Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Word About Criticism

First off, I want to apologize to folks who visit my space because of the visuals as today's post has no pictures. I also want to thank all of you who stop in here, whether you let me know you're there or not, because time is precious and I appreciate you giving me and my work some of your time and attention.

I've been reluctant to bring this topic up because it's something that, as a person who puts my work in the public eye, I feel I should accept as part of my job. On the other hand, I put an amazing amount of effort, time, and sometimes even sweat into the things I craft that when I'm harshly criticized, I feel hurt and discouraged. By criticism I don't mean someone stating that my work doesn't appeal to them or that they don't feel inspired by the items I create. I think that is totally legitimate and a matter of taste and preference. I realize that I don't design what could be described as traditional quilts and that might not appeal to a lot of folks. I also don't craft one-of-a-kind fiber art, so those people might also be turned off by my work.
What bothers me is when, in the anonymity of the internet(and it is anonymous even if you include your name because the internet is so vast), my work is vilified to the point that I am chastised for even putting it out there.
As I previously stated, criticism comes with the territory. Hell, it comes with just being human, but criticism that has a venomous tone is a lot harder to take and, frankly, unwarranted. 
Blog posts like this and book reviews like this:

Wow! Was I ever disappointed in this book. A waste of money. I cannot believe that it states that the author has been in juried shows! Who was she competing with? 2nd graders who had never used a sewing machine before. Her stitching is abhorent and I cannot believe that the publishers allowed this to be published. She uses crappy thread, which creates tension problems on it's own, combined with some real tension problems and no idea of how to top stitch accurately and you have the recipe for homemade disasters. She cloaks her sewing tips in phrases like "improvisational" for all of the mistakes. I sew for precision and hope that none of my projects ever look homemade vs handmade. If I received one of her projects as a gift I would put it directly into my donation bag. If you want to take your sewing to the next level and are looking for inspiration this is not the book for you. Shame on the author and publisher for allowing this to be printed. It is a hot mess!! 

I've actually known about that blog post for a while, but thought I'd rise above it and just ignore it, but reading this Amazon customer review of my book this morning made me feel like I wanted to say something.
I am proud of the work I do, the designs I create, and attention to craftsmanship I put into the items I sew. I am also proud to embrace a certain improvisational quality in my work. I know how to square an edge and I have the tools to do so, but I actually like the happenstance and raw energy that's created when edges are left un-squared. I have been sewing and/or quilting for almost 20 years and, though I hope to always seek out new and innovative techniques and materials as well as improve my skills, I have gained a lot of knowledge and expertise from my years of crafting. I am open to constructive criticism and questions that are put forth in the spirit of collaborative learning, but this is not criticism. It's derision. I am also open to anyone just plain not liking what I make. I don't like everything I see others make, but there's a vast difference between saying this doesn't appeal to me and the only way this work could ever receive any recognition is if I was competing with non-sewing 2nd graders. The former is a genuine opinion stated respectfully and the latter is...not.
If this was a phenomena exclusive to me or my work then I think the issue wouldn't merit bringing up, but I see it all over the internet. And the issue isn't whether or not you like a something, but how you state your opinion and whether you've considered the time and effort that went into the creation of that something before you spew forth vitriol rather than an honestly felt and respectful assessment.
I hope that having published two books and written a blog and designed for other publications, I've learned how to frame my criticism of other people's work so that it comes from a good place. I know damn sure that, having sat on this side of the aisle, I now take the time to write a positive review or add an encouraging comment or, if my opinion isn't quite so positive, temper my criticism so it's helpful not hurtful.
To those of you who've taken the time to let me know that you enjoy my work I say thank you so much.  For me, it's always been about the conversation, so thanks for your time and thoughts.

215 comments:

1 – 200 of 215   Newer›   Newest»
Linda P said...

Oh Malka, this is one of the hardest parts of the jobs. I get infuriated watching people dissect books, magazines and patterns for tiny errors or something they would have done differently. It's SO EASY to criticize and much harder to put yourself out there. I think your work is amazing, professional and honestly- art. I have to tell myself that I probably get 100 nice thoughts for every mean one, but darn if the mean ones don't stick me in the side. xoxox Linda

Beth Laske-Miller said...

Well said! It is so frustrating (especially in a creative field) when people have the expectation that there is only one right way (their way) to do something. Good designers and artists don't gain recognition by doing things the same way as others. What a dull world! We need some rough & wonky edges! Personal taste is one thing, but people don't need to be jerks about their opinions.

Bridget said...

Mean-spirited criticism shows a lack of class on the part of the commenter.
Suggestion: Pretend you are at a quilt exhibit and the artist is standing there. Don't say anything about the quilt you wouldn't say to the real live person standing there.

momma said...

There is room for us all, be proud that (some) people take inspiration from your work, your blog, your printed book. A lady at my guild meeting recently stood up with a quilt she'd taken from your book, it was truly beautiful. There will always be (some) people who choose to make themselves feel better by belittling the efforts of others. Take comfort that you're amongst "friends" that follow your blog, and when all else fails, as my husband would say "Other people eh?" xoxo

Jilly said...

When I look at that blog post, I think I see someone who is on their own "where is the art world going to" hobby horse, and has not paid real attention to your full body of work. Anyone who is familliar with your play with dying and geometric shapes, or who has actually looked at the complexity of some of the quilts in your book and understands how them emerge from a postmodern dialogue between fabric and quilter, between precision and improvisation might be a better judge of your work. Looks like sour grapes to me, frankly.

Star Quilt Company said...

Keep up the good work. There are always people like this around. Sounds like she (or he)had a very bad day and is extremely jealous.
Rise above it. You're great.
Linda B.

Taylor said...

I'm new to the quilting world and love to see that things can look wonky and still look great! I really love following your blog and your book is chilling in my amazon shopping cart right now. Congrats on your success so far and more power to you for responding to the comments!

Margaret said...

Like the commenter said, "she sews for precision" and obviously not for creativity. Your work is creative and unique, don't listen to this. You should feel proud of what you do. There is always someone out there who will criticize....does she have a book published?

irene said...

Not sure how to even respond to the negative blog or book review. Not sure what straight lines and tension has to do with your designs. Who says they have to be straight! As someone who is surrounded by quiting friends who follow patterns,even to the fabric choices, your work is very inspirational and welcome. I look forward to your blog everyday. Thank you

Jodi said...

I am THOROUGHLY enjoying your newest book, which I reserved a copy for myself before it was even out and impatiently waited for it to arrive! I now have on my design wall a quilt that I am "creating", NOT squaring up, which is so very relaxing for me at this time, and much needed! I can't wait to get to the quilting part of it, which you do so well! I will send you a pic of what I'm up to, and hope it encourages you, Malka! Keep on doing what you're doing - there's plenty of us who revel in it!

Alice R. said...

I'm sorry that happened to you. I agree with you that constuctive critique is one thing, vitrol quite another. Please give it the attention it deserves, and get back to your art that inspires so many.

GerryART said...

Malka, think of all who enjoy, and are inspired by your work.
We're here !
Hugs,
Gerry

Meg said...

People who act like that remind me of the bully in the sandbox. They're rotten because they can be. Good for you, Malka, for rising above the pettiness of others. You're right, different tastes and opinions are one thing, but voicing them in a nasty, derisive manner is just obnoxious and thoughtless. As I've often said, naysayers are usually motivated by jealousy--it ain't pretty!

Gabrielle said...

I have 2 of your books and I want to let you know that I have been VERY inspired by your work. No one would ever think to criticize a modern painter if their painted lines weren't perfectly straight, or if their splashes of colour weren't rigorously controlled. These people really have to let go of their concept of the "right way". I feel sorry for them, they can't see the beauty and magic in the world.

mcregan said...

I agree with your other comments... I enjoy reading your blog and I am inspired by your work. There will always be rude and ignorant people in our world and I wish they would keep their unhappiness and/or jealousy to themselves.

IamSusie said...

I'm feeling badly that I never wrote my own review of your book and I rarely comment about how inspiring your blog is. I checked out that blog post you linked to and, well, her quilts appear to be wonky string quilts which do not really require complicated technique to make, although she combines her fabrics to incredibly beautiful subtle effect.

Your work has amazing graphic appeal. You have a terrific sense of color and a real eye for effective graphic design. You use quilting on a home sewing machine that echos the graphic elements on your quilted pieces. I tend to trim things perfectly and I aspire to allow wonky settings and uneven edges in my own quilts. Used effectively, they truly add energy and interest to the quilt composition.

Don't let the haters get you down. That Amazon reviewer reveals more about her mean and judgmental self than any insights about what your book offers..

Connie said...

Oh Malka it just amazes me how society has come to the thought that not only is it ok to speak your mind, it is their obligation to say anything they want with no regard to considering others feelings or viewpoints. Such a 'me' society we have become. I'm so sorry that you have had this happen to your beautiful work. Keep doing what you do, just because someone else doesn't agree doesn't make it wrong :) Much love fron San Antonio (hugs)

Tammy Vasser said...

Malka, I applaud you for this post. So many people who lack common courtesy and respect get away with their rude behavior because no one is willing to stand up and call them on the carpet. The review you quoted was not a critique, it was simply mean. I would hope the author would send you an apology right away, but then again, people who disregard common courtesy seldom see their actions as unacceptable. Chin-up my friend because I'm positive there are more people who adore and appreciate your hard work than those who can not see or do not wish to see your talent!

