In my experience, it used to be a deal-breaker. I’d rather struggle along solo than risk rejection. What I’ve come to understand is that I am able move on from rejection, and still be okay.
But more important, when I do venture into the uncertainty of someone else’s favor, the rewards eclipse the fear EVERY TIME.
Reviewing the past year of developing Jane Pollak Designs I had to repeatedly brave rejection in order to grow. Prime examples were asking my good friend, whose job is managing costumes for Broadway productions, to take my pillow tops and make them into finished pieces. She was happy to oblige and helped me upgrade the quality of the backing fabric, make my bead and button attachments more secure, and assure me that these were not simply accessories but works of art.
Inviting a man I know to be my Art Action Partner was also not a sure thing. We knew each other, but had never spoken one-on-one. I’d heard that he had begun pursuing painting during the pandemic, and I admired his work on Instagram. Would he be interested in a weekly call to support each other’s emergence, or in my case re-emergence, into the art market? His ‘yes’ sent me soaring, and our weekly calls have been enormously beneficial. He helped me with my packaging, my Instagram account and my fears around sending out my first video effort to high end interior designers.
A most satisfying request was fulfilled by Kim Shaver, a writer for Showtime, the International Textile Alliance publication. She had interviewed me for the May 2021 issue and was so struck by my story that she commissioned a pillow after publication. The process of working with Kim was so joyful, and the end product so successful, that I wanted to share the process with everyone. I just felt it was a lot to ask. I’ve learned to bypass that discomfort and keep my appeal simple. To my utter delight, Kim crafted this beautiful essay and granted me full permission to share it widely. I’m deeply grateful.
A PILLOW WITH PURPOSE
By Kim D. Shaver,
Editor of Showtime Magazine, former Consumer Editor and Upholstery Editor of international business publication Furniture/Today, former VP of Marketing Communications for Hooker Furnishings and long-time communications specialist in the furnishings space.
In the process of writing an article on the Maker Movement for Showtime Magazine, a publication of the International Textiles Alliance, it was my delight to connect with and write a profile on award-winning designer and author Jane Pollak. In the course of our connection, I was drawn to her designer pillows made from traditional wool applique Penny Rug fabrics with richly-hued and contemporary color palettes.
As I perused her website and social media, the Lumbar Floral Pillow really caught my eye – and eventually my heart. The color scheme of the floral applique design was perfect for our family room that also serves as my main home office. Only the black background did not suit the soft colors that I gravitate to, and I asked Jane if she could do a custom background in another color. She graciously searched for other color palettes and sent me mock-ups of various shades to review until we together arrived at a soft warm gray linen-type background. With the background now complementing the exquisite floral pattern, she began work on my custom pillow. She gave exciting updates on social media as she progressed in laying out the pattern and then stitching each of the penny appliques by hand, bringing my personalized hand-crafted pillow to life.
The pillow now serves as an uplifting focal point for the room, complementing the vintage farmhouse-style chair in a rustic turquoise finish perfectly. The pillow and chair sit right beside my desk, where I work as a communications specialist, writer and editor for the home furnishings and home textile industries. Since this room is also our main family room “crash pad” where we relax in the recliner or sectional in the evenings reading or watching TV/movies or entertaining family and friends, the pillow is a perfect segue and symbol of both my professional and personal life. (It is directly in our sight line when we sit in the recliner or a favorite chair directly across from it, and I can look immediately to my left and see the pillow when I am working.)
When I enjoy the pillow, I am reminded of how someone recently observed that the health crisis we’ve all been through as a country and in our communities has inspired personal introspection about what matters. This has prompted people – including myself – to want to have more meaningful things in their lives and a personal connection to what is around us, especially in our homes.
Jane’s crafted lumbar floral pillow infuses our family room with character, emotion and symbolism. When I look at the pillow, I am reminded of the value of craftsmanship and the poignancy of the human touch, as you can see the work of the human hand in each pillow. I’m reminded of the mission of my professional life: Communicating about the profound positive impact of furnishings and décor upon the quality of our lives and the ability of our homes to nurture and uplift us. And I’m reminded of the mission of my personal life: creating and nurturing meaningful connection and community. The pillow may only measure 18”-by-12,” but it has been expansive in its ability to connect two entrepreneurial women across many miles, from High Point, NC to New York, NY, resulting in a long-distance respect and friendship and a pillow creation that in turn will enhance gatherings and connections of family and friends in our home.
Loved this post. A great reminder that community is so important.
@Dawn Ever so important! Thank you for commenting!
Good for you Jane. Beautifully written and obviously worth the “ask”! She seems more than willing to go the extra mile and put her sentiments about you and your craft into words.
@Barbara Most people are delighted to help. I know I am, when asked. I always forget that, though, when I’m on the requesting end of the equation.