Monday, October 10, 2011

Pricing work

It's always a challenge to price handmade work. Number one it takes far longer to produce than commercially made goods and number 2 it takes an appreciative and educated audience to understand the value of the work.  Many artists tend to devalue their work by pricing it low just to make a sale.  I have friends who do this.  What they do not understand is it devalues not only their work but also the work of all artists.  A buying public gets confused and then perceives the value of handmade work as something less than it should be.

I recently came across a blog which talks about this.  It encourages artists to price their work by honoring not just the material costs but also the labor and value of making the work.  I whole heartily agree.  I know many artists who don't charge for their time.  What business person would not get paid for their time? Just because we are artists and that has romantic implications, doesn't mean that we should not get paid a decent wage for what we do.  I share this now for those of you who read this blog and sell your work.  I also share it for those of you who buy handmade work and wonder how work is priced.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Craft Show Artists are "Jacks of All Trades"!

So what's it like to be a craft show artist?  You travel to many places.  You meet interesting people.  You have friends in many cities. You see artist friends and are inspired by them. Days of preparation lead up to exhibiting your work to hopefully an appreciative audience who will fall in love with your work, purchase, and enjoy it everyday. Halt!!! That's the romantic side!

The unromantic side is you are exhausted from staying up late and working hard to have enough choices for customers.  Your body aches from packing up the car and then unpacking the car at the show (not to mention that this happens on the other end when you go home).  You have to set up your tent and display pieces.  You have to get up early to be at the show to finish displaying your work. As inventory changes your booth display changes.  It is always a challenge to create an effective and interesting display which will draw the customer into your booth.  If you not a morning person as I am not, you have the added challenge of trying to wake your brain up to complete all these early morning tasks.  And if I don't have my high test tea, I am in trouble!

So this past weekend when I set up my tent at the Wheaton Arts Show, I was able to set up the day before. This is always a blessing. My friend, Bette, was there to help me.  Everything was going along fine until I went to look for the bottom leg extensions for the poles to my tent.  They were no where to be found! "He who shall remain nameless" forgot to put them in the car. "Uh Oh" was my thought (actually that was the mild version!).  I am in trouble.  My tent will only go up less than 6 feet high without the extensions and this is not an item that the local Home Depot carries.  While we started setting up the tent, I began to think.  What might be a tempoary substitute that would raise the legs of the tent?  BINGO - bed risers!  Would they be high enough, sturdy enough to work?  So off we went to Bed, Bath, & Beyond to look for bed risers.  Thank goodness they had them in stock!  So for a $15 fix, I bought them and crossed my fingers that this was going to work.   It did! WooHoo!  My creative leg extensions were the talk of the craft people around me.  I was amazed how well it worked and much to my surprise it didn't look bad!

Here are a few pictures:

Not bad, Huh? I may just always keep these in the car just in case......................................