Thursday, September 10, 2009

Another Apology

Yes, another blessing/curse of the INFJ is that we are always looking to make things better, in our little world, in the world of another, and the world in general. And we are constantly apologizing if we somehow can't or if something we tried to do didn't come out as perfectly as we would like.

Some of you have been leaving me notes here and there about seeing my entry into the Polymer Cafe's Black and White Challenge, thank you for your kind words. Yes, I did work hard on this and had been waiting for the issue to come out. I had pondered about what to make. It was a Black and White Challenge and although I'd entered one before, (my first one at the PCAGOE monthly challenge where I won, 2nd or 3rd prize, don't remember) I had made some designs with my Dalmatian featured but decided to go with the nature theme of a tree in winter. When thinking of ideas for the Polymer Cafe's challenge I again pulled out my sketches from that contest to look over but once again, I choose a tree theme over my Dali design. But I thought I recalled mentioning something about Dalmatians in my essay so when I heard that the newest issue was out I wasn't quick to go and see it. I did try a week or two ago and couldn't find it in the stores yet, but because I found out one of my best friends tutorials was in there (more about that later) I did look forward to seeing it.

I didn't manage to procure it until this past weekend. Saturday night we visited Borders. There were only three left. I snapped the above picture and took two and got some other books to look at while in the cafe. I didn't want to look at the magazine there in public, and waited to take it home for private perusal, just in case. I was glad I did. When I got up enough nerve later that night, I quickly scanned through the pages until I came to the challenge section. There were only eight entries and four winners and I didn't even place in any of the top four, and second in the 'runner's up'. That was a bit of a let down for me as I thought I had picked a good subject, one that I had never seen done in Polymer Clay before, and not jewelry as so many entries are. My entry involved many techniques, layering of clay and then carving it away to reveal the color hidden underneath. Carving in a pattern after much study on live birch trees and pictures I'd taken, then studying the Morph version of the Monarch butterfly and making three canes to put this life sized anatomically correct version of it on one of the tree trunks.

I was looking forward to this contest as I thought it was judged by workmanship by peers than by popularity which is the case in other contests I've entered or random drawings. This I thought would truly give me a gauge in how well my art had progressed. Now I know this was only the third time I'd made a complicated cane like this but 'I thought it' turned out well enough. I guess I could have added some antennae to it, but I was overall very pleased with the results, which is not easy for me. :)

Now I had to figure out how to photograph this to best advantage. I tried doing it in my photo studio but it lacked authenticity, I was going for realism and a studio background shot just didn't sit right with me. So I enlisted some help, dragged a table outside to just the right place, then got some polished river rocks to hide the table top and took many shots, many angles (first I actually tried in the grass). Then after hours of going through them, discarding this one for one reason or another, I finally settled on this one particular one. It was balanced, the depth of field was good, showing the clay pieces in focus and the real trees out of focus, but giving the appearance of real (faux) birch trees that somehow had attracted this beautiful morph Monarch to their bark.

I had never sent in a photo for years for anything, juried shows or any contests. So it was new to me that I had to send in an actual printed photo instead of an electronic submission, or at least, a copy of the picture on a Cd or Floppy. So I had to figure out how to do this. I have printed my own pictures on my printer before of course but wanted this to be really good, professional. The deadline was closing in and I remembered seeing online at the CVS site that you can order your pictures online and then go pick them up. Sounded good, I could upload the picture to them and have my husband pick it up the next day on the way home from work. I ordered an 8x10 of the picture at the highest resolution I have to send to the Magazine. But to be safe I also ordered and paid for a 4x6 and a 5x7.

As most women know, husbands tune out 50% of what we say, at least, and if he also has a hearing problems as mine does, it goes up even higher, but I wrote out instructions about this and left them on the table for him to see before going to work. He had switched shifts and was working a much earlier shift, earlier than I like to get up. But the instructions were very clear. I gave him the confirmation printout I received from them and wrote on there he was to bring it home for me to look over before he took it to the PO. I made the mistake of leaving the addressed open envelope with my entry essay and submission page in it on the table by the note. BIG MISTAKE! I was not up when he came home and he took it upon himself to put the 8x10" one in there, seal it up and took it to the PO.

I awoke shortly after he'd left, came out to find the envelope missing, and the envelope from CVS with the two smaller copies in it. I took them out and noticed right away that they had been cropped! I was horrified, not to mention angry that he had left already. A quick call to his cell and I found out he had already been there and was on his way home. When he got home, I showed him those photos and asked if the other he sent was like them. He told me 'no'. I was hoping for once that he was observant and really did look at the photo since he knows how particular I am about my photos, especially ones appearing in National publications, like when I had my Eggplant in American Style Magazine. I took over 250 pictures and went through each one , over and over to get just the right one for publication. But alas, typical man, he had not done so.

As you can see if you have a copy of the October 2009 Issue, it is cut off, actually a great deal is. The top is cropped about a 1/4" but that did not cut into the vase, but the bottom is like an inch worth and totally ruined the harmony and composition of my photo. To me it looks terrible and all my work on doing this, to me, was a waste. I am not proud of this photo or entry and sad, as it is my first (and maybe only after this) submission to the magazine which I have been getting for over five years. I have been working in PC longer than that, but once discovering the magazine and making sure not to miss buying an issue, and having my husband also look at them and keep telling me that my art was just as good and to submit something and when I finally got enough nerve up to do so, this happened.