West Michigan Quilter said...

I'm so sorry. Just think of it this way...when a PITA says something like that, he/she is the one with the problem. Why else would they do that? So, I try to bless them because I know down deep inside they are feeling worthless and have pain. I, personally, loved your book and admire anyone who has the stamina and creative fortitude to put one together. Good luck!

Marijke van Swaaij said...

Dear Malka, I am very sorry that someone did this to you !!
Love, Marijke.

Chinaberry Grove said...

My mama always said that if you can't say something good about someone, don't say anything at all. Blogs are not mandatory parts of our lives, neither is a quilting style. It's our personal choice. I figure if I don't like someeone's style, I won't look at their blog. I'm a traditional quilter; I love complex piecing and quilting. However, I enjoy many other styles even if I don't make quilts in those styles. Let's all be kind adults and enjoy what we enjoy and don't click on the sites we don't enjoy. I figure if I like a quilt, that's good enough because of the joy it brought to me to make it. I appreciate your feelings and hope you'll let the hurt dissolve quickly. It's like those politicians I disagree with...I wouldn't give this person anymore air time.

Anita said...

Some people are just plain mean and don't have any regard for other people's feelings. They lack manners and are totally self-centered. It is very apparent to me that this is one of those people that left the review on Amazon. It lacks any real criticism and is just a mean spirited rant. I, myself have a very hard time rising above such mean comments. I'm sorry that this mean person decided to dump on you and your work.

Leslie McNeil of MarveLes Art Studios said...

Malka, I appreciate your heart-felt comments! And I would visit your blog with or without pics! Yes, I noticed some of the thread/tension/stitches (I bought the book - LOVE IT!)... and I LOVE YOUR PLAY, and the beauty and creative heart that you present to us all AS A GIFT. It's really quite simple... let's speak blessing and encouragement into each other's lives... BUILD EACH OTHER UP... not rip, spew and tear each other down! Funny to read your post today... that was just exactly the theme of a small art collage quilt I last posted on my blog! I for one, thank God for you, and the artistry that you have been gifted with. CREATE ON!

Sarah said...

I've admired your work from afar for quite awhile now and I feel compelled to leave a comment and let you know how awful these comments are. Don't you mind them a bit! Your work is amazing and artistic and boundary pushing. You are generous with your knowledge and please don't let a few trolls keep you from continuing to share your work. Lots of love and respect!

Dawn S. said...

wow! That blog and the book review are just bad mannered, opinionated, snooty nonsense apparently made by people with no imagination and can only follow strict rules, instructions and patterns! you keep on going girl! I think your work is wonderful and apparently so do many others.

(I have not ordered your book yet, but you can bet I will - and I know that I will enjoy it thoroughly)

julie said...

I'm sorry about the comments. On the bright side, the blog post does relate your work to the Gee's Bend Quilts which to me is high praise indeed. I would agree, there is something of your spirit that shows through your work, even without the perfect 90ยบ angles... Don't let this keep you down!

Paula said...

I'm so sorry that your feelings were hurt. Mine would have been too.

It takes maturity to appreciate differences. And, with maturity comes kindness too.

There are many things in this world which we can get that upset over. Injustice, hunger, disease, and crime. Quilting is not on the list.

Why can't people just let others be themselves? I applaud your work and your bravery for putting it out there in the public eye.

Quilt or Dye said...

Yep, it takes a lot of doing to get above comments like that one. And then, just as you think you have put it behind you, something will bring it to mind again.

One trick that helps me is that I think about where the remark came from: "She must be a cranky person to be so angry and nasty about a book. She must be miserable having to put up with herself all the time." Then I can feel sorry for her and let it go.

moshiecreations said...

Malka, I've been following your blog for awhile now and it's always chock full of inspiration. Your work is very graphic and bold and it appeals to my design aesthetic as a graphic designer. I think you should be very proud of what you've accomplished and not let the naysayers get you down. They likely don't understand where your work comes from, and never will. Their loss. Keep up the great work and stay strong!

Mary said...

This is sad, really. It makes my heart hurt. If these women can say such mean things about you, a published, incredibly creative and original person, then what are us 'little folks' supposed to think about our own work? It is discouraging and kind of makes me feel like I am not worthy enough to put myself out there.

Rest assured, your willingness to rise above and continue to put yourself out there is quite inspiring.

Tracy said...

I agree, if someone doesn't have anything constructive to say in their criticism, then really, it's just garbage and they articulate themselves poorly. As for the blog article, she's entitled to her opinion about what the magazine is supposed to entail, but that's about it. She doesn't dig your style because it isn't how her Grandma would do it. Ok. The answer to that is, you aren't her Grandma and you're not going to quilt/stitch or sew like her. Apparently the editors and publishers and writers of that magazine thought that YOUR work was worthy enough to be in THEIR publication. And in the end, their opinion trumps hers.

Me, I'm not a fan of her "quilts". They aren't interesting to me and don't look like something I'd want to cuddle under. But everyone has their likes. I'd rather see a quilt that can be comforting as well as beautiful. And THAT is where you have it hands down. Even if I'm not the biggest fan of wonky or modern or super bright colors, your quilts still look inviting. And that's the most important part.

Building a quilt for love is a lot different than building a quilt for art, and it's hard to blend the two. I think you do an admirable job.

Pay no mind to the "haters". The world is full of them. You just do what makes your heart happy and the rest will just fall into place.

deanna7trees said...

these people are obviously living in the dark ages and are unaware of art in 2011. they are rule followers who never do anything 'out of the box' and don't know the meaning of creativity. you gave them more attention than i ever would have. they don't deserve any attention at all.

liberal sprinkles said...

Dear Malka, there will always be people who don't tolerate different styles, there will always be people who criticize, there will always be people who do it rudely and with vitriol and pretend it is practical criticism.
I love your blog, I love your work, I find it inspirational, and I'm sure I'm only one among loads of people who think so. You go girl!

Brenda said...

I like what you said and my first thought is that some of the people posting on blogs and on-line reviews don't understand the power of the published word. I'm a professional writer and reviewer and I hesitate before I criticize a book. I try to point out the good things and then mention what doesn't work. I think bloggers can sometimes forget that their words are in the public eye.
I really like your quilts and dyed fabrics and I hope you keep going in that direction, because it is considerably different than what others are doing.

sharon said...

I admire you for this post, it must be difficult to take unconstructive criticism! I think I feel like most of your blog readers, we love fabric and we love to quilt, but we also want something more! We can all follow patterns, make nice neat stitches and perfect seams, but we want challenge! I love your work because it pushes quilting to another level! So thank you for the crooked seams and big quilting stitches, at least they make me think and feel creative!

ElaineM said...

Malka, I think you hit the nail on the head...the anonymity of the internet causes people to lose their senses (and grace). I find it interesting that the people who are first to criticize and loudest spend more time criticizing than producing their own work. Others feel that the only way to advance what they do is to put down what others do. Unfortunately, those of us who like things are not as quick to say so. And so, the negative seems louder.

Keep on, my friend. Your work is fine and fun. I love your sense of color and how you combine them. I for one would be sad if you were discouraged and stopped your work.

Peace on...

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Malka, my dear, you are so much better than that “person” who wrote that ugly review. In my studio, we have NO straight lines, partly because I am happier without rigidity and sew only what keeps me happy and partly because of Harry Chapin’s song: Circle. I will just quote the one verse but do find him on u-tube and enjoy the entire experience.

"No straight lines make up my life;
All my roads have bends;
There's no clear-cur beginnings;
And so far, no dead ends.”

May each step we take lead the way to Peace.

Leanne said...

I love your book and your blog and your other patterns! I keep the book handy for inspiration and for empowerment - every one of your patterns speaks to me of being free to use colour and to play with patterns and to feel free to break the "rules" about precision.

These criticisms come from people who do not "get" you. Many artists can do precision but where they shine is when they let go of the rules and let the beauty and energy of the piece take over.

And you are right - encouragement is important for all of us, so I will take more time to stop and make positive comments and reviews as well.

Lee Anne said...

I appreciate your comments; constructive criticism is one thing but malicious comments are another. I have both of your books and have read and re-read them several times. You inspire me! Love your work - I appreciate you sharing your numerous talents!!!

Karen said...

Malka -
There is a lot of "bad" in the world (I'm not a religious person - but DO work in the public - I sell sewing Machines!)... I meet many people who, for whatever reason, are spiteful, hurtful, vain, jealous, angry, mad, (maybe even mentally unhealthy!) etc... they are and act out all those things we generally learned are "bad behaviour" as children.All this in public (which the internet is as well!). Luckily, the don't represent the majority of humanity! If anything, seeing this type of behaviour IN WRITING, makes it more impactful - as we learned at an early age the "importance" of the written word...it's hard to digest spiteful and angry writings and not take them seriously!
You just have to let it go, and remember, that YOU are not like that. Your work is vibrant, valuable, and worthy of celebration as well as constructive criticism. All will and can not celebrate. Know this, and move past it! See you at the AAQG workshop - where I will be anxious to learn all you have to offer this "wise" woman and quilter!- Karen Alexander

Colleen Kole said...

