Owning the energy…

Having worked my way thru countless art fairs, craft fairs, harvest festivals, farmers markets, gallery openings and gift shops, I have watched varied reactions to the price of fine art, and hand crafted items.  Too many times i have seen someone pick up one of my favorite pieces from a recent firing, one that shouted to me from the back of the kiln with its fire touched glaze, saying “look at me!! I’m here! I survived!”— and watched them glance at the price and quickly put it down, even saying to a shopping partner, “ooof, toooo expensive!”

A spinner friend of mine, Sarah, recently put a beeee-autiful piece on etsy.  Its a cowl (pictured to the left) that she knit from wool that she not only spun, but dyed previously to that.   She has taken workshops and worked for years on her own to perfect some gorgeous spinning technique.  When I asked her how she had made this piece- what kind of knit stitch and dying/spinning questions, she replied:

“This was the second half of the 8 oz roving I dyed in fiber form. I spun a singles in thick and thin, then coil plied it with three different colors of cotton/poly thread held together. It’s knit into a moebius – three rows of knit, three rows of purl – alternated.”

Wow…she did everything short of go out to the pasture and shear the sheep!  Sarah probably wouldn’t view any of what she did as a ‘big deal’… but not everyone can do that… and that is why hand crafted things cost more. They are not made by some machine in a foreign country, from a machine made polyester fiber that was made from recycled water bottles.

Items like this are made by real people, with lives and kids…pets and spouses…people that are trying to figure out how to fit in some ‘art time’, some spinning time, some potting time, in between their jobs, their obligations, their kids’ soccer games.  Real people that had a vision for the piece before it was birthed…a vision that they mulled in their mind how to make tangible, a vision that they wrestled thru with the fiber, the dye, the paint, the clay, the wire, the beads, the glass, the paper…real people that then created and breathed thru that process…and offered it to the public…

When you pick up a piece of art, a hand crafted item, you are picking up the experience of the making, you are picking up the energy of the artist, the process and birth of the piece.  You are being given the opportunity to own the evolution of the piece from birth…the story…

how do you put a price on that?

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. vesselsandjourneys
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 15:58:41

    Sarah’s shop at Etsy is theytoldmesew , and you can find it here:

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/theytoldmesew

    Doesn’t she do brilliant things!! 🙂

    Reply

  2. themagnificentsomething
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 18:00:00

    LOVE!!

    Reply

  3. Ruth Griffiths
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 20:49:21

    I’ve experienced that reaction…everything should be cheap. From the “everything I know about shopping I learned at Walmart”school.
    It’s sad, but it is with us, that attitude.

    Reply

    • vesselsandjourneys
      Jan 15, 2012 @ 20:54:58

      It IS with us…saw a funny T-shirt today that was for knitters that said “Yes, I do know that they sell socks at Walmart.” Made me smile! Same attitude- “if they sell them at Walmart for $3, why in the world would you spend 2 weeks knitting a pair of socks!?”

      Reply

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