt, and perhaps you should allow yourself to feel them a while.

    What really strikes me in this post, though, is how tender your spirit is, at least in this writing. While you are hurt, you don't sound bitter or vindictive. Acknowledging your hurt feelings seems healthy to me, and perhaps it will allow you to let it go one day soon, even if the club leaders do not ever acknowledge what they did as wrong to you.

    And I trust that something in these mistakes will become part of your strength.

  4. since you know the other artist, i think you should at least inform them of what happened with 'their' vision being yours to begin with. you owe yourself that much - to uncork.

  5. Ooh - I'm just so mad on your behalf! You're much more gracious than I would be (at least on my blog - I would probably not really DO anything in reality). Grrr.

  6. This must hurt a lot. After all, you educated them, guided them. I like how you customized the design, and I know I would feel very comfortable choosing your work after seeing this. So, your telling us, your readers, became another presentation. We too could be your clients one day.

  7. People are so funny, like in weird. I would just let it go rather than trying to get the others to see what they did because it's been my experience that these sorts of wrongdoings can easily get crazy the more people talk and gossip. They were wrong and petty and that's sad. It sucks that this happened to you.

  8. I'm sorry. It's hard, and it's exactly the way I would have expected you to be treated. Small minds,small towns. "You're never a prophet in your own land."

  9. Gosh, my local library screwed me over a couple of years ago, in a comparable manner. I didn't make a fuss, but I haven't been back to the library since. The responsible parties are no longer there, but I still don't like the place anymore.

    I don't recommend carrying a grudge, but I guess that's what I'm doing. I knew when I took on their project that it was unlikely to end well, so in a sense it's my own fault.

  10. ouch! Assholes!
    You are better than to allow this to get to you- They are tiny- obviously! What can you do- avoid the smallness...and now, the library!

  11. High School. It just never ends. Sigh.

    I think that they are in a copyright violation by using YOUR ideas and giving them to the other artist. I know you won't cause waves, but I wish that it could be pointed out that what they did was not only subversive, but borderline theft.

    Hugs to you Ellen. I know it doesn't help, but it's the best I can do. [I SUCK at advice. No kidding - but I can bake you a pie. :wink:]

  12. We'll you have me all worked up. How stupid and insensitive to take your ideas and hand them to someone else. But you are very right, you will have to let it go so that you can enjoy your garden club and library again. If you didn't have to live there it would be tempting to point out the intellectual property theft. Let it go...Let it go.. I'm saying the mantra for you.

  13. Big ouch! I could see this coming as I was reading.

    I think that you should talk to the other artist and let her know that their vision is actually your own design. She should propose her own design to them and probably will if she has scruples as a fellow artist.

    I'm so sorry this has happened. I've been in a similar situation and it truly stinks.

  14. This really really steams me up. Shame on them. SHAME!!! I might wash my hands of all of it. Or maybe if I knew the artist well enough, I would do what texwis said.


    Truth is, most people have no idea that ideas are proprietary and the law here will not protect you. Shitty.

  15. I'm glad you have posted this Ellen - I find writing is now all part of the letting go process.

    I agree with one of the earlier comments - avoid anything that has the word "Club" in it.

  16. Sorry to hear about this Ellen. Wish it had turned out differently. I guess time will be the healer, but for now it's a total pain. Your writing exudes honesty-letting it out is part of letting it go.

  17. Despite the warnings I'd been given - "never post to the web anything you might wish to publish" - I still remember how I felt the first time I found one of my blog posts retitled and posted under someone else's name. I was sick, enraged and incredulous all at once. "Apoplectic" might have applied.

    Intellectual property is such a bloodless term for our words, our art, our creative impulses. Beyond that, the fact that someone or a group of someones would pass on your design to another artist after being asked not to suggests that, in their mind, the sidelights and transom were equivalent to selecting a wall paper border. They were decorating, not commissioning art.

    I'm really sorry. It's a crappy experience, but don't let it sap your creative energy.

  18. people can be,,well,,people. We have stopped "designing" without the agreement that if they dont accept the bid, they owe for the drawing time...some folks have no ...well you know what i am talking about...


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.