Friday, September 17, 2010

THE SPIRIT OF THE CHALLENGE

In the summer of 2006 a couple of people were talking about designing 100 motifs in 100 days, or tatting 100 motifs. The discussion was carried onto one of the tatting lists and then travelled from list to list and 7 or 8 people were interested but 100 seemed like too many for people already juggling families and jobs. Some people weren't designers, but were interested is seeing how far they could push themselves just to tat more, to try new techniques, new patterns, finer threads. In short, the whole idea was for us to be challenged and share our experience. We settled on doing 25 motifs in a year and those of us interested discussed things like where we would show our work so that others could see our progress and comment on it. Blogs, which were relatively new at the time, seemed like a good place to talk about the laces we made and what our challenges were with them. It also let others leave us encouraging comments. That still left the problem of keeping in touch with one another to see how we were progressing. That's when the 25 Motif Challenge blog was born and I started checking the blogs regularly and doing an update so that we could check on each other.

From the handful of people who started we have grown to nearly 70 participants. Some of the participants who designed 25 motifs had 25 new patterns and put them in books which enriched the community of tatters. Some tatters from the surplus tatting they had created for the challenge, sold off some of the laces created. Along the way we all discovered new books, new threads, new shuttles and new techniques and the we have all gained from the experience. We have seen how patterns look when they are tatted, we have seen how certain threads look when they are worked up and we have collectively gained from the process. The 25 Motif Challenge Blog became a central location for all tatters, whether they were participating or not, to enjoy what was being created by like minded people.

Recently a few people have joined the challenge who already have commercial outlets for selling their tatting. They don't need a challenge to keep them motivated. In fact, they seem ONLY to have joined the challenge in order to advertise their merchandise which is not really the purpose of the challenge blog. Since it's not really possible to know when someone asks to join whether they are interested in a CHALLENGE or just more exposure I have considered how best to deal with the situation and be fair about it. If a participant stretches themselves and designs new motifs and then sells them or puts the patterns in a book, that is in the spirit of the challenge. If a participant is regularly designing new pieces for their shop, that is not and it's a very fine line between the two. After a great deal of thought I have decided that when a commercial seller of tatting joins I will count off 25 motifs and then remove them from the links so that we can get back to what this challenge is really all about, namely a personal challenge to tat more, design more and try more.

8 comments:

Krystle said...

I may have fallen into that gray area. Originally I joined the challenge more than a year ago to participate. Over time my work has come to focus on what is going into my shop, and while I appreciate the exposure, it's not what the challenge was intended for. I would love to still participate, and perhaps a way to do that would be for those of us in this category to clearly specify which posts belong in the challenge, so you are not spending your own precious time in producing commercials for sellers like me. I personally would count a new design for jewelry as toward my challenge. I think that definitely sparks new ideas for other tatters as well as gives me a goal to work towards in design. But I don't expect you guys to post blurbs about my HDT or other more "commercial" news. So if it's agreeable, I will continue my participation with the challenge, and my posts that count toward my completion will be clearly identified in the first line of the post. I don't think you should have to keep track of anyone's number of posts, to me that's just another time eater. I think we should each be responsible for maintaining the spirit of the challenge, and if we do not meet the criteria set for us, our work should be omitted.

Just my two cents. I'd hate to see the curators of the challenge feeling like the process is being abused.

with appreciation,

Krystle

hattalahutta said...

How do I sign up for this challenge? I've just recently learned to tat, and I think I could like to be a part of something like this, to challenge myself to experiment and become a better tatter :)

jennie b said...

I've been reading these updates for a while, and I think it's time I finally signed up. My tattings can be found at tattingtime.blogspot.com. My latest post of little critters will begin my 25.

Jennie @ frivoliTat

Marty said...

Well said, Sharon. It's a pleasure to drop into the Challenge Blog and see who's tatting what and what new people have joined. But if I wanted to buy something, I'd be dropping in on Etsy. ;)

Tattingrid said...

That sounds fair.
Ingrid

Corina said...

That sounds fair. About me - well, I just started a webshop, but that does not have much to do with my tatting, I just regretted that I did not tat so much, so I started this challenge, to motivate myself to tat and try new patterns.

Icela said...

In my personal opinion, I think the Challenges should be for people who have not gone commercial. Once a person goes commercial, they do not need the challenge to encourage them to tat or design more, their selling is what encourages them to design and tat more.

orsi said...

Sharon, for me, motif challenge and tatting is a real encouragement, this blog is the "place to learn" and show new steps with my tatted things.
My english is not perfect ( as you can see ), so sometimes I can't express myself well, or to explain what I do.
I am so pleased to read your post and will try to write more about my experiences with tatting and ask questions.
Personally I don't mind when some commercial blog is here, because I can learn from it as well. But I can understand your opinion.