Good morning to you all. I didn't get as much done as I intended yesterday. I have some ideas that I am working on, but there were simply too many distractions for me to make headway.
I spent most of the day reading and discussing the closing of Creative Woodworks and Crafts and all of the All American Crafts publications. (Paintworks, Paint-It, Wood Turning Designs, Carving, Create and Decorate, etc.) While I mentioned in my post yesterday that I wanted to just move forward, I realized that doing so was not as easy as I would have thought. There were again many questions, messages, emails from readers and customers who were just hearing news of the closings, and as someone who has had a long term relationship with the family and publishing company, I felt obliged to answer them.
It did however turn out to consume just about my entire day. Once again, by the end of the evening I felt drained and saddened. I vowed to have a good night sleep and then start over again today fresh and with renewed purpose.
I slept fairly well but I awoke to a comment on this blog in the Lumberjocks.com forum and felt that I should address things once and for all. In doing so, I felt that I not only answered the person who commented, but that I answered once again many of the notes and messages that I had been receiving. So I decided to copy them here in today's post and at least for myself, wrap this subject up so that I may continue ahead and once again be productive. I hope that this is acceptable to you, as I need to focus my thoughts on some positive and creative things – and I have many.
The poster "disappointed" had the following comment on my blog:
I am sorry, but I am not sympathetic nor emphatic (as the previous posters) for All American Crafts. I started decorative painting 18 years ago & subscribed loyally to both PaintWorks & Quick n’ Easy Painting. Back then there were so many painting magazines, and they have all slowly gone away. I have been ripped off 3 times with having renewed subscriptions & then the magazine went away.
I had just recently re-subscribed to both PaintWorks & Paint-It-Today for 2 year-renewals. Of course, they took my money, same as another sleazy publisher did, then closed their doors.
I could care less about what they are going through. They are thieves, knowing what they knew. Unlike you, we weren’t privy to “seeing the writing on the wall”. Yet those renewal notices kept coming in the mail. I am sorry, it is all just wrong.
These were not unfamiliar issues that I have been hearing. I realize that many of you were in the same situation, as I was myself. I am cutting and pasting my response to him/her and I hope that this will express my thoughts and feelings clearly so I can finally move on and put this issue to rest:
Well, disappointed – you have every right to the way you feel. Since it appears that you set up your account here just to make your point, I will address it fully.
There are others who feel the same as you do. I respect that but I also feel that it is unfortunate because you don’t know the Cohens as I do. They are not rejoicing in the failure of their company. They are as devastated as one would be who built something from the ground up and worked for over twenty five years on it to see it succumb to whatever people blame it on. The digital age. Print costs. Mail increases. All of the above.
Most of the employees had been with them from the beginning. There were reasons for that. I believe it was not because the jobs were so high paying, but because they were good, decent people with integrity that worked hard to see painting, woodworking and the craft industry succeed. It is difficult not to notice that most of the long term designers, companies and leaders in the industry feel as I do. We all saw not only from the outside, but from the inside of the business how dedicated they were and how much they have contributed. Not everything in this world (believe it or not) is measured in dollars.
No one wins in a bankruptcy. Not only are the customers (like yourself) not given what they were promised (the magazine issues), but the designers are not paid what is due to them and the employees are now looking for ways to earn a living in a very limited field of the job market. The advertising and exposure for the shops, suppliers and pattern makers is also now reduced to other means. Not everyone has or enjoys the internet. But it is a “way of the times” as I have heard so often these past days. I can assure you – we designers are owed far more than the subscription dollars that you are out. I can only speak for myself, but the amount is substantial. Yet I choose to be compassionate and empathetic because I know the family and I know that they did all they could to fulfill their obligations. I believe that is my advantage over you.
That is what bankruptcy is. A legal means set up for those who cannot fulfill their financial obligations. It is tragic for all involved, as I said.
I suppose in thinking about it, there is no good point to file. In reading both sides of comments for the past several days, I came to the conclusion that no matter when they closed their doors and file, there would be people closer to the end of their subscription and those who just renewed. I also renewed my subscriptions recently for several of the magazines. May it was I think. But with the subscription price being that of two or three decent patterns, I just consider it my loss and move on. There are many involved who have a far greater loss that I. I believe that if they had the money to refund the subscriptions to all the readers, they wouldn’t have to go bankrupt in the first place.
Empathy – Identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives.
I am empathetic to the family and the situation. Perhaps it is because I am privileged to knowing them for the past seventeen years as well as working with them. I have no doubt that they are also angry/sad/upset about the situation and did everything they could to prevent it.
I am also empathetic to the customers and subscribers. Many of them are my own customers. I realize that some (such as yourself) feel taken advantage of and ‘duped’. Perhaps that is why I chose to write about my own feelings about things. I want others to see that there are two sides to the story.
As I said – no one wins here. The occurrence was perhaps inevitable in the long run. Our world is ever changing and there is discomfort for most when these changes happen, whether we see them coming or not.
Thank you for voicing your thoughts. I am certain there are others who feel as you do. I hope you will keep on painting and consider some of the other alternatives to the magazines and support your favorite individual designers and suppliers directly, or they too will only be a memory.
I wish you a good day.
While the impact of the failure of this company will be felt by myself and so many others for a long time, I really want to put this behind me and move ahead to better things. It is my own nature to read the responses on the various forums and pages and interject when I see fit, but I have done so extensively to this point and now it is time for me to move on. I find that I am allowing it to totally consume me and it is interfering with any chance I have to be creative and design.
I may be 'quiet' on my social media sites for the next several days, as I need to get my bearings and refocus myself on some positive things and creating. There are only so many times you can ride the merry-go-round until it becomes redundant and sometimes sickening. I think I have reached that limit.
As mentioned above, I do emphasize with both sides of the situation. As a designer and a customer, I am somewhere in the middle. As a friend, I am heartsick. We are all entitled to our views and my own opinion has developed from the perspective that seventeen years of working with the company has offered. I realize that many of you have not had that privileged, and I respect that.
It is time for me to move on.
The final thing that I want to say on this matter is that I encourage you to support your designers and suppliers in whatever creative venue you choose to participate. A common worry is that these crafts are going by the wayside, and the only way we can perpetuate doing what we love to do is by sustaining these people and supporting them. For many designers, every sale counts and it doesn't take much to make it "worth their while" and continue.
Thank you to all of you for your thoughts. I hope that I can continue to create and do what I love for a long time to come.
Have a great Wednesday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"