cybik: (keitele)
I think kindness is my favourite virtue. It's so easy to be kind and yet it can make a huge difference to other people. I worked for the catering company of an arts venue in Farnham for a couple of years while I was at university. There was a regular Thursday night even for which I worked the bar. Most of the people who came to that event were really friendly and there was one couple I particularly remember because they were regulars who did things like bring glasses to the bar at the end of the night - not just from their table, but from others. It was a small and important gesture of kindness that made me feel appreciated and human. Kindness has a humanising effect. It says "you are worth doing this for." Isn't that a beautiful thing? It can turn a terrible day into one that doesn't seem so bad. It can turn an ordinary day into a good one. If someone compliments you it can make you feel good about yourself (of course it's also easy for it to be creepy if done wrong - a lightness of touch is needed for it to be unthreatening. My advice is: you don't have to wait for an answer. Don't make it a question. Just say something like "I like your coat!" and smile and turn away. Don't do it when you first get into a lift (awkwardness can ensue), for example. Do it when you're leaving. The person is not obligated to respond. You shouldn't be trying to get them to make you feel better about yourself for your comment. And don't compliment things like eyes or body or whatever unless you know the person. That's too close for comfort. That's creepy).

Kindness is a gift from one person to another. It doesn't require anything else. Thanks is nice and polite, but don't do something for someone and then, when unthanked, assume that they are the worst person ever. People have bad days. Sometimes we take it out on others. Little acts of kindness can help, even if we don't appreciate them consciously.

I want to be better at kindness. I am trying to make an effort to do little things that make other people's lives a little bit better, even if it's just helping someone pick up something they've dropped.
cybik: (boots)
Craft is a dirty word. My degree was called "Three Dimensional Design", but "Craft" would have been more accurate. In fact, I think they're changing the title so that is does involve the word "craft" somewhere - but they're keeping the word "design" as well.

In the perceived hieracy of the art world, it goes something like this: fine art > design > craft. When did you last hear of a massive exhibition of modern craft (other than via me)? Probably rarely. There are such exhibitions - Origin (formerly the Chelsea Crafts Fair and oh look, it has changed its name so as to not give an idea of what it contains), Collect, New Designers.. And yet the exhibitions that are reviewed in the papers and which are talked about on TV are always the ones which are Fine Art or Design based. Craft is the forgotten step-daughter. If you name famous craftspeople of the last hundred years or so most of their names receive blank looks. Bernard Leach? David Watkins? William Morris? Jane Adam? Malcolm Appleby? Wendy Ramshaw? Hands up who'd heard of more than two of them (okay, there's a bit of a metalwork bias, but that's to be expected from me). I find it shoking that I don't know the names of more than about two modern potters and probably only one glassmaker (apart from the people I went to uni with and was taught by, obviously).

When I go into a bookshop and go to the craft section (which of course I do), there are very rarely any books on actual crafts. It's all about bloody beading and cross stitch. Beading is easy. You don't need a hundred different books about it, telling the reader how to make something that is EXACTLY like the one in the picture. Where's the creativity in that? I hate those books because they make people afraid to try new things, to make up patterns, to trust their own creativity. Everyone has some ability. We're not robots.

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