Today I am making pillows for my porch swing. NOOOOO I cannot keep it simple. I will needle felt with my handy dandy $500 felting machine that I have not gotten my money's worth out of yet. Then I will stitch all kinds of different embroidery stitches and throw in a few beads for good measure. If I were making this to sell it would end up being a $100 porch pillow.
Craft show season is about to start and I'm taking a year off. Let me share a little bit about why those handmade crafts cost what they do.
#1 TIME: Yes we love what we do but it takes a lot of time to find your components and to assemble, paint, sew, solder and fuse.
#2 Experience: When I look back at what I made when I first started I can't believe it sold and wonder if it even held up for those customers.
#3 Supplies: Our supplies are not cheap. Silver is insane and lots of people are not even using it as much because of the prices they would have to charge. I use mainly copper and that used to be pretty cheap. Not any more! Why do you think air conditioners get stolen off of houses. Scrap cooper cha ching! The needles for my felting machine are $40 a pack! Yep $40 for needles and guess what? There are 7 needles in there at one time.
#4 Show fees: I bet you don't know how much it cost to get in a show. Anywhere from $65 - $1000 depending on the place and number of days. Some shows are even asking you to get insurance now and don't forget the application fee that is non refundable if you don't get in. When I started, very seldom did I have to pay an application fee. Now it is the norm.
#5 Found objects cheap? No way! Those of us that make jewels from an assortment of found treasures or recycled stuff still invest money into it. The gas from endless searching and again the time. We could be far more productive if we just bought what we needed but for a ratter it's the thrill of the hunt and that doesn't come cheap.
I am not complaining about this business. It is what I do and love. What I will complain about is when people look at handcrafted art and say " Oh I could make that". Go right ahead then. Take a class that will run you about $50, buy all the equipment, spend hours online to round up just the right supplies you need, compare prices so you get the best deal, drive drive drive to find stuff and then find the time to sit down and make it without interruption.
Good luck to all my talented friends who work extremely hard at what they love. I do not know one single wealthy crafter. We do it because it is our passion, not for the money.
Off to make my $100 swing pillow just for me. ( :