Thursday, 21 September 2017

Paradigm shifts and selfies

Hello. Are you still here? I know I'm not very often, for which I apologise.

I've been doing many things, as usual, although since getting back from this place not as many as I would normally be doing at this time of year.

Rather than bore you all with all the details, especially if you've heard it all before, I'll just say "dog, dislocated shoulder, six weeks house arrest, large Barclaycard bill, child no longer child but sixth-former and workload to match, group exhibition in Brighton, illustrated talk about my work to these lovely people on Monday, still too much damn clutter in the house and DIY projects still undone".

And I'm having an existential artistic crisis. I'm not sure if that's really what it is, but that seems to cover it. Basically, I'm having a rethink. So probably not a crisis. Yet. I knew I had the autumn free to have a think, so now I'm here I might be having a wobble. I suppose I don't know what the outcome will be.

I'm being vague. Sorry. I'll try and clarify.

For example, here is a necklace I made ages ago. It's not for sale, never has been, and I wear it. It is machine embroidered, but also stitched and beaded by hand, and has a silk pouch on the back - also stitched by hand, with invisible stitching. It is quite tiny but intricate.

If I should make such a thing to sell (and I have done in my etsy shop) how much should I charge for something like this? All in all, from raw materials to absolutely finished, it would probably take a day to do this. At the rate I charge for teaching workshops that should be £150 and that doesn't include materials or overheads, that's just my time. Obvs, that's not what I have been charging. But then, they've not sold like hot cakes despite the low price.

Hence my crisis. Or do I just need a paradigm shift. Worth. Value. Or am I mad, verging on the deluded. Who knows. The selfies I took to try and get a "in use" shot of the necklace may answer that.


getting frustrated 

quite angry now

resigned to the bad selfie


  1. I totally understand your dilemma - I visit that conundrum on a regular basis. DO hope your rethink brings you a solution! I so enjoy your work AND your musings~ And, frankly, your selfies are WAY better than I've managed. I'm rather frightening in mine! Stitch on! Joy is in the making!

  2. You're not the only one to have this problem. I know I've undercharged for the commissions I've done - much, much larger than a necklace! - but that was what the buyers could afford, and I know they treasure them (and realise they got a good deal). So in those cases I'm happy. But I think each of us needs to make that decision for themselves - bearing in mind that if you charge too little, you are undervaluing not only your own work, but that of everyone else...

  3. A problem for many artists, I haven't found a solution yet. I tend to charge what I think people will be willing to pay trying to take some account of my time and enough to cover the materials.

  4. Love those photos of you! Nice to "meet" you. Love the necklace but unfortunately we live in a society that do not always understand the value of handmade. We may be happy to buy fair trade bananas but do we give fair trade to people who make things? You are not the only one. I have decided not to make things to sell, I only ever really tried it half heartedly, but have found freedom in it. I have had to do a lot of soil searching about not needing other people's worth from buying my things but being content that what I make is for me and those I choose to give it to. So many people trying to make a living from selling and I don't really see the point of adding my meagre share. But enough of me, this is your space. I love your necklace and have just doodled it into a sketchbook to build on an idea I have. You have added to my ideas. How much worth do we put on that?

  5. Soul searching, not soil searching! Ha ha

  6. Hmmmmm recognize your problem, Iz ....

    Always thinking that myself (and don't even háve an Etsy ... and markets are not a succes either ...)

    So I don't have an answer or good advice for you, sorry !

  7. People are not often prepared to pay for textile art like they would for a painting. Good luck with wherever your thinking takes you.

  8. Lovely to see you again. And if that's you angry, I have to say it's far from scarey! Last week I took a bag of embroidered goodie, nearly 100 of them, to our guild, where they will be for sale at our guild annual display of work. I have made cards, felt baby booties, Christmas tree ornaments, petal bags, needlebooks, a brooch and Matryoshka dolls. They took hours to make. I know that maybe a third won't sell this time.I doubt if my return will be $1.00 (NZ) an hour. But I still do it. Guild only takes 10%, which is not much. I keep doing it though. It enables a stress free Christmas. Another of our members who also creates things to sell, says she won't be doing it again. Will I? Probably. Given the customer base doesn't change much from year to year, one has to keep coming up with fresh ideas. So I for one, really understand your frustration.

  9. It probably shouldn't but this post did make me laugh... but then you know that I've been there and I'm still there. One existential crisis after another going on here!


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