Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tear drops

The printed lozenge/tear drop shape was from quite a number of years ago , for a quilt I made that got into Quilt 2001. I had created a gocco screen ( similar to thermofax) and printed the bright orange fabric. I found some left over ones the other day and of course reminded myself that I love that tear drop/lozenge shape and have played around with ideas for it for quite some time. I liked what happened when i put the butter yellow french knots onto the black dots in the design. I must find the screen i made for this as I want to make some more of these- I like how textural it feels under my hand. I feel like I am finding myself again.

And Miles commented in regard to my previous post:
I just don't see how you make any kind of money at $35 for a beautiful piece of work- unless you are a machine able to crank them out a dozen/hour! Amazing.

Thank you Miles for that comment! I find it difficult to price things. As I have always supported my family from my art/teaching and writing I need to keep things turning over and I would like to put bigger prices on things- on the other hand my price is based on an hourly rate. And because I am now a single parent in rented accommodation I am very mindful and perhaps even a little anxious that I need to keep things ticking along, otherwise I will need to partially abandon what I am doing and go back to regular employment whilst I work out what to do with my piece of land and whether I can make, living in France, in 2010 a reality for at least a year. I would love to hear some views as to how other artists price things. It sometimes feels as if you need to reinvent the wheel each time. Thoughts anyone?

Posted by Picasa


The WestCountryBuddha said...

Pricing is a hard thing to get right because on the one hand you don't want to be giving stuff away but on the other, it's much better to sell than not. I know folk who sell but make a loss when you add the materials and overheads up - it's ridiculous. Prhaps it's because it's not their living they're making but they devalue others work in doing so. On the other hand there is a buzz to be had in a sale and why shouldn't they if they;re happy with the price.

When I did city and guilds they taught us how to work out the price of things but I've learned by experience that people don't buy as the costs works out very high if you add what you think you're worth in labour charges. (you're different here because I regard you as a "name" and should be able to command a higher price than some) A teacher also told me that a good price guide is to total the cost of your materials including electricity and double it - ie don't include a seperate charge for labour. This seems odd at first but works quite well on smaller pieces.

For myself I've found a ceiling on prices and I cannot get more than £450 for a piece. I wouldn't not want to sell some of them for much less because there is an enormous amount of work in them and they satisfy a creative need that I can't give away. (I'm not a charity, and would prefer to keep them myself rather than let them go very cheaply.) So I have a compromise; what I do is make my large pieces and exhibit them, and then spend odd moments making smaller pieces that I think would be saleable and range the price for these at under £25 to sell at the same exhibitions. This gives an opportunity for someone to buy on an entry level or as a souvenir or simply to support me because they know me, and means I can at least cover costs, and possibly a bit more. I made as much last year from little bits as large bits. I'm not a professional, full time seller who has to make a living out of her needle/paintbrush- as you well know - and these are just the thoughts and experiences of an enthusiastic amateur, so maybe our motives are slightly different? I wish you well. I've bought from you in the past - both pieces and fabrics - and I wouldn't do that if I wasn't pleased with the value/quality of what you were selling. The prices seem about right for the UK, but obviously, I have no idea how they are for Oz.

Chris Gray said...

I too find pricing difficult - as has been said above, too high and it won't sell, too low and you de-value your work.
It depends on where you sell too. My expo is going into a gallery next year and they take 40% of any sales, therefore, the prices have to take that into account. I'll be doing a few large (ish) pieces that will be fairly highly priced (£250 - £550 is quite high for around here!) but will be making a lot of smaller pieces that (hopefully) wil sell a bit easier.
I don't kid myself that I'm going to get a fair hourly rate - I make things because it keeps me sane and I love the fact that people want my work - it makes me feel valued. I have known people to be completely bowled over with a piece, but could not afford the price. (You can tell the difference between can't and won't.) So wherever possible I bring it down so that they can have it. Stupid maybe, but the look of absolute pleasure on their faces is well worth the price drop! If friends really like something - then they get it for Christmas, birthday, Easter, or just because it's Tuesday. I get as much pleasure out of giving things away as I do from making them in the first place.
I don't have to make money from my creative activities at the minute, but this will have to change on the next couple of years - so what happens then? don't know.
Hope you do get to spend a year in France - we lived there for a few years and really loved it. We go back every year for the month of July. I'd love to think I could retire there, but it's going to depend on retirement income. Damn! Why does it always come down to money! bring back the bartering system.........

jude said...

i wish i could help, i am about to be faced with that quite soon. unemployed after this month. i do think your work is very reasonably priced and i guess that must be a consideration because i am not sure how much anyone is really willing or even more, able, to afford the the real price of the labor in these kinds of pieces...

Kim said...

D, Im no expert, however I believe any one who lives from their artwork understands the truth about such things. Your work is very beautiful.