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The true cost of handmade by Somer sheerwood - Part 1

>> Sunday, 5 August 2012

While wasting time, I came across this well-written blog with over 700 comments, then followed by additional 157 replies on it's next sequel.A full-time crafter/art-ist with description as " lives in a 1923 bungalow in Los Angeles and makes things with yarn, and makes a killer homemade pizza (not made of yarn)", I think these little lines must be written by someone with lots of fun :)

(Photo: The "contorversial" handmade hat - credit to Sommer Sheerwood )

So what happened was, she knitted this beautiful hat, then pricing it at $150 during a craft fair. Then came a customer, and after inspecting the hat, said (with some nasty face)- Do you really charge this much?”

So, she went home and composed this blog, with some serious math calculation, to explain how the breaking cost of $150 was like.  She paid herself $7.50/hour, and after taking away the cost of materials and other miscellaneous, she left with only $4.84/hour!

How fair it is to have someone said - Do you really charge this much?”

She wrote a sequel sometime later, ended with a simple note saying – the hat is sold J. (Some fans later did responded and said - that piece of art should worth more than $150!).

I was personally taken aback, and surprised to learn that this is a global issue. All these years, I have been assuming that arts have been perceived, received and paid well in the western countries and not only in a developing country where I live.

Way back years ago, I used to sell handmade bags with different details of beading styles and decorations at various market places, bazaars and crafts fairs on weekends. I am used to be asked - Do you really charge this much?. I understand the different challenges and issues, when having to tag " a some" price to a handmade good. I have experienced the many next half an hour, waiting for some good sales to happen, then started to realized that it is just a "wrong crowd". I understand the little choices that we sometimes have to surrender significant amount of revenues and opting for a little returns, sometimes just enough to pay the booth rental.  It pains a lot after going home and keep on thinking of the good hours and effort spent to make each of them.

I am glad such writing has finally emerged from someone and has brought over-whelmed responds from people of various art backgrounds. There are people out there who make a living out of this  art industry. And in this economic downturn, the number continues to grow.

I am glad that many of them have came forward and raised a comment. Some are plainly short and straight to the point. Some were written in quite length, a novel-style,  perhaps to  to express their longed-suppressed disappointments in the industry.

I appreciate their honesty and herioc points. Having anything like this searchable and readable on the web is good enough, to make an eye opener to lovely crafters out there, the consumers and perhaps the many-hyper-marts ;)

Imagine a world without arts, and everything you wear from head to toe, has to come from the hyper-marts? Imagine a world without any other kind of jobs (like crafting) but only the 9 to 5-live-like-a –machine jobs? J

I make my best attempt to read this entry like a book, understand the  underlying issues, and the whole bunch of arguements each tried to stand out. Trust me, reading a blog with 700 comments will defenitely take sometime, while not gorget to mention, the complexities when having to wonder which reply goes to which comment, and vice versa. I hope, I can do this fast.

So, I have quickly scanned through some of the good ones and will share it in my next post.

8 Aug: you might want to read this section of comments that made me laughed cry, click The true cost of handmade by Somer sheerwood - "my grandmother's dead"


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Ros Ros
Passionate about sewing, embroidery and crafts, love to read and write, to give and receive, and to self-nurture. 
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