It is narrow-mindedness. I always try to find something unique in everyone's work because it is special and dear to their hearts. No matter what they are creating.
So sad that you have to experience this.

I just pulled out both of your books yesterday and they are happy places for me to visit. Your creativity, heart and happy times in creating are evident. Don't let this tarnish a splendid thing to be proud of.

I keep singing that Taylor Swift song that my teens are listening to(incessantly and making me crazy!)-"why you gotta be so mean"?-when someone says something rude to me.

Rise above and smile!

Sew Sane Jane said...

Well said! I hope people take it to heart - although the ones who will are the ones being nice in the first place. The lovely person who wrote that review will likely dis-regard any logic or suggestion for humanity!

Kate said...

I understand the reason for this post, but I still feel like you are above giving those two commenters five seconds of thought. It is never easy dealing with people who are not capable of supporting artists in all forms, that don't understand a technique different from their own. However, there are a ton of people, myself included, that stand in awe of the art you produce and showcase on your blog. The first time I saw one of your quilts my mind was totally blown with all the possibilities! You are an inspiration to many and I urge you to not be brought down by a few.

Blue Is Bleu said...

I work with a lot of people who were taught that there are stringent rules to quilting and veering from that would be the worst thing for most of them. I'm so thankful I've never allowed myself to be limited, and it's quilters like you who've taught me to be fearless and let my creativity loose. As much as the harsh, horrible words hurt, trust that your work is inspirational and simply amazing to so so so many.

Blue Is Bleu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Remembrances said...

What you have expressed is exactly why many of my fellow crafters will never "show" their work again or enter their work in shows. The way I look upon the self-appointed keepers of the "rules" is that they truly are amazingly full of themselves to the point where they feel that they have a "duty" to speak their mind, no matter how vile, vulgar or nasty. They are, after all, the only ones in the whole world who truly know how to do "it" correctly! That is such a sad way to live. They truly must be small, miserable people to be so vitriolic!

Peggy said...

As a creative person, I believe we are always on the edge of doubt about our work. In my opinion, there should be no doubt about how beautiful your work is. It takes great discipline to create a body of work that is unique to you. I can look at pieces in a magazine or book or blog and know that it is your work and for that alone you should be very proud of your accomplishments.

Mary Keasler said...

Welll said! I checked out "that blog" and was very unimpressed with her "art". Talk about completeing with second graders. She must be a very unhappy person to have written that. I am appalled at her lack of sensitivity and was tempted to post to her blog. But then, I realize that it would be fruitless, as she obviously considers herself so far above most of us. I apologize in advance it this sounds mean spirited, but I have never been so shocked. Keep on doing it your way, Malka, and ignore people like that.

beth lehman said...

it's easy to write things you wouldn't say... it's hard to think about and take the time to say things well - I love your work and find it so inspiring - keep rocking on!

Vivika said...

All anger, however verbalized, is said to be anger at God for not making the universe as he/she (the person who is angery) would make it. Se let it go. Let it flow over you like water over a stone, gently making you a stronger and more beautiful person for not responding.

Allabitrandom said...

Ow! Not nice, but no publicity is bad publicity ( either way you look at it!) I like the book I bought anyway!

The Calico Cat said...

WOW - (At least Ann had the nerve to put her name to her comment.)

I fear that what you have eitnessed/experienced is a product of our times...

The anonymity of the internet has made many people feel uninhibited.

Think about it, when you are in the check out line at the grocery store, "Do people end their cell phone conversations - or tamper them so that the poor cashier does not have to hear about that ahem infection?" NO

If you are on a crowded plane/bus/etc. how many people keep their iPods cranked to the highest volume so that you get to enjoy the noise as well?

I still fall back on "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Meanwhile, I am collecting fabrics to make a low volume quilt that is very much inspired by your quilts & those by Rita at Red Pepper Quilts.

Dance like no one is watching!

(Try not to think, "they are jealous because they have not published a book", etc.)

Carole said...

Malka, I read your blog every day but have never commented before. I could not not respond to your post today. Your work is beautiful and your use of color is awesome! Even people with different taste would have to recognize and appreciate that. The nasty comments you cited must have come from women who work strictly by the rules and don't have the creative skills or desire to break free and do something really innovative. There's nothing wrong with that if that's their taste but other more imaginative work should not be considered less worthy. In fact, it takes more experience, effort, and creativeness to accomplish this kind of work.

Poppyprint said...

Thank you Malka, for giving us the opportunity to reassure you that your work inspires our creativity and shows us the beautiful results of fearless use of colour and line.

Please continue to share your original work with us - the people who visit your space daily and appreciate your many talents!

Kelly O. said...

you inspire me more than you could even know. so there.

house on hill road said...

oh, malka, i am so sorry that you have to deal with this. criticism in this vein is unkind and hurtful. i give you huge props for putting your work out there. you are an inspiration to me and many others. big hugs. xo.

Miranda said...

I've been visiting your blog but never posted. But I felt like I had to today. Creativity should be fostered period. If someone doesn't like something, they should just say so and not make it personal. Who is anyone to say that someone's creation isn't "good enough" or "creative enough"? To me that is wrong. I think your blog is great, I've seen some great things on here that I would never think of! All these comments are your support! Just use them to cancel out the negative people who feel the need to bring others down for no reason other than they think that it is OK to do that sort of thing..

Threadbare said...

Aside from being mean spirited, those comments are just wrong. You are inspiring a new generation of quilters with your work in a way that traditional quilting has not been able to do. Your books and blog posts and generous spirit go way beyond just creating a showcase for your own craft, they make everyone feel they can achieve the same. Keep up the great work!

Lisa ONeill said...

RESPECT - when did everyone leave it at the door!!!

mek said...

I teach college English and my students know that while it is okay to not like a book, if that is what you want your essay to be about, you'd better have substantive and thought-out reasons behind your opinion.

It sounds like there are a lot of people out there that were never taught that. And a lot of people who never learned it where I did - in the fiery hell of undergraduate writing workshops!

Here's to the conversation that matters - thank you for being a smart, responsible, inspiring part of the ongoing creative conversation!

QUILT ROUTES said...

When I first discovered quilting blogs, yours was one of the first I came across, and I still follow it because I find your work inspirational. If I had only come across blogs written by the "quilt police" I would have given up years ago. Your style opened up a whole new world to me and I thank you for that. I am just sorry that it took something horrible and upsetting, to make me get around to telling you this.
Keep up the good work!
Deborah

HollyM said...

I am so sorry that you had to read something like that about yourself. I've experienced a couple of similar things in my life and they were devastating. It took some time to get over them. You're right about the difference between politeness and sheer nastiness. This was not nice. There will always be someone out there like that--I encountered one yesterday in line at a store.
Take some deep breaths and affirm to yourself that your work os valid and loved by many.

momto2wasd said...

That Amazon "reviewer" is just mean. As you say, it's fine if she doesn't like it, but she doesn't need to be mean. I always wonder what makes people treat others so horribly. I have a severely autistic son, and sometimes I get comments that truly blow me away.
Your quilts are wonderful. It's a shame that people can't always see that different isn't wrong (I'm thinking of your big hand-stitching that the blogger criticized).

Rachel Hauser said...

You are so brave to bring this to the forefront. You're absolutely right. Sometimes even adults need a reminder to treat others the way we'd like to be treated. I love your work and your book. I find your style absolutely inspiring!

Jeni said...

So sorry to hear this, people can be downright mean!

Just want to say how much I am inspired by and admire your work! After using your first book to dye some of my own fabrics, I have such a greater appreciation for the time and care you take in your quilts! I am constantly inspired by your fearless use of color and shape, keep it up! I don't purchase a lot of craft/quilting books, but both of your books were no-brainers! I love them both and refer to them often for inspiration.

Sending hugs! :)

teaginny said...

The blogger and reviewer obviously don't understand the modern quilting movement. Their loss! I love reading your blog and return to your most recent book again and again. Keep doing your work! It is appreciated!

Jenny said...

I'm so sorry for that! I just made a quilt with all solids inspired by you!! I thank you for that! I love what your doing...thanks again!!

erin said...

Keep up the good work Malka, I find your style so inspiring and relaxing! Can't wait for summer to dye some fabric myself! Cheers to you, erin

O'Quilts said...

Ignore it. Do not let her opinion take up any space in your brain or heart.

Michele said...

Goodness, I had no idea there were cranky crafters out there. Midol or red wine, anyone? I happen to adore everything you make and I hope you don't let the cranksters dampen your genius ability to create and inspire.

mathea said...

What a sad and miserable person your "critic" must be - she should make an effort to get a life!
You on the other hand should be applauded for the amount of colour and inspiration you bring into mine!
Please don't let those comments get to you, but keep up your wonderful work. I often get that happy "wow"-feeling when I look at something you have made, and it is instantly recognizable as yours, which means that you have developed a unique style of your own. Your work often has me running to my stash eager to start a new project. I love your books and wouldn't hesitate to press the pre-order button should Amazon tell me that there is a new one on the way, because I would know that I'm in for a treat.
xoxoxo

tutto a posto said...

