about “shop updates”

It seems every time i do this, i lose a few followers, at least on FB! Please remember that small businesses/artists need support too–especially since i myself am temporarily no longer a “floral arranger”/”employee” by day.Β  Some/most of us do not work for conventional employers, whether by choice, or because of need for childcare that necessitates someone staying home, or living in a place where jobs are few and far between, or that geography says it’s too far to commute to! You get one of a kind items this way, made with skill and care, unique viewpoints and representations, often created with original to the maker supplies too, and passion and intent. We can’t just show you what we’re doing: it has to pay for itself, pull its own weight, fly out into the world. Some of us are not just artists, but WORKING artists–and working artists make art/things for sale, not just to pretty up a blog or Instagram.

An artist/maker spends time not only making the product, but developing the skills sometimes for years, doing the initial sketches or design work,Β  gathering the supplies, setting up a work space, photography and editing after, listing the product, packaging when sales are made, schlepping them to the post office, buying special envelopes for some work, and has to pay fees as well to keep the business going, from shop fees, to financing charges, more supply buying and a host of little things that are peculiar to each artist. I don’t mean any of this to offend anyone, am not begging, and certainly am grateful when someone appreciates what i do by opening their wallet. BUT things, “products”, Art, stuff, never spring magically from “a sweated brow”on to a for sale page with no thought or effort beforehand πŸ™‚ It doesn’t just get THUNK into existence: there’s WORK first. I keep my prices low, given the amount of effort/skill/vision that goes into them, and having seen some sell smaller less involved bits for more coin,Β  it sometimes really depresses me, when they’re shocked that i would have the Audacity to actually want good coin, not a token of “faith” in my pocket. There are times when i just want to give up, quite honestly.

On the other hand, i’ve had well meaning friends and family say some of my prices are too “low”, and yes, i’ve always subscribed to the “some bucks is better’n no bucks” theory, but i know what has gone into those particular efforts, and am comfortable with what i asked for πŸ™‚

I’ve had queries about specific pieces that i have shown in my galleries here, things i *might* like to sell to a good home, but have not actively pursued a sale, or even a hint of one, and after a few back and forth emails, when they find out the price–because my bigger pieces, my more involved pieces are more expensive because they were a hell of a lot more work, not only in size, but in execution and skill — *cricket noises*, no further communication, not even a “thanks for answering, but regretfully, no thanks” response. I get that you thought because you bought a piece 6 years ago for $75, that you might figure one of my massive works is only double that now, but that’s not how it works. I know too that active, dedicated, supporters of textile art don’t always have money, and that too, some figure because they have supported someone before, that they should get a deal. I’m happy to work out a payment plan for something already produced, and have on occasion happily done commissioned work on a payment plan as well.

Do you want something that lasts? Are you the kind of shopper that only buys things that *immediately* gratify you? Are you making an investment in your own happiness, or just to fill your belly, impress someone else, keep up with a trend? I’m constantly remembering customers at the flower mines who would decry that “flowers are so expensive for something that doesn’t last”–well, honey, how’s that steak you had last night, keepin’ on? Those flowers that lasted “only” a week made someone happy every *single* day of that week. That’s a lasting impression.

So is art, Art. Big statement piece, small joy as a present for you or a friend, something to make something else with, it’s all in the shop. Thank you for listening to the end of the commercial, not muting it while you go for a pee and a snack πŸ™‚

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11 responses to “about “shop updates”

  1. I can see 6 paragraphs and even more good points. People seem to have no idea how long things take to make let alone how long it took to develop the skills to design and execute the piece . . . maybe β€œX hours labour” would be a good subtitle for a piece that is for sale.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve thought of that for the ones who complain it’s “too expensive” πŸ™‚ When i say 341 hours, than please do calculate out how much i got paid for my time, never mind all the other factors like skill, materials, etc!

      And i fixed the code, so properly showing paragraphs now πŸ™‚

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  2. good luck (((Arlee))) for the fabulous one offs it’s much easier to let a good gallery who believes in you sell the work, yes they charge a commission but I like that it’s already out of the house, as the American artist Kiki Smith said awhile back, “the good thing about being an artist is the work has to go away!”

    Liked by 2 people

    • If i had/when i’ve had art at a gallery, i don’t have it on my own shop, so the price at the gallery is the set one. I used to send customers *to* the gallery as well, if they asked about a specific piece, because undercutting the gallery is a sure way to cut your own throat in the relationship.

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  3. You speak the truth. So many challenges being a maker. The last few weeks we have been brainstorming different ways of reaching the public as it is hard to move forward with traditional methods. Are you by chance on Instagram? It has been my best connector by far.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well said Arlee!! I know I don’t charge enough for my work, but at this point in time I’m happy to sell anything at all. Pricing depends on where you live too – some areas are more affluent and can afford to pay a higher rate. Then there’s the headache of trying to sell online – not something I’m venturing into – yet at least.

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    • Selling online is actually easier for me–it has a wider audience, i don’t have to worry about getting stuff to shops, and i’m paid right away through Paypal, with no bad cheques, no waiting for galleries to pay after 60 days, and no “shop worn” items then. That being said, galleries are for bigger ticket items and i’d rather them do the work and advertising then.

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  5. As a newcomer to your blog (with thanks to Blessings in Thread for sending me your way), I have to say I learn much from reading blogs and appreciate that Jude Hill offers a “Donate” option on Spirit Cloth. Indeed, there was one artist whose blog so inspired me that I “bought” an item in her shop and then emailed to say it was a donation and not to send the item itself.

    It may be overly optimistic on my part, but I believe there are more “better angels” than there are “bad actors” in the world … at least this corner of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh certainly, there are. My point was that a lot of people expect artists to give them deals, pay pittances for the amounts of work done, and that most don’t have a clue sadly, about the details and time that go into the work. As to a “donate” button, that is an individual’s choice, and while kind hearts may use it, in the end it doesn’t pay the bills, however altruistic the donor may feel. I was very grateful the one time i asked for donations, after losing so much in the 2013 Calgary flood, but i still had to sell work to make ends meet, to replace things, and to keep my mojo going πŸ™‚ That is the reality of being a working artist.

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