Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thoughts on Crafting and Commissions

I've had a few folks ask about what I charge to make things recently.

One of the people that asked was serious about giving me a commission to do. I appreciate this, and have completed that particular project. Some one randomly left a comment on a different journal entry in the few weeks asking what I would charge to make something. This person did not respond to my reply which makes me think they either were not serious or decided I was over charging for my time.

I got to thinking and decided to share these thoughts with others.

ONE: The domestic arts are called arts for a reason. Things many people view as "quaint" or "trite" or a "hobby" are in actuality a means of expression for the person crafting that item. While many artists work in oil or sculpt, others work in silk and linen or knit, crochet, quilt or even *gasp* make preserves.

TWO: When requesting an item be made, please keep in mind the item will not only require materials to make it, it will also require time and effort. There might even be a bit of blood, sweat and tears involved in the process. There is a reason a hand knit pair of socks will start out at $30 for basic, plain socks. Likewise, even a simple dish cloth will take time to make. Minimum wage in the United States is: $6.55 an hour. Trust me, very few handcrafted items take less than one hour to make.

THREE: Giving someone materials as a present is nice. Gifting them with the raw materials for their preferred craft and saying "Now you can make something for me." is more than a bit rude. How would you feel if you were given a present and told how to use it and when to give it back? (no, this has not happened to me, I know someone this happened to.)

FOUR: If a person says no they cannot recreate an item, they are not jerking you around. They honestly mean they cannot make what you are asking for. Hinting they whip something up over night and ship it out ASAP is rude Remember crafts people have families and this is a busy time of year for them. Also keep in mind their supplies cost funds they just might NOT have.

Finally, fiber arts and allergies. People have sensitivities to fur, fiber, dander, lanolin and other things. As a crafts person, it is the maker's responsibility to stay within set boundaries when you make something for sale. Should a request state "NO wool, no alpaca, no animal fiber" for whatever reason, please show respect and consideration for the people you are working for.
Yes, that is right, when a crafts person/artist takes on a commission, they are working for the person who is paying them. Take the time to discuss parameters and make sure both parties are clear on what is and is not expected.

This guide is not pointed to any one in particular. These are just thoughts that kept me awake the other night.

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