Saturday, September 1, 2007

What price art?

Went to the art fair in Marietta Square today. It didn't seem that good this year. I saw a lot of artists from the other art fairs this year, including the Folk Art festival from last weekend. Didn't buy anything.

There was a lot of pottery, but I didn't buy anything, since I'll be starting pottery classes next week. I've been making pottery for probably 5 years now, but really, all I ever make are bowls. At the art fair, I was mostly drawn to the bowls, but I did see some raku boxes that were very cool. I had planned on going back to that booth but forgot. Probably just as well.

There was a weaver, which was new. And 2 knitting vendors. One sold scarves, ponchos, and shawls from ladder yarn. She was asking $90 for a scarf. She said the yarn was from Italy and Germany. Okay. I've gone to Michael's Arts and Crafts and gotten one ball of nylon ladder yarn for about $7 and made the same kind of scarf.

Of course, I'm not counting my time, which is actually the biggest cost. I don't know how many hours I spent actually knitting, because for me, the actually process of knitting, of making something with my two hands, is the biggest pleasure for me. However, let's use the Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts as an example.

The book estimate that the scarf takes more than 8 hours to make, so let's say it takes 10 hours. So 10 hours of knitting x $5.15 an hour minimum wage = $51.50. Then add in the $7 for the yarn, the $5 for the needles, and we're up to $63.50. The vendor has to add in some more cost for ice packs and aspirin from knitting too much. So let's bring it up to $70. There's also the cost of renting the tent, the display booth equipment, a bit of the cost have to be built into the price of each piece, and then in the end, the vendor has to mark it up to actually make a profit.

Hence the $90 scarf. Which I won't buy. But others will, because they either can't knit or rather not knit that and use their knitting time on something else. Certainly I have bought pottery, even bowls, because I know that even though I could make it, I probably won't.

I have learned that lesson. Just look at my knitting queue, which I add to all the time. I just won't have time to make all the things I want to. So either it doesn't get made at all, or I go ahead and buy it, actually get to enjoy it, and support an independent artist.

The other knitting vendor sold felted purses for $100+. They were nicely lined with inner pockets, a key holder thingy, nice straps, etc. But again, I thought "I can make that! And I have made felted purses." And I'm thinking of making another, bumping it to the head of the knitting queue. It'll be easy portable knitting.

After Honorine gets done. More than half way there. Progress pictures later, when the sun it out.

1 comment:

Stacey said...

I've gotten better in the last couple of years at admitting that although I might be able to create a particular item, I don't have the time. So I've bought some art pieces I really treasure. Or Matthew buys them for me as gifts. I like looking at the art around our house and thinking of the artists we've supported. It brings a good vibe into our home.