Normally I try to reserve my blog for mainly quilting, crafts and family hyjinx, but this blog is about discrimination, judgement, and the dwindling life line of humanity. I would never attempt to turn this venue into a place to vent about social justice or the way people should be treated, but I feel that this just needs to be said.
My husband and I celebrated our 3rd year anniversary this weekend by going to Springdale, UT just outside of Zion National Park. One of our top two favorite places to visit. While we were there, the locals of Springdale were so genuine, and helpful, that we started some conversation with them about moving there in a bout a year or so after I have finished school. They welcomed us with open arms and gave us numerous towns and cities to explore for places to work/commute. Now, some of you may already know that I am being trained to become a mental health counselor (therapist) and have taken quite an interest in art therapy and especially therapy through quilting. While there has not been much research on the subject, I feel that there would be a great call for it and it would fill a gap in art therapy that exists. My husband and I were given several counseling centers to visit and since we were there on a Tuesday, I knew we could catch them in the office and get some much needed information. We were given both Cedar City and St. George and meccas for counseling centers.
We first went to Cedar City, but wasn't really what were looking for and proceeded to drive all the way south again toward St. George. After heading into the picturesque neighborhoods, with their adorable cottage houses and tree lined streets we were enthusiastic about my working there and commuting from Springdale. We pulled over to get our barrings and I whipped out the iPhone t locate any quilting shops in the area. I was curious to get an idea about what guilds were around and let them know who I was and we were thinking of moving. The first (and only) shop that we went into was Lazy Daisy Cottage http://lazydaisycottage.blogspot.com/ and it was packed with glorious fabrics, and other treasures. My husband and I ventured further back into the shop where a woman was sewing and there were a few others milling around the back "employees only" area. I started speaking with the lady sewing (she didn't offer her name) and was explaining to her my interests in moving and that I was a quilter. She said I should speak with the owner and summoned her out.
I offered my name, "Hello, my name is Mary and my husband and I were thinking of moving to Utah and I was just curious about the quilting community here. I am hoping to bring my therapy business to St. George and possibly start quilting therapy workshops." At this point the last not so much as offered her name, looked both my husband and I up and down to make her final assessment that we were not worth her time and common courtesy. She was rude, very curt with her answers and made the comment on several occasions that quilting is really quite conservative. I can imagine that my tattoos were partially to blame, but to treat another quilter like that was really quite hurtful. She kept briefly answering my questions, and also questioned everything I said, "what do you mean you want to do therapy?" and "I don't really know what to tell you but you can check the phone book for other shops." RUDE> So, we left the shop, after her husband questioned whether I had even quilted before and I was almost in tears. I have been discriminated against before, and it is quite possible that she was also feeling I would be a bit of competition, even though I explained that I was not opening up a quilt shop.
I don't believe in generalizations, I know that not all people in St. George or that quilting guild would be the same, but I have to say, I really don't want to go back and I feel that is exactly what she wanted to accomplish. It reminded me of that scene in Pretty Woman when she goes in with money to shop buy no one will help her and they tell her that she doesn't belong there. Maybe once I have my quilt therapy set up and I have made a great contribution to the St. George area, I can go back in and say "big mistake, big, huge mistake."
God bless her and what demons she might have to work through, but I am still licking my wounds on that one. Please send her some good energy to help her through her obstacles.
Take care quilters and take care of each other.