"To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books.".....The Secret Teachings of All Ages



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Earrings

I love making earrings. They are quick, fun, and a great way to use up bits and bobs left over from other projects. You can play around with ideas, color combinations, and wrapping techniques, and if the idea doesn't work out, you haven't put loads of time and effort in, so taking it all apart doesn't give you heart palpitations. Also, you can keep the prices down, so they tend to sell quicker than larger pieces with higher price tags.  They are also easy when it comes to doing seasonal/holiday specific designs. So, if I am stumped for an idea, I make earrings. It's always fun, and inspiring.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

For Love Or Money?

In a pod cast done with Lorri Scott over at the Voodoo Cafe blog, the question came up on whether you create things to make money, or for the love of it. This mainly applied to those attempting to make money off of their artwork/clothing/jewelry, etc, as opposed to it being more a hobby. Should you follow trends and attempt to make things strictly for the buying public, or do you stay with what you love, and hope it sells? I think it is a question anyone wanting to make a few bucks from their work will ask themselves at some point. If you are depending on your work as your only source of income, it's critical.

I'm lucky in that I am married, with a husband who makes enough money to support us. I am also retired, so I get that little Social Security check every month, which helps. So for me, I don't really have to make that choice. I can make what I love, put it up on my Etsy site, and hope it sells. Sales there have been hit or miss...mostly miss. I have better luck at SCA events where people can actually see the pieces, hold them up, try them on, and fall in love with them. I make enough to break even. Sometimes a bit more.  If I relied on my jewelry to support me, I'd be doomed.

Some artists are lucky. They make what they love, and it sells like hotcakes, or at least they sell enough to keep them from signing into a 9-5 job. Then again, if you rely on your artwork, I suspect your hours are more like 12/7, with no medical insurance or 401K plan. To make that commitment, you must be passionate about what you do, or you'd go nuts. And I don't think you could be that passionate making stuff just for the sale value. Could you churn out stuff you didn't care a fig for, just to make money? I know I couldn't. I'd become a greeter at WalMart and keep doing what I love on the side.

Depending on your circumstances, it's a tough choice to make. Some may not have the option. Some may do both...make things more commercially viable, while also making things they love. It can be frustrating, and tempting..."Wow, look, pink plastic sonic bracelets are selling like crazy on Etsy. Maybe I should make something out of pink plastic? Maybe I could actually make some money?"

How true to your artist visions can you stay, and still make enough money to at least keep you in supplies, let alone make enough money to live on? How do you make that choice? How much are you willing to bend? How long are you willing to try before giving up?

I suspect most true artists, like me, would do what we do whether we got money for it or not. It's just in our DNA to create. You can't NOT make something, whether you keep it for yourself, or attempt to sell it. Between my jewelry and drawings, and my writing and gardening, I am always busy creating something. Some things I attempt to sell, hoping that others will appreciate what I do and love them as much as I do. Some I keep for myself, because I love them too much to turn them loose. Others, if I haven't sold them and they've been around for awhile gathering dust, I donate to silent auctions or raffles. Others, made for a specific person, I give as gifts. But they are all pieces that I loved in one way or another. Nothing was made of cheap goods, or slipshod workmanship...to the best of my currant ability. It's the only way I know how to work.

  
So, the bottom line for me is...I do it for love. I am blessed, in that I have the time, additional income, and understanding spouse that allows me that luxury. I give thanks for it everyday.

(Necklace pictured is made of antiqued brass findings, worked black wire, beads that look like polished steel, and in the center of the filigree medallion, a vintage button with faceted jet chips.)




Thursday, May 3, 2012

Goodbye, Domino

Will be taking a hiatus of about a week or so. My little merry prankster of a cat, Domino, who has been the joy of my life for almost 20 yrs, was finally laid to rest last Monday, after a long battle. I miss him terribly, and when I can finally wake up in the morning and not cry when I realize, again, that he is gone, I'll start posting again. Right now, my heart isn't in it, it's with my loveable jokester in a place where I can't follow.