I think that the person who criticized your work is just envious of your talents and popularity. The vocabulary used wasn't well-mannered let alone professional and it reeked of anger. Know that so many people love your work and have purchased your books (myself included).

You are right, this kind of thing as hurtful as it is goes with the territory of putting yourself in the public eye. Let it go and concentrate on your fans. Sheryl

Jean said...

Malka I *love* your quilts! That's why I subbed to your blog! I think people just have to be very careful to put brain in gear before typing on the Internet. My guess is this vitriol just flowed out the fingertips without a second thought. I've instituted the habit of typing all blog copy off-line first, and then editing before posting as a result of this very thing. Sometimes what I typed was taken the wrong way. :(

Debbie said...

Malka, I have enjoyed reading and seeing your creations on your blog. I like your style and creativity. I would like to let go more and live thru all the other artists who can. My Mother also taught me that if you do not have anything nice to say then do not say anything. Art is very personal. It is made with heart and soul. Keep up the great work. You have done very well rising above. hugs

Why Not Sew? said...

WOW! I can't even believe someone wrote those things. No class. So unkind. I love your work. When I look at your quilts they make me happy and put a smile on my face. Haters need to step off!!! :)

emma said...

dear malka - i am a complete quilting novice and for a while i felt quite overwhelmed by the accurate way traditional quilting is done. your blog not only encourages me to try things i may be nervous about, but also gives me a freedom to learn and try new things. i think your work is stunning. thank you for taking the time to share it with us.

jacquie said...

Must be nice to "KNOW" what art is, what makes quilt art, and be so sure. I read her blog post and cringed at her words. Is my work not "elevated" enough to call it art? I agree with Linda about how quick folks are to criticize. A true book review is thoughtful and has evidence to support the conclusions. The review simply shows a lack of thoughtful analysis and no use of the true language of argument. I am continually inspired by your design work. Keep your chin up and thanks so much for having the courage to write this post.

kathryn said...

Part of me feels sorry for that book reviewer. How confined and restricted her world must be! I, for one, marvel at your work and envy your talents.
Thank you for sharing them with us. XO

Rocio said...

Just look at the amount of followers you have and the nice comments you get about your work. I think that this is a clear indication that there is a LOT of people who like very much what you do. When I bought your first book I got a lot of inspiration. I do not have the last one yet but it is definitely in my wish list and I am sure I will be inspired as well.
Keep up the good work and keep us inspiring us as you've been doing so far!!!

BelleArtMom said...

She only has 50 followers, you have close to 1,000! Enough said. :-)

Holly said...

I believe we have something to learn from everyone, and it is our job as artists/crafters/humans to pay close attention, use our curiosity, and keep an open mind to allow inspiration and teaching to influence us (especially when we also recognize things we don't like or don't want to learn from!)

I find your work very inspirational! I hope that others will choose to look for something positive in everything they encounter, rather than nitpicking or complaining. If we all agreed or disagreed 100% with others, the world would be a pretty boring place!

I need orange said...

It has always seemed to me that the people who are venomous about someone else's success are the ones who are so jealous they can barely see straight.

When someone else's work is in a show, or a book, or, heaven forfend, that person actually writes and has published a book, while the jealous one has not done those things.......... Those jealous feeling explode into a slime of nastiness.

I believe that's where the feelings come from that lead to the inexcusable behavior you've experienced.

Feeling it is one thing; acting on it in such a nasty way is another. Shame on her.

I LOVE your work. Love the color, love your ideas about how to put the colors together.....

I am so sorry that you were exposed to this nastiness.

-- Vicki, adding a little weight to the other side of the scale

Debbie said...

I love your work, your book and your blog!!!!!!
Thank You for everything you do!

Leslie said...

I definitely agree with a lot of the other posts here. These reviews say a lot about the person who writes them. Frankly, I wouldn't want the admiration that comes from that sort of mentality anyway. You are creative, innovative and inspiring to many and that is always going to ruffle the feathers of the stodgy quilt police. Go boldly forth... :)

Ang-e said...

That review and blog post are perfect examples of what is wrong in the quilting world. Need more evidence? Just visit your local quilt shop. They just don’t “get” modern quilting. If it doesn’t fit into their mold of what a quilt should be or how you should make it, then it is shunned. You are a true artist and a trailblazer. You’re breaking the rules of the quilting world and some just can’t handle it. However, the rest of us are enjoying the challenge of the new possibilities you and other modern quilters are showing us. Keep it up, please.
As for those nasty people who hide behind their keyboard, print their comments on card stock (or any other paper that is satisfying to tear). It will help you realize they are just words and cannot do anything to you that you do not allow them to do. Give a good cry if you need to and tear them up. Really shred the paper with your hands. Throw it and the bad energy it caused you in the trash, never to be seen or heard from again.
“Never let anyone rent space in your head for free.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

Meg said...

Malka, I am truly inspired by everything you do. I have been in awe of your batik process and have been trying to incorporate some of your techniques into my own work. And when I see how you put it all together in your quilts....I WISH I could be an artist at your level. I love your aesthetic. I love the playful feel both your quilts and your fabric have. They speak to me, they sing to me.

Christie, Describe Happy said...

Deep breath in.... cleansing breath out.

Keep up your thick skin and enjoy the fruits of your labor. I might worry if every single comment was like, but even then, I know I create because it makes me happy. I am doing it for me, not for someone else.

Keep true to who you are and enjoy the ride!

WandaFish said...

I'm sorry that ignorant, mean-spirited people feel the need to put unconsidered and hurtful views in the public domain. I'm even more sorry when I waste my time reading them!

I do hope that you won't allow anything or anyone to stifle your creativity.

Pam said...

Sorry to hear that Malka. It never ceases to amaze me that quilters/artists (women), can't be more supportive of each other. Tearing down someone's talent, or style does not make our own more legitimate. There is room for all.

keep doing what you do. We appreciate it. And I'm glad to see some of the more traditional magazines are becoming more inclusive.

Audrey said...

OUCH! Your readers are right. The comments are rude and unwarranted. We Americans feel free to criticize everybody from the President to the next-door-neighbor, so try not to take it seriously. It's a bad habit for some people.

Meanwhile, I'd like you to remember that if your work weren't first-rate, the editors wouldn't have published you in the pages of American Craft Magazine.

I eagerly bought your second book (at full price!) a month before it was available on Amazon because after seeing the photos online I was too excited to wait. And for me, it has become exactly what you had hoped it would: a reference book of instructions and ideas on things to make, choosing fabrics and colors, and quilting design. Just the springboard you set out to create.

I like the second one so much I promptly bought the first one. I'm waiting for some warm weather and I'll be out playing with dyes.

Maybe this unwarranted incident will help us all remember that when we don't care for something, it's much kinder--and no less productive--to just turn the page, click to the next blog, and choose to spend our time looking at something that inspires us more.

God bless!

namoo said...

I love your design. As you said, "helpful not hurtful" criticism would work better. Unfortunately, some wouldn't do so.. I am sorry you have to go through this. Hope you can have a better day and thank you for sharing your story.

Joy said...

Oh, Malka... people have no class. Thank you for addressing this issue with poise and grace. There is no need to absorb such crap. I agree with your assessment that the anonymity of the internet gives people a new sort of boldness. That does not make it acceptable.

I'm going to Amazon right now and leaving a review of both your books. I apologize that I never got around to it.
Your work inspires me! Your bold use of color gives me the courage to get my own daring ideas out of my head and into the real world.

Ally said...

I want you to know that your work is very well respected and admired! I am a baby quilter (started almost a year ago) and yours is one of the blogs that has inspired me with every post! I love your use of color, your fabric choices and your stitching! My mother in law has been quilting for twenty years and I sent her your blog. She is much more traditional than I and while she may not use the same style, she started following your blog as well! She too loved the "fresh" look of the things that you do. I understand that not everyone is going to like everything you do and especially when you are off the traditional path, not everyone will agree with your choices, BUT there is a difference as you said in not agreeing with you and being mean. This persons opinions were just ramblings with no support. I understand why it hurt, but know that it was just a mean person and you have so many people (like me) that are inspired by your ideas and respect your work. When people say things that are less than sweet just think of us and remember that you are affecting many people in a fabulous way!

elizabethdee said...

Malka, those comments would get under my skin, too, and I might just pop over to Amazon (where I bought your book) and rate that review as unhelpful.

One thing to keep in mind: a byproduct of the anonymity conferred by the internet is the illusion--however fleeting-- of respectability. You end up paying attention to people whom you would avoid at a glance in real life. Sometimes that turns out to be a wonderful thing; in this case, it's truly unfortunate.

Thanks for your books, your patterns, your blog. You do beautiful work and my days are richer for it.

Corinne said...

Would you believe that I actually TOUCHED your INCREDIBLE quilts at Stitch Lab this afternoon...?!?!? I couldn't wait to visit the shop on this trip to Austin, and I asked the young lady who helped me to tell you that I am a great admirer of yours and enjoy reading your blog every day!! I am so sorry that you have been so unjustly criticized, for your work is stellar and your sense of color flawless...It is a sad truth of our times that we are living in an increasingly UNcivil society, where one can say whatever one wants without fear of reprisal. The comfort comes in my Mom's old maxim, "Goodness is its own reward"...chin up, Malka, you are AMAZING!!!

