Friday, August 20, 2010

How much does it cost? ~ The Value of Artistic Endeavors

Workstation Tray for EarringsToday is one of those rare days where there isn't a featured artist on Meandering Musings. Instead, I'd love the opportunity to educate!

This blog was created as a way to lend my support to the handmade and artisan community. There are so many talented people out there and the majority of them aren't appreciated for the work they put into their craft but only the end result. So many shoppers never realize the hours of work put into a hand-crafted piece or the years of trial-and-error and education it took to learn to make these items. And yet it's -that- which makes handmade and artisan items so special in the first place.

In the words of Mary Ann Williams ....

Coffee Table Workstation for Jewelry Design"Many people who balk at the price of art work, wouldn't think of working at jobs that involve the amount of time most artists spend on their craft, much less work at a job with no paid vacation, or paid sick leave. If you sit down and figure what you are making per hour including all of the items above as part of your work time, there are very few people that would work for such pay. An artists time is just as valuable as anyone else's.

I believe that many artists don't put a high enough value on what they do. Many work for pennies. Some do it "just to earn enough to buy more supplies". Unfortunately, in doing so, they are educating the public not to appreciate what they do, or at least not the time they have spent on it.

Photography Station for Taking Pictures of Finished Jewelry PiecesWe have educated the public in thinking that most artists are hobbyists and this is something "extra" that they do to earn a few bucks. I have seen some beautiful work done by excellent craftsmen and have heard the buying public say "can you believe what they want for that????" Most times, the prices compared to the hours spent have meant the artist is working for less than minimum wage. Many talented artists are discouraged from continuing their craft because they can't make a living at it and we are thus deprived of the beauty they could create and we could enjoy. Many people think nothing of spending $100 on a dinner out but wouldn't spend $100 on a piece of art that they could have forever. It's because they don't value it the same. It's not because they can't afford it." (Mary Ann Williams -

I would encourage anyone... everyone to stop by Mary Ann William's page, "Pricing Your Work. Can You Live on What You Make?" and read the entire article there. It's an excellently written article about how artisans price their work and if you've ever wondered about the prices some artisans ask for their work it's an article you definitely won't want to miss.



jargonheadstudios said...

This is a fantastic article! As an artist, I thank you for writing about the work/resources it takes create a piece of art. Most of us are doing this because we love it, not for the money :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for this. Maybe you just educated my next buyer!

Denise said...

Wonderful article. Take into consideration also the time factor in Years that a craftsperson puts into accessing tools, and perfecting their skills. Thank you for this.

customdesigns4ubynan said...

what you say is so true. Selling the goods I make takes forever, so I am now also selling my fabrics, and that is taking off much faster than I wish I could support myself on etsy, since being laid off, but by the grace of unemployment I can still pay the rent.

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