One Giant Step for…Me.


Ouch.  This one hurts.  I’m still a little bitter about this one, and I’ll tell you why.

In early 2011, Etsy teamed up with NASA for a space craft contest.  The winners received not only a gift card for Etsy and a trip to NASA, but their craft (or a picture of it) was to be flown aboard space in a SPACE SHUTTLE!!!  How cool is that???  The only requirement was that it reflect the shuttle program as a celebration of NASA’s accomplishments.  The rules stated that if you had an Etsy shop, you submit your work in your shop with certain tags.  If you didn’t have a shop (which I didn’t), NEVER FEAR!  You could submit photos of your work to a certain address, with detailed information in it.

I was excited.  If there was ever a contest to enter, this one was for me!  Remember my jingle dolls?  What a perfect opportunity to use these unique crafts in a fun way!  So I carefully painted with loving detail two portraits:  one of Alan Shepard (who piloted the Freedom 7 shuttle, and was the first American in space) and Neil Armstrong (commander of the Apollo 11, and first person on the moon).  A great choice, I thought!  Both illustrate the wonder and amazement folks like me (with a space-loving dad) have for the space shuttle program, and our accomplishments.  I don’t rarely get cocky about a piece at ALL.  Normally, I’m filled with self-doubt and uncertainty, but I felt GOOD about this one.  I thought for SURE I had a winner.  I followed the instructions to the T (because I’m geeky like that), and submitted a packet with my work.  I waited anxiously for the news of the first cut.

Guess who didn’t make it?  Me.  And you know, I really would’ve been okay with that if the first cut was amazing.  I would’ve been blown away and inspired.  I would have been awestruck.  But you know what I saw?  Some people just took things that were vaguely space-related and ALREADY in their store, and put a “Space” tag on it.  I mean, you can’t tell me that a purple scarf represents the shuttle program.  I saw hacky sacks with Michael Jackson’s face on them (I guess because of the moonwalk?), dolls that had nothing to do with space, and things that didn’t seem to take much effort.  I saw a plain-colored BALSA WOOD spaceship that looked like it was hacked out with a steakknife and the tips roughly painted black with a sharpie marker.  And they MADE THE CUT.

I was confused.

I’m not one at all to disparage other forms of artwork.  I’m not a metalsmith, and I don’t understand jewelry but I can appreciate the amount of work that goes into something like that.  But what annoyed me is the seeming lack of care that went into so many of the entries and who MADE THE FIRST CUT!!!  I don’t think I’m very egotistical in my work, but there are times when I’m really proud of something and want to share it with the world.  I was a little disappointed.

Okay, I was a little hurt and heartbroken.  And this is unusual for me, because I usually trust the judges in a contest, and therefore don’t take it personally when I don’t win.  I’ve entered contest after contest after contest and I almost consistently NEVER win.  But some of the things that got into this one just made me sad.

So I gave the jingle dolls to my dad for Christmas.  He works with a lot of gub’ment folks, who get a kick out of them.  He proudly displays them at this office, which makes me happy, and people ask him about them all the time.  I’ve still got a sore spot about them, but at least they’ve got a good home.  Who needs the space program, when you’ve got you’re dad’s work desk?  🙂

Have you ever had a really big disappointment?  Something you just KNEW you were a shoe-in for?  Something that still stings a little to this day?  I want to hear about it!

4 responses

  1. Okay, you were ROBBED! Yes, I have just now found your blog, because your post about letting your daughter finish your drawings has gone viral and I just about wet myself when I found it. Now I’m going back through your blog posts and just loving everything I see. THESE are amazing. I cannot believe you didn’t make the cut, or win the dang thing outright. Just know that you are making people all tingly with your talent.

    1. Well, thank you so much! I appreciate it!

  2. I sell on Etsy and hardly EVER understand how they go about making certain decisions on contests that they conduct, but I would have to say this was the case of “You can enter if you don’t have a shop, but we are not really going to even think about advancing your entry, since it won’t promote the site through revenue that would be brought in by a shop that tags their current pieces, so enter, but don’t expect much.”

    I too found your blog through Yahoo’s posting your collaboration pieces with your daughter and they are wonderful! I also love the fact that you allow for times with your daughter where she just gets to be a kid in the largest sense of the word and make a mess. So many inspirational blog entries here, thank you!

    (oh… and… those space dudes are super cool)

  3. […] whew.  Here we go.  If you’ve read some of my older blog posts, like this and this, you’ll know that despite my best efforts, I have amassed quite a considerable […]

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