Anonymous said...

I would just like to echo what everyone else has said. I love the book and find it an inspiration. Judith.

Terri said...

I read the review to which you refer. I can't help wondering why on earth she bought the book in the first place. Amazon lets you look inside books before you order them for heaven's sake! This lady sews "for precision" and should have had the sense to see that this would not be her "cup of tea." When I look inside this book, I see delicious use of color and texture and think to myself "I want to be able to do that too."

I hope that reviewers friends don't see it because who would want to give her a present, ever again, after reading that!

Kris said...

I am a frequent visitor here who comments occasionally. I think these people just never listened to their Mothers when they said. "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." I also agree with the commenters who say that some people think that there is only one right way to do things. This idea is epidemic in our society which is strange because we are all so very obviously very different from each other.

So, for those who feel the need to criticise: If you don't like the book/magazine/tv show/blog/pattern put it down. Step away from it. Stop reading/looking at it. And just walk away. That's all you have to do. Nothing else is required.

niki said...

Yeah, I saw that review of your book and laughed my a-- off. I promptly ordered the book. The reviewer sounded like a real pill and I thought if he/she hated your book so much, I'd probably love it. Keep up your terrific work.

carol said...

I'm so sorry this happened to you. As far as I'm concerned, it was totally unjustified. Poop on them both! You are an icon to many and don't you forget it!

piece peace said...

Try to remember Malka, it is more a criticism of the author of that hateful post, than of you or your work. That is for sure. On the brighter side, if you were not so talented, then this person would not even have your book to "review."

I love your work, and I appreciate your blog. I check it daily!

Bry said...

Wow there is certainly a difference between criticism and meanness. That was the latter. I loved the book and think that it was extremely inspirational, and have seen your pieces at the Stitch Lab and marveled over them. It is frustrating when people are mean spirited like that and certainly hard to ignore. Just know that even though that 1 person chose to criticize you in such an immature manner 10 other people learned and were totally inspired from your work!

Crystal Stanworth said...

i love your stuff. you made a great book - for people like me - not the others who are inconsiderate.
:o)

Marg M said...

love following your blog and enjoy your work so much so thanks

Netta said...

Malka, I find that too often a person who needs to lash out mindlessly is hurting deep inside... time to add them to the prayer list. Your willingness to share your work and processes has encouraged me to think maybe I too could give it a try... with your guidance :). You are inspiring. Thank you.

Lisa said...

Malka I cannot believe the hard hearts that are around us! Personally I love your most recent book and made the big step of purchasing it for our guild's library, and I have heard nothing but praise for it from our members. I am about to launch into a 'malka-inspired' quilt for my mum and showed her your book, she loved it too although her usual thing is baltimore type quilts. She is very excited that I am going to make her a quilt inspired by your lovely work.

The internet is such a huge place I cannot believe that people who do not like something can't just move onto something else. I mean, there's something for everyone out there isn't there, so why bother with such mean spirited comments! Don't worry - I reckon for every mean comment there must be 1000 or more nice ones for your fabulous work.

Linda/Thistledown and Co. said...

Malka - I am sending you a hug for the hurtful comments you had to read, and a hi five for talking about it.
Obviously your work is well loved (by me as well) and it is a real shame that there are always a few that feel the need to be mean-spirited rather than constructive in their feedback. Please don't let that stop you from enjoying what you do, how you do it, and sharing it with those of us who find your work fresh and amazing!

Lori said...

I adore your work. Your eye for color is amazing. I constantly try to come up with arrangements that I like as much as yours but always seem to miss something.
People can be such pains. It's hard to remember when being vilified but the comment made by the blogger says way more about her than about your work. Keep sharing your talents with us!

SummersDesigns said...

I have been reading your blog for a long time now, and I love it. I have NEVER seen anything on here that I haven't loved and find it very inspirational to me. I would be proud to have someone give me an item of your work. Please don't be discouraged!

Krista said...

It took all the restraint I had not to post a comment on that woman's blog saying she was a big meany. Some people are just so damned closed-minded it's unbelievable.

You make such beautiful, energetic pieces Malka. I'm so glad you blog and share your creations with all of us, because they are absolutely inspiring.

Anna Circo said...

I admire you for addressing this. I'm just starting to prepare patterns and such and I find myself face to face with fear of making a mistake. But we must move forward. Go for it. There is room for all of us in the world and your designs are amazing.

Dianne said...

When My feelings were hurt by unkind words my grandmother would say "consider the source dear" and if I said something unkind she would say "If you can't speak kindly don't speak at all". Words to live by. Don't let these insensitive louts get to you Malka. The work you do appeals to a large group of craftspeople/quilters/sewists/artists who regularly tell you how much they enjoy it. focus on that.let those be the words that ring in your ears. Forget the rest - consider the source :0)

Brenda said...

Generally, I'm a lurker, but I have to comment. I am particularly drawn to your amazing color choices and bought Fresh Quilting to get a better sense of how you make your color choices. While I probably won't make any of the projects, I enjoy looking at this book over and over.

Please don't let the jerks get you down. I'm a college teacher who keeps a "smile file" with notes, printed out email messages, etc. to look at when I get bothered by negative feedback. Maybe that would be an effective strategy for you.

Sonia said...

omg. i think your work is fantastic, and whoever wrote that needs their ass kicked. RUDE and hateful doesn't even describe it.

Margie Kraft said...

Oh Malka, it's amazing how hurtful people can be. Just remember it is a small mind that has to hurt others to make themselves feel bigger! Criticism can be constructive and can enable us to grow, but mean-ness is only destructive. Shame on them! Keep up the good work!

Izzy Herriette & Co/Ginger Renken said...

Take comfort in the truth that you are where you are because of what you do, not in spite of it. I, for one, happen to love your style! Not only your style but your unique abilities in dying and then onto original patterns and your own creative perception of things. I wouldn't be the least moved by what this poet had to say - not the least moved! I would more feel sad for them that they are lacking what they're obviously lacking. Be encouraged to forge onward and upward. You have created your own path for others to enjoy something fresh, new and innovative! Blessings.

Rachel said...

Let me start by saying that I have never seen so many responses to a blog post. You obviously have many, many fans, including me. :)
Growing up I was always told that people who say nasty things like this are jealous. Just say'n.

GroovyMoonChild said...

Very well stated Malka. I support you and your arguments!

Monet said...

For every hater out there are a thousand people who love you and think your work is beautiful. F*ck them! You're amazing and an inspiration to all of us.

Linda Teddlie Minton said...

Well, I hesitated to even leave a Comment, since you already have so many. But I just have to say, as my grandmother always told me, "Consider the source". Anyone who is so vicious in their "review" obviously has other problems, totally unrelated to you and your book. Keep on keepin' on ...

junglewife said...

I have been reading your blog for a while and I am not sure I have ever commented. But I just had to say something here (and by the number of comments, I am guessing I am not the only one!) I LOVE reading your blog. Your style is not quite the same as mine, but I just love reading your blog and looking at your pictures for color and technique inspiration. I love reading about how you dye your fabric, and seeing the finished products, although I don't think that is something I will ever do myself. You are a great crafty inspiration to me, and I hope that you just keep on doing what you have been doing, because I think you and your work inspire a lot of us! Don't get discouraged!

Linda Teddlie Minton said...

I just posted a minute ago, but in going back to the listing on Amazon.com, I realized I could leave a Comment on the offending Review! Maybe others could do so, as well, to help counteract the one negative review.
No affiliation, Yada Yada. I just hate to see an author of such a beautiful book get such a bum rap.

Wendy, The Fabric Quarter said...

Wow - There are some un-nice people out there. You are a star in the modern quilting world with your style. I wish I had half your courage with color.
For what its worth, your book sits next to my bed and I look to it for inspiration on a regular basis. Gee... maybe I'm just a 2nd grader :)
Keep your chin up.
Best, Wendy - the Fabric Quarter

Kristine said...

Dear Malka,
I'm sorry you have experienced a small-minded person's review. I'm a big believer that "what goes around comes around" and the energy you put out is what you get back. I'm sure your life is richer and fuller and more rewarding than the person who wrote that review. If that's what she puts out, I can only imagine her days are full of negative and hostile encounters. Meanwhile, we all LOVE what you do.

Dan R said...

I am sure that amazon reviewer has something to teach us all about tension.

But seriously, I think her review is actually useful. Each of us knows our sewing strengths and goals. We also know the people who criticize and obsess over things that aren't so important to us. For some it's technique, for others it's design, etc. In the context of all the other reviews, I recognize the author of that review as someone I never want to talk to about any project I like, or any project I make. When a person writes a review, they reveal as much about themselves as they do about the subject of the review. And we get it, so don't worry.

Which is also why you should not read user reviews, and certainly not respond to them. Let it be about them (really we all know it's about them) and don't engage and make it about you.

p.s. I love your book.

noga quilts said...

Malka, don't get discouraged! You are a true artist.On top of creating beautiful things, you are also innovative,daring and you push quilt making to new directions. Not everyone can see and understand a true work of art. Some people are stuck with rules and guidelines because they are too limited. Remember the harsh criticism impressionists got?

Ignore the narrow minded and limited, keep doing your wonderful work! You are a great inspiration!

