Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Notes from a tool junkie: The most important tool

One of the definitions of tool in the American Heritage Dictionary is: Something regarded as necessary to the carrying out of one's occupation or profession.

Following that definition, what is your most important tool? What defines important? Something that you can’t do without? Something you use a lot? Something that would be hard to replace? There are many things that fall under those categories for me: my magnifying glasses, my Ott light, my flex-shaft machine; but one of the newest I have acquired, and surely the most difficult to replace, is the Etsy Maine Team.

How can a group of people be a tool? The team has become invaluable as a source of support and advice. And, like most things, a tool is only as good as its component parts. Those on the Maine Team are the highest quality components, each one offering his or her own special skills and gifts to make this team what it is. I cannot say enough about the talent that the Etsy Maine Team possesses. Among our membership are world-class crafters and artists.

More important than their talents and skills is their sense of community and caring for other members. It may be like this on other teams, I do not know as I don’t belong to any other, but I have a feeling a lot of it has to do with the location in which we live. Mainers have a reputation for helping their neighbors. In this case, neighbors may be as far away from one another as Fort Kent is to Kittery, but each member has been willing to offer support and guidance.

When I joined the group, not so long ago, I was welcomed in with open arms. I have been going through a difficult time lately and the people on the team have offered support and caring. When I was at a point where I wanted to just close up my Etsy shop, many members jumped in to give me constructive criticism for improving my shop. When a member, who has been ill, hadn’t been seen on the chat thread for a while, another member located her (in the hospital), and let all of us know how she was doing.

There seems to be no rivalry in the Maine Team. Many of us make the same types of things, but I have never had a feeling of competitiveness with others who make jewelry. I believe there is room in the world (and this state) for many different expressions of the same craft, and it seems that those on the team feel comfortable enough with one another to share ideas and opportunities, tips and tricks, and techniques without fear of being undermined.

This past weekend, I had the good fortune to meet many of these wonderful people. It was a long drive to the team meeting, and people were surprised that I would make that drive, but it was important to me to meet the people who have offered their friendship and support to someone they barely knew. I hope to be able to meet even more of these people over the upcoming months.

It’s not often one has the opportunity to thank one’s tools. In this case, however, it’s not only possible, but necessary. Thank you to all the members of the Etsy Maine Team for your support, caring, advice and friendship. You are certainly my most valuable tool, and impossible to replace.

1 comment:

  1. Lisa, Wow. Eloquently stated and very moving. You know, you are one of those friends and encouragers too. Thank YOU, for being an essential part of the wonderful group called Etsy Maine Team. Your talent, your sharing, your kind words all contribute to the essence of what this team is all about.


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