So I apologize for those who have expected better from me, and for not taking precautionary measures to double check the submission before it left. I really do think my piece was place worthy, but the picture doesn't show that, and I am aware that your photo is what counts in these things. So If I ever do get enough nerve up to submit anything else (actually I had a tutorial on something totally new I was going to submit, but will have to think about that for now), be sure I will handle it all myself and let nothing leave here with out double and triple checking! ;)

I do kind of feel though that the judges at PC have set me back a bit in my confidence, which right now after losing my Editors job and being 'kicked out' of the guild group is rather low to begin with, but I shall recover I hope, and live to see myself published in a better light, once again! :)

( I just re-read this for typos and such and realized to some this may seem like a sour grapes post, but I assure you it is not, that is why it is titled 'Another Apology', I feel I have let my followers down and thought they deserved an accurate explanation. The blame is entirely mine and I accept full responsibility, but another trait of infj's, we tell it like it is, factual, without fluff, but are only accusatory towards ourselves even though it may appear that we are blaming others for our mistakes, but we aren't, we know we alone are responsible for everything we do, and that is what this post is about).

For those interested, this was the picture I sent off to CVS to have printed. I must say that the color in the magazine was way off from my original , even what I got back from the store. The copy of the magazine I have makes the grass look yellow, as well as my 'trees' whereas , you can see in my original below it is a deep green. I thought this was a good compliment to the white and black. I tried to make sure my white balance was good and the black was crisp.

As you can see a good inch or more was cut off from the bottom, which spoils the whole image.

But what is most sad about all this is the essay I wrote to accompany it. Now for me, who definitely falls in the category of 'wordsmith' (one of the titles given to INFJ's as well as an Enneagrams) this was very hard to do. Write in 100 words or less? You got to be kidding?? For some that may be too many words to have to come up with, for me it is torture to cut down to that many. I edited and I edited, but still could only get it down to 102, at least they gave me those two and didn't crop that! :) But as I read it, the sadness deepened, what I really was afraid of seeing when I looked at the magazine, (besides my photo not being right), was that I thought I had written something about Dalmatians in there but couldn't remember what....... But I had.

"I love Black and White - Dalmatian owner here!"

Alas this is no longer true, although when this was published and printed, it was, but no longer. I shall remember the last time we took Jazmine up to the Lake this past Spring and she went for her last swim ever. That day I took some pictures of a birch tree there that I used to help me to authentically carve the lines and branch 'eyes'. She was my best of both worlds, beauty and love, and I shall hold onto that.

Keep watching over my shoulder, my Little, Little one.

Jazz in the back seat of the car on her princess bed, looking over my shoulder when we went up to the Lake last Spring.



  1. {{{Kate}}}} I don't think you need ANY words of apology. When I got the mag I flipped through it before reading any articles and loved your submission. I have no clue why it "placed" so low, because I thought it was the best. I am tired of seeing jewelry and so on. Don't step back from working on a tutorial to submit. They want new ideas, they are eager for them.

    Jazz is there with you....always and forever. no one can take her frm your heart and memories.

  2. Kate,
    I love what Kathi said, and I want to add to it.
    Kate, I'm so proud of you. I know you had planned to have everything perfect, but, even with all that you mentioned about the cropping, your entry was wonderful.
    I've been carrying my copy around and showing it to so many people, and each time I call their attention to your vases. We "ooo" and "ahhh" over the beauty of the photo just as it appeared, and everyone agrees with me that your vases should have placed much higher.
    I proudly tell them that you are a special friend of mine, and then I explain how you are grieving right now over your loss of Jazz. I believe many of these caring people have said a prayer for you. Many of them tell me their stories of pets that were so very special, and they can relate to your pain.
    Don't give up on that tutorial. Please DO send it in. I'm always amazed at your work. In my book you are the best!

  3. ‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.’
    We are our own best critics. But, I believe we should be careful to let our self-judgment serve to lift us up ..not drag us down
    Agreed your pic is preferable.
    Perplexed as to how judges make their choices.
    But, although editors messed up your pic and failed appreciate the uniqueness of your entry ...
    I make no apology for being HAPPY and PROUD to see a friend's work published in Polymer Cafe' !!!
    :) m.e.

  4. Thank you all for your encouragement, I appreciate it. Maybe I will work on it and submit it, I think other clayers would find it fun and children as well. As soon as I can drag myself back to the studio, I'll give it a go, after I finish up the projects I started and haven't finished for the past month. I also may take a shot at the ABS this month too, I see Jazz hiding out in that painting. :)

  5. That is really very stunning. And it looks so difficult to pull off...and you did it. I am not sure of the others, as I haven't seen the publication you are referring to, but they had to be blind not to see the value in your butterfly piece. And 100 words? Well, I am there with you! I am an ENFP or ENFJ I can't recall, but I have that innate wordsmith in me as well. Your sweet pup Jazmine is so darling and such a lucky one to be so loved. Giving our pets the best life is such a worthy ambition. I miss my Madison but we just don't have room for a dog in our lives at this point. You do really gorgeous work. Thank you so much for sharing your inspiration. Enjoy the day! Erin

  6. Thank you Erin for taking time to read my ramblings. I am trying to get back to normal, whatever that is. My thoughts and connections are so dissembled right now that I am probably reading more into this than I should and I guess I wrote this down to 'get it out of my system', hopefully. :) Kate



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