Little Green Doll said...

Oh, I'm upset to read this book review and this blog post :( It's a long time I'm following your blog because I love your works and your style... so, do they mean that I don't have good taste? or that I don't know to appreciate good work?? I understand that you can like or not some work, but people should always be aware of the hard work behind. I think there is one word that can define them: envious.

Kate said...

Dear Malka - look at the numbers - you have heaps of positive comments, you have heaps of followers who love your work, you have heaps of positive reviews for the book - some people are just plain mean or don't get it or don't think. Whatever. Stay strong, your stuff rocks because it speaks of you - vibrant, honest, fun, different etc etc etc!!!!

Rayna said...

Malka - it is obvious to me (and was, indeed, obvious when I originally read this review) that the reviewer is the one with the issue, not the book. Not every book is for every reader and if she is a perfectionist who can't free herself up to play and be spontaneous, it is HER problem. This is the wrong book for someone like that - and the right book for people who care more about enjoying what they do than having the points match. Bleh - I suspect that everybody who reads this takes it with a grain - nay - a CUP of salt!
best regards from one author to another who believes in a sense of joy and play!

emilysmithpearce said...

Good grief! I can't believe what some people will say on the internet. While it's nice to have a forum for unprofessional critiques, sometimes they're so completely UNPROFESSIONAL! I've been burned by online critiques, too. People often seem to forget that there's a PERSON behind every book and artwork. As for me, I'm completely uninterested in precision, and I love your work. Ignore people like this the best you can.

Jacky said...

Thanks for writing this post....You have put yourself out there and people love what you are doing! Thats why we pop by to visit (sorry if I dont always leave a comment) and we are continually inspired by your work.
My patchwork used to be very traditional, but I have moved onto more contemporary, individual fabric work ....its all personal choice and it is a shame for people to not be open to other ways of doing things.
Thank you for your wonderful textile art and this wonderful blog.

Jacky

patty a. said...

I seems that the ones critizing have not taken the time to understand your work. The string quils by AB are graphic but nothing new. The precision quilting lady doesn't seem to understand that just because everypiece isn't the same doesn't mean that the technique isn't there. I think these negative people need to get a life! I had one of the superintendents comment about a piece I have hanging in the office. He asked why it wasn't square or rectangular. I wanted a more organic feel to it rather than being stiff and straight. He understood and said he like it. So keep doing your own thing, because your work is wonderful!

cauchy09 said...

As much of my current work challenges those with "delicate sensibilities" I have be the recipient of a few anonymous hateful comments lately. These issues weigh heavily on my mind right now.

The blog post you link to and its follow-up comments smack of jealousy and the kind of judgment that comes from a nasty place rather than a professional one.

Thanks for speaking up about the issue of civility in the community. We need to be much kinder to each other.

Jennifer said...

oh, malka. that stinks.

you and i and many others feel that life is not about fitting into molds. it's about making and breaking them, and seeing what happens next. it's about experimentation and adventure. for many of us, that is joyful.

i think i told you that my mother is a fine quilter. her every stitch matches up perfectly to the next, each square just so. her sewing and quilting brings a tremendous amount of joy to her life, and that makes me happy. she taught me to sew. and yet today, i do what i do - which is very different - and she celebrates it. never once has she told me that my approach is wrong, or that things should be a certain way. nor have i ever done so to her. we respect one another's work and are both happy with that.

it's too bad that not everyone in the world is respectful of others, that they cannot see beyond the mold. it's a story as old as time. you are an explorer and some people cannot see that. and maybe they never will. it's lousy that they throw stones. they may be fearful. but perhaps that is all they know.

you know better, my friend. you know who you are. and you are fabulous. xoxo

Leslie said...

Just ignore mean spirited people. I know it is hard but they are not worth the effort and who cares what they think anyway.

heatherknits said...

I totally agree that derisory comments are uncalled for, though unfortunately a fact. However, I hope you can distance yourself from the blog post a bit. My reading is that the criticism is truly of the magazine, not you work. And in case it needs to be any clearer, that post only warranted five comments, whereas I think this one makes 134 on this post. Let that speak for itself. I know there is a difference between popularity and level of artistry, but honestly - perfect is boring. I would rather see someone shooting for "fresh" than perfect. Maybe American Craft Magazine misjudged their audience, and too bad for them.

Susan Turney said...

Hopefully the people who wrote those reviews will read your response and learn something! While reading their statements, my heart started pounding and I almost felt ill. I can almost imagine what you must have felt like before you wrote your post.
However, after you posted I hope you felt so much better since class and thoughtfulness, like cream, always rise to the top.

dreamalittle said...

Whilst there are hundreds upon hundreds of people turning out quilts with perfectly mitered corners, exactly matching colour ways and ridiculously intricate stitching the individuality that you lend to your quilts is 'art'. It is more 'art' than those slavishly following dull and too often repeated quilt designs! Take it on the chin and know that you're a million times more talented!

I've just recently completed my first quilt and was so worried that it didn't 'conform' to a quilting pattern/style till I realised that it's MY style and that's what matters!

Jennifer L. said...

Malka, I drop in at least once a week just to enjoy your work. I have a busy corporate job that I hate and doesn't leave me much time to craft, but checking in with your blog and a few others helps inspire me to work sewing and knitting into my schedule. Your colors are gorgeous and in my opinion, just right, and they make me happy. I've never commented before, but I thought I should now.

Mel said...

I rarely buy crafting books but I bought your book and I love it. I've adapted one of your designs for a quilt and have a few more ideas in the works. Good luck to you, keep creating!

madaboutpatchwork said...

Your blog and book are completely inspiring. Forget the rude comment and just keep on doing what you're doing.

patty a. said...

Just to let you know I there is a post on AB's blog about your post and I left a comment, but I don't know if it will be made visiable. I said if she had a issues with a artist that is featured in the American Craft magazine, then she needed to contact the magazine about the content and not the artist. The editorial staff thought you were a positive addition to their magazine and mission so AB's problem needs to be with the magazine staff and not you.

Diane said...

Good for you for speaking up, Malka. You are right -- there is a difference between fair and appropriate critique, and derision. I also hate to see how some of the folks who are claiming they want quilting arts to be accepted as ART are the worst at deriding and scorning the breadth of quilt art that is out there.

You clearly put a unique vision and artistry into what you do, and you are generous in sharing with others. Please don't let some snide minority make you feel bad. Your talent, and more importantly, your kind and generous spirit, shows through what you do.

Jeannie said...

I feel compelled to sympathize with you definetly. People have opinions and if they have an easy way to share them they will. As people who work with the public in a creative capacity (i'm a web designer/developer and graphic artist for a living) MUST have a thick skin if confronted with negative feedback. When that happens, I almost instantly have flash backs to all of the people over my 10 year career who have loved and gushed about my work. The resolve to accept criticism in me comes from knowing that 'we are never going to be the best' and I believe it's important to have a 'can always get better' attitude with anything. I know this because I've seen things I was proud of 5 years ago, even last week, that I see how 'i could improve'. That being said, if we for a moment try to stand in that negative commenters shoes, and try to see what they are seeing...maybe you'll see something...maybe you won't so take what you can learn and discard the rest and move on to the next project as an opportunity for greatness! Chin Up!

colorquilter said...

What a meanie!!! She has no fun, I can tell! I had to laugh at Michele's comment, "midol or wine anyone?" giggle. Just remember all the people who are inspired by you and cared enough to tell you. If anyone else has the gall to be mean to you, then we'll all get together and beat them up (verbally) for you. So there!!!

angela said...

I know this upsets you and I don't blame you, but those of who know, really know your work don't pay any attention to it. I actually saw this post when I ordered the book and felt it sounded exactly like someone I knew and was so tempted to ask her if she had written it!!!! Well, what goes around comes around.

Alexandra said...

Ah, criticism. Tricky business.

These are my rules for criticism as it applies to me. I'll share them in case they help.

1) What criteria is the criticizer using? Is it MY criteria on how I judge myself? If it's not my criteria, then that must be ignored entirely.

Ex. Following traditional quilting rules/criteria seem to be things you are trying to break away FROM. You are more interested in creating your own style and exploring that - I think that's what I got from your post. In that case, ignore anything that's rules-y (which is a lot).

2. What made me really angry in the posting? Why? B/c they don't get it or because they found something that I DO wish I was better about and want to improve?

If anything's in that category, use it to get closer to your goals. Again, one must pick through criticism b/c there's usually a gem in there, albeit a gem in a sea of crap :-)

Keep the faith. Your stuff is great and you have a process that works for you. Overall, from what you've said, my thought is these people just don't get what you are doing and are unfortunately being loud about it. That said, clearly a lot of people ARE getting what you are doing and really like it and are inspired by it - self included. Go with those people for your confidence, not folks who are judging you on rules that aren't even yours!

FWIW.

Digs (Amanda Carestio) said...

Malka, know that for every one of those critics there are so (SO!) many more people who are continually inspired by your work. Thank you for doing what you do!

JBmorristown said...

I am not only happy that I bought your book, but made someone else happy with a gift idea from the book. There are always those who will not see eye to eye, and phrase their disagreement poorly.

Digs (Amanda Carestio) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle Engel Bencsko said...

