Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Art & Money

I'm always amazed by how people think about art and what it's worth. Not just the stuff I make--I hear it from artists I interview all the time. But I'll use myself as an example. Someone contacted me recently about one of the journal skirts. She really wanted it, but after I sent the price, I never heard back. This has happened before. I sell the skirts for between $125 and $375--some have sold for more when I used to do it on consignment (ick). That may sound like a lot if you know nothing about handmade, one-of-a-kind artwear, but I'm not making even minimum wage off these when I sell them. I put in a ton of hours, embroidering and beading and stamping, doing the appliques and transfers. In truth, I never make them to sell. I make them for myself, to wear, and then, when I get tired of them or decide I don't want to wear them after all or have too many around the house and need to clear out--THEN I offer them for sale. If someone wants one I've just finished, it's going to cost more than one I made six months ago and is hanging in one of the closets--because it's still new to me, and I still love it and want to keep it. I don't sell many of these, of course. And I don't really try any more. It's too frustrating to even bother with. People will rave over them, just love them, and then expect me to sell them one--or, worse, custom design and make one--for less than $100. I'd rather go to work at the EZ Mart down the street. I could DEFINITELY make more money per hour. So here's the thing: if you find art you love, either buy it or don't buy it, but do NOT try to bargain with the artist. Don't bitch about how much it costs. Don't sneer at the price they've put on their work. It's their ART! I talked to a local artist who does FABULOUS stuff in steel, and he was telling about a couple who wanted one of his pieces at a show. The woman complained about the price, and her husband came up and sneered at the work, as if that would make the artist cut the price. What he did was take the piece, wrap it up and hand it to the woman and say, "Here. Take it. Don't ever come back again." They were both shamed, as they should have been. The husband tried to pay him, but the artist wouldn't even talk to them. If you love a piece of art, look at it closely and think about how much you'd charge if you were making it. If you think you can do it, then do it yourself. But don't make the artist feel bad. Art isn't a way to make money. You do it because you have to do it. Some artists never try to sell a thing, and I don't blame them. The more I see and hear, the less inclined I am to even try. I've been at shows and conventions where people would walk by my table and sneer at my stuff, make rude comments, laugh at my artwear. Which is why I've quit going to those. Now I just stay home and do what I do. And that skirt that the woman wanted? One of my editors loved it and is having me write it up. They'll photograph it splendidly so everyone can see it, they'll send me a nice little check (more than the price I quoted to the potential buyer), AND I'll get to keep the skirt and wear it myself! Now that's the way to spend my time. It's kind of like why I quit substitute teaching after 16 years: I found I could make more money staying at home working in my pajamas and not ever have anyone be rude to me. And that's worth a lot.

Pansy Pinafore





Or maybe it's an apron--remember the blank one I showed you back at the end of November? This is what it looks like now--after dyeing and stamping, adding some pansy appliques, putting on the buttons that are in the current issue of Legacy magazine--the one that has my name on the cover--woo-woo! The pansies on the back are so cool--my mother grew some and picked them and pressed them and sent them to me, and I scanned them in and saved them and can now print them out and use them over and over. My mother is bemused by this--this saving and using again and again. But she's supportive--now if I could just get her to grow more flowers!

Sheesh--it's impossible to do this--every time I try to post a new entry, Moe gets in my lap and wants to be petted. Right now he's licking my hands--first the left hand, then the right, then the left. Here's the other thing he loves--click here. You can grab him with your mouse and move him around, and Moe LOVES that--like watching a rat on the screen. Cats rule my life; I'm just a pawn.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

More Journal Pages!


I finally finished this one--I've been working on it forever. Well, since Halloween, anyway. All that stitching around the bats just took forever, but it sure is cool: I really like the texture when you run your fingers over it. I've already started another one--about wine, which I adore. But it's going to take a while. With luck, I'll finish something else before then--I'm working on the apron I showed last week (or whenever it was).

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lennie Lew



Since I haven't completed anything this week except an article--nothing visual--I'm giving you another adorable cat. This is Lennie Lew, or Lennie Lulu--named after the boxer Lennox Lewis (I adore heavyweight boxing but refuse to watch any fight where the men weigh less than I do, which rules out the featherweight bouts, for sure). When she and her brother, Monk (named after Thelonius Monk) were tiny, their mother brought them to our house and raised them in the flower bed, and the grackles would sit in the pine tree and tell her they were going to eat her babies. I'd go out and yell, 'Hey, Mike! Take a hike!" It amused the hell out of me but probably worried the neighbors.

Got to go--Moe, Lennie's half brother, has given up rubbing on my hand to get me to pet him and is now gnawing on me.