I have a real distaste reading reviews like that about anything... even in the cases where I might even agree. It's just poison for poison's sake. It's abhorrent. It's a "rating" not a "berating", people...

I know it's hard to combat negativity... it's so dark and pungent. But really, in the world in which you flourish, this is not your person and those comments, though hurtful, don't sway those who admire you and your work. You are not out to please that one (or few) who can not (will not) be pleased. Harder said than done I know, but brush it off and toss it in the can where it belongs. You're awesome. Let the above compliments wash over you and erase those venomous stings.

Cindy Grisdela said...

Wow! It's hard to believe people are so mean-spirited. I love your work! When I first found your blog I thought I had found a kindred spirit--I should have taken the time to comment sooner. I have your book as well--it makes me smile to look through it. Keep up the good work!!

jenn said...

Who made this lady judge of all fine art? Are you kidding me? If she needs to make herself feel better.. well, pity on her. The world is big enough for many artist's. Seriously who does this?
I have long admired your work, it is unique, original, and most importantly it is YOU! What a

Lauren said...

Before I discovered modern quilting, I was paralyzed by traditional quilters and those who "sew for precision". I was too intimidated to even begin a project. While I had the fabric, the batting and all the other things I needed, I still couldn't make a quilt. What you, and so many others, are doing is making quilting accessible. How wonderful is that?! I have now made two quilts, one baby sized and one twin sized, and I never could have done that without the inspiration of you and others who embrace the art of quilting and let go of the rigidity of quilting. So, while this woman didn't appreciate your book, I would probably never want a book she wrote, because, while I would probably appreciate the beauty of her quilts, I would once again feel paralyzed by the exactness. What you do is free people and let them create. Keep doing what you're doing, because clearly, I'm not the only one who agrees that what you do is amazing!

gchaney said...

That type of criticism is cowardly! Would those people have the nerve to say those things right to you? Probably not. Rest assured there are many people who respect your work. Ignore such snobbery.

Diana Burrell said...

Last year when I saw your Tuesday pillow on the cover of Stitch, it took my breath away. I'd never quilted anything before, but that pillow inspired me to give it a go. I've been a fan of yours since.

BTW, I've written three nonfiction books and hundreds of articles -- people can be nasty. I've learned to focus on my fans and tell the naysayers who contact me directly, "You certainly do have opinions on this -- best of luck with your own endeavors!"

sugarcreekstuff said...

There is so much nasty out in the world. Is that how we want it to be?

I love your work.

PrairiePeasant said...

Kindness and respect seem to be going by the wayside with people spending more time online and less time with face to face interactions. Thanks for presenting your concerns so graciously. I find your work very inspiring--please don't let this slow you down!

Chrystal said...

Love your blog, love your book. People have their own opinions, (which makes life interesting!), but are too quick to point out their negative opinions and not the positive. Your style inspires me and I appreciate what you produce. Try to keep rising above the negative-ninnies - unfortunately they're always out there and ready to voice their opinion.

happy zombie said...

She must a blast at parties. I too feel that criticism comes with the territory (ie, matters of personal taste), but that was down right mean and uncalled for. Not to mention douchey and blowhardy. And I couldn't have disagreed with her more. I actually stopped breathing as I read her tirade. I thought for sure it had to be a sick joke.

As a long time quilter - over the last few years my tastes have changed from traditional to modern - and with the help of quilters like you, Sarah Fielke, Jacquie Gering, Elizabeth Harman and all the modern quilters - you have set my mind, soul, spirit and rotary cutter on fire. ON. FIRE! I thank you, I value you and I appreciate you!

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon your site, searching for something else, and I am so glad you're here. I bought your book about a month ago and I'm thrilled. A few years back I left quilting precisely because of the kind of mean spritedness I saw brewing in the quilt world. I didn't want to be part of any movement which encouraged snarky competition. You are the kind of artist who is going to change all that. Keep going and thanks for your beautiful work! Pam

Dawn in Ohio said...

ignore the trolls. YOU enjoy your creations, so who are they to judge? I think your work is refreshing, colorful, playful. As a 4th generation artist, I do not do traditional quilting, either! Heck, sometimes I have just fallen in love with a fabric, and had to have it. Then when it calls out to me, I start in the middle of the quilt and let the fabric tell me where to go and what "it" needs next. But if no one but me likes my work, that is fine, because each creation I make is special to ME, and phooey on them. ~ Dawn in Ohio

Calamity Jane's Cottage, Bonnie said...

Malka, I think everyone has said everything that can be said. Love your work and your books. Don't ever think you are not an artist. She just didn't have a mother that told her "If you don't have anything good to say, keep your mouth shut" Thank you Mom.

Helen said...

The review was hateful and uncalled for. I hope it won't deter you from continuing to do what you do so well The Amish say the only person who makes something perfect is God. Guess this nasty person thinks she is God!

Jackie Bloom said...

I'm so sorry someone lashed out at you that way, It shows a lack of understanding of the wide differences and possibilities, in quilting. But I have met other quilters that turn their noses up at others quilts because they are not "traditional". And they are so sure they are "right". I think it shows a lack of respect for different views. I think you find this kind intolerance is popular right now not only in art but in politics, religion and views of the world. I want you to know that I really enjoy your quilts and I have been following your blog for years, thank-you for sharing all you great ideas!!!!!

Jolie said...

Very well put - and frankly, it is really hard to rise about mean spirited comments...some people just don't seem to have the requisite social skills...if the comment is not going to add to the discussion, or be constructive, then really, it's best left unsaid. I always think that sort of criticism says way more about the writer than the subject matter. Hang in there. Derision is poorly disguised envy.

Sandi said...

The person who trashed your book on Amazon is both mean and WAY off the beam. I don't think it is useful to offer a "review" of this sort and should have been screened before publishing. If she wanted to offer constructive criticism, that is one thing but she did not.
I personally have read through your book and found it delightful, inspiration and instructional. I plan to buy it both for myself and as a gift. Thanks you for writing it. Sandi

Sherry said...

I am so sorry. "Hurting people hurt others", and then some people are just plain mean spirited or bullies. You've forgotten more than most people will ever know about your art form. Praise God for the gifts and abilities He has given you, and enjoy life!

Anonymous said...

Some people just don't think before they say anything. Everyone has their own taste in crafts, foods, etc., but just because the book or topic doesn't suit THEIR taste, doesn't mean that they should put you or anyone else down. My mom told me, you don't have anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut.

Annie said...

Excellent response to such a nasty-gram left on Amazon. When I read some of the things people submit to the book reviews, I'm relieved that I don't know the people who write them. There clearly is a difference between mismatch of taste, constructive criticism, and just plain ugliness of spirit!

Holly said...

although i know that your point with this post wasn't to drum up comments and praise, i feel like i should still say-

i got your latest book for christmas and i think it's really lovely. it's inspired me to be braver with color, and improvise and just enjoy the process. that's really important for people like me who become paralyzed with the need for perfection and then don't even try.

the attitude contained in the blog post in question is why people shy away from creating, trying new things, and sharing them. art, craft-whatever you want to call it- suffers for it each time.

charity-crafter said...

That was a very personal attack, not a review of the book. I know how easy it is to take it personally. Please don't let one person's inability to be creative make you feel bad or make you so angry you want to scream. I know it's easier said then done, think "like water off a duck's back-it doesn't stay with me" Big hug.

Darcy said...

Sadly, some people in the world are just flat-out mean spirited and there is no way to make sense of them to the rest of us who have compassion (as well as common sense and courtesy). Your work is FANTASTIC, PHENOMENAL and AMAZING. I love your writing, your photos, your blog AND your sewing. My only sadness comes from not having the budget to buy MORE of your work. Hope you can let go of that meanness and focus on the all the people who think you and your work are wonderful.

Rashida Coleman-Hale said...

Oh, Malka, I'm so, so sorry you had to see that review. It's such a shame when people lose themselves and go all out on you like that. I've had my share of bad reviews..."I found the author's tone grating and insipid. The book is written in simpering baby talk, appropriate for talking about small children, but not for teaching a craft." Whaaat?! So upsetting for me and I was ready to track the person down and give them a good tongue lashing of my own. But you get over it in time I suppose and the GOOD comments FAR outweigh the bad ones. Your work is AMAZING and it's always given me so much inspiration and just flat out fills me with joy. So please, please don't let these types of posts and comments slow you down. Let your 'haters' be your motivators! You rock girl! ^_^ xoxo Rashida

Lori said...

I see I'm not alone in wanting to support and encourage you. I love your work, may have never actually commented but that's because I'm a lurker, not because your work doesn't invite or deserve praise. It's not always *my* taste, as individual tastes vary, but it is alway well executed, and I see the art behind every piece.

I also want to thank you for the way you handled this subject. I appreciate that you mentioned it without throwing namecalling or snide comments back at the derisive commenters/reviewers. I think that goes a long way toward a more civilized discourse as well.

Julie Antinucci said...

That is incredible. I'm so glad I ran across your post today and am able to add to the showing of positive thoughts for you. People like that always, no matter how many times I come across one, always shock me. How is it to live your life with a black cloud over your life and to try to bring that black cloud over other's lives. It must be a lot of work to be so negative. But, don't you worry. Your work is distinct and beautiful. I think one of the hard thing in any kind of art is finding your own style. And you, even though I don't know you, are one of those people who has managed to hold on to someone that is uniquely yours. Don't change ANYTHING!!! You're doing great!

Mama Spark said...

I just found your blog from a friend after reading about this same issue somewhere else. I feel so sad that you had to bear the brunt of such vitriol! I am shocked that some snobby quilters feel it is their right to criticize others for their work. I love your work and hope you remember the people that like and are inspired by you rather than those writing such drivel!

Sundar Koyal said...

Hi Malka,

I just came to your blog today, for the first time. I love the way you write... you even said "Hell" lolll. I feel you write just how you would talk in person. How refreshing is that?! Also, since it is my first time coming here, I saw some of the pictures of projects you have made. Shame on anyone who could be so foul-mouthed in their reviews of your work. I am new to quilting and often times get tired of seeing the "Oh so perfect". There are thousands of styles of quilting projects out there... some are very intricate and difficult and some are fun. I prefer fun, easy, and relaxing. I would venture to say that the person who wrote that review on your book, just does not like to have fun! Thank you for having such a wonderful place to come to - to see new ideas that are interesting, fun, and inspiring. I will be back for more. Keep up the great work.

Kedreeva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kedreeva said...

I'm sorry these people felt the need to be dicks to you. People think just because it's the internet, they can say whatever they want and it doesn't hurt feelings. Well bully to them, I hope Karma gives them a big bite in a sensitive area.

Also, the statements that the person on Amazon gave are what we in the writing world call "flames" and they are done by people who have more time than sense. They are an object lesson of how not to behave when attempting to be a good person. Definitely I hope you remember the good comments and forget the bad ones.

Joy said...

I just want to add my voice to the chorus of others who have weighed in on this since you posted the other day.

I love your work.
I am so inspired by what you do.
I look forward to seeing each of your new projects (and adding your books to my library!).

Thanks for sharing your experience so we could all give you our thoughts on the matter. :)

Emma Thomsen said...

Sometimes people give 'exaggerated' comment because that is the only way they get noticed. We all see stuff that just isn't to our taste or we disagree with, but you just 'suck it in' and move on. Leaving mean comments or reviews just sends out bad karma and inevitably comes back and bites you on the bum. Don't let it get you down, hopefully this post has helped you 'exorcise the demons' as lots of lovely people out in Blog Land are giving you 'shed loads' of support. X

cowgirlfromhanna said...

I always enjoy your work and am sorry you had to be the receiver of such negativism. Just ignore her, she's not worth wasting a second of your creative thinking on!

thepracticalperfeccionista said...

You and your work have been my most important inspiration in beginning to sew and quilt! I have only just begun, but have known for months that your book would be the first craft or quilt book I will purchase. Your use of color and accessible, modern designs have made me feel that there is a niche for me in the quilting world. Thank you for sharing your work!

Anonymous said...

Malka - pay no heed to those vile comments. Jealousy is at the root of them! I LOVE your book - have just treated myself to it and commenced the sewing machine cover immediately. It is a breath of fresh air - just what I have been looking for. Can't wait for the sequel!! Annie in UK.

Chris said...

Okay that just makes me angry. Malka, this is Chris Howard, proud owner of your beautiful Twinkle King quilt. Every night before going to bed, I look closely at one of the little circles you made and marvel at it's colors, at the craftsmanship, and the way it was sewn. The husband and I have slept under it since the day it arrived, and it has held up beautifully. We are so happy with your quilt that we are using it for the inspiration for the renovation of our house. I cannot wait to show you the bedroom that has been completely redesigned around your quilt! That anyone would say such things about your work infuriates me, and it makes me think these are very petty, jealous, small minded individuals indeed. I feel lucky to own such a beautiful work of art and hope to own more of it in the future.

Put your foot down and sew! said...

I just read this post. I'm thinking the peron who posted that comment probably DOESN'T have a book published. If you sew like a second grader--then by all means that's how I want to sew too!! You are awesome. Clearly you have huge fan base. Congrats to you for your hard work and your own sense of style! Keep quilting girl.

kathy york said...

Looks like I am late coming to this party! Glad to see so many people posting in support of you and your art, Malka! I am shocked to read the negative comments. I can only assume that the writer was reviewing a completely different book than the one you wrote, or she needs glasses, or perhaps that she is jealous? I absolutely LOVE your work. I just bought a new sofa, and the first thing I thought was that I wanted some fresh, modern, pillows to go with it, aka, Malka style!! Thanks for being the inspiration that you are!!!

SCquiltaddict said...

I actually bought your book because of the brouhaha over it ...i have thoroughly enjoyed your QA articles and wanted to buy it...I DO not believe that I will be disappointed in it...That was NOT a book critique but a rant...I hope you get over it soon and as soon as I get my book I will post another good one on amazon...should be here Monday or Tuesday and I cant wait:>

Coffeebean's Dailies said...

Hi Malka, I just heard about all this and although I have never been to your site or have had the chance to view your work; I just wanted to say that I don't agree with such ugly, negative comments. She lost her professionalism in her review of your book. You seem to have lots of supporters and one thing I notice is that she has 100+ followers and you have more than 900. That should say something right there maybe? I look forward to 'stalking' your site and learning about you! If you see my cousin Mark around Austin, please tell him hello from me! LOL!

Sewhappy said...

I love your work, you have an amazing eye for colour. I am impatiently waiting for your book to arrive from Barnes and Noble, I wish it would hurry up! For now I look at your quilts in Oh Baby! Don't let those words get to you, lots of other think you are great, and truly you are!

Jennifer Rodriguez said...

*hugs,hugs,and even more hugs*
I love your style.
That kind of mean spirit comes from a place of self hate and it's awful to spread it around.
I don't have your book, but now I'm off to Amazon to buy it...

Prof. S said...

I absolutely love your color and design sense -- your work is truly inspiring to me and to so many others! There may be a little resentment circulating in the quilting world re: book contracts, accolades, fan bases for all sorts of sewists whose appeal differs from the (former?) mainstream. In every creative field, new developments or shifts in aesthetics have been greeted by some hostility...as difficult as it is to have that kind of negative energy directed at you, maybe it can just be viewed as a signal that your work *is* distinctive! Keep making beautiful things...please!

Auntie Pami said...

Really? I finally just got your book. Not all the projects are my style, but I'm gravitating towards the improv type quilts. They are fun. Isn't that the point of quilting? Or, crafting for that matter. I am inspired by your vivid color choices and am seriously considering finding your other book. I'm sorry someone felt that had to be hateful. But I guess that's what makes us different. But my Mom & Dad raised me better.

Pippa said...

I won't be adding anything new to all the wonderful responses you've gotten, but I can't get this out of my mind so I just had to write! The qualities that this person is insulting are precisely the things I love MOST about your work! It has character-- it's fun and freewheeling! I have enormous respect for the traditional quilting 'rules' but what's wrong with bending and even breaking them?

Anonymous said...

To each his own. And I am sorry people are so mean spirited. Hang in there!!!!

auntiehenno

brzeski said...

I wish I'd said something sooner, because now this will seem contrived and on-the-bandwagonish, but I'm just not much of a commenter. Anyway, here's what I should have said sooner: I got your Fresh Quilting book just a few weeks ago, and have really been enjoying it. It's just what I needed to bump me out of the rut I was in, get me started creating things again, and get me putting fabric together in ways that make me happy. (I even renamed your blog feed to include "Malka" so I would remember it was you when scanning for something new to read!) Thanks for the boost, and I hope you can take these and all the other positive words here and use them to soothe the sting of those harsh ones. I really hope the few ugly comments don't stop you from putting your work out where the rest of us can enjoy it.
Thanks
Corinne

Mimi said...

I am thinking some of the problem with the "book" is the way it was marketed. Quilting is in flux and in an effort to attract the new and young I see three avenues targeted; One quiting, one home decor and one sort of small projects (crafts).

The book seems more like home decor / craft and would be a disapointment to quilter. But then again a quilter would not have bought it after a glance through.

I was not sure with 196 comments if I had enought to add, but do think the industry will have to address the changes in "naming" or continue to anoy sewers.

Brigitte Heitland said...

Dear Malka,

It’s good that you have that ugly issue clearly on the table:
Mean and dull criticism, facilitated by the anonymity of the internet, which has only the purpose to devalue someone.
Since you're the target, you feel first the pain. Someone like me, who is just an observer, sees most of all the great envy behind it. The envy of what you've created and what you give to others. And although it comes in a toxic garb it can not hide how small and insignificant the critic must feel about herself, and how much she would like to be on your level, so she put a lot of effort to degrade you down to hers. The truth is that envy is the highest form of recognition and one has to earn it.

Be the special one you are!
Brigitte

Mary Lou Weidman said...

Loved reading this just so I could share. I have had loads of letters like this since my first book came out in 1996. I got a scathing letter from a woman from Canada (home of my Mother). I was just crushed. After doing five books now, I know that the delete button and the garbage is for. Someone who takes time to be so petty, mean and vile is writing about her life not your book. You do great stuff and you have more people who love it than one nasty person who is mad at the world and is going to take it out on you. Focus on all of us who love your style!

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