Pricing Our Work

I came across this post this week, and it struck a chord with me.

Sam Hunter, at Hunter’s design Studio runs through how to price a quilt. She is adamant about defending “our” work. First, she helps to break down the cost of a quilt, both in time and then in materials. She offers a formula for how to estimate yardage used in a project. And then, she talks about pricing your time. She is eloquent and thoughtful about breaking it down, and helps to map out how we can/could all talk about our work with people who are not familiar with the needle arts.
What I like about the post the most is that Sam is passionate about her point, but she is not militant. She has a well laid out discussion, but it is not an argument. She is a professional, talking about her work. Thank you for the post Sam.


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11 years ago by in Needlecraft , Quilting | You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
7 Comments to Pricing Our Work
    • DrRuss
    • Here was my response to the post:

      I just came across your post from Just Crafty Enough. As a male who makes handcrafted items, I don’t feel that your discussion is only applicable to women. I make items out of paper products–handmade books and journals, greeting cards, etc. I believe that the discussion can be placed in larger terms–fine arts vs crafts. People in the fine arts (sculptors, painters, etc.) have no problem in pricing their pieces—they are designing for public viewing/sale/auction. The problem is that our pieces are viewed as “crafty” rather than “fine art” and therefore, they are devalued by society because we are viewed as crafters rather than artists. I have run into this problem with my products all of the time. Yes, you can buy a machine made journal from any number of stores. Yes, you can buy a manufactured, mass produced greeting card from any number of locations. What you can’t buy, without my help, is a handcrafted, one-of-a-kind journal made specifically for you. If you do buy one piece of a set, you will own one in a limited series of handmade made items.

      Until we value our own work at “art” and not some stay at home person making items as a hobby and get into the BUSINESS of selling our pieces, we will constantly be devalued by others and OURSELVES. By underselling our items, we help devalue our pieces to others and society. Until we step up to the plate and believe in our “artistry” we can’t help ourselves. And by all means, don’t forget–You Do Not Work for Free. You have to pay yourself for the manufacturing of the item at a minimum. And the creating and design work, if you feel necessary–in which you should.

      • Kat
      • I hate the fact that the word “craft” has gotten such a bum wrap. It too often gets associated with thoughts of tacky, cheap items. Why does “handmade” have to have a better connotation than “homemade?”

        I have to say I consider myself a crafter not an artist because of the type of things I make. Though I have to say there are quilters and needleworkers who I think have elevated those crafts to an art. I consider the type of paperworking you do Dr. Russ an art.

    • Diana
    • I also believe that the definition of art has to be changed. Just because its a quilt,a card or a beaded necklace does not make it any less beautiful or any less worthy of the name art. I’ve seen beautiful works of art made by people who consider themselves crafters and horrible pieces by artists. My mother made beautiful crochet lace with tread so thin that I don’t know how she could see to make the stitches,and just because it was part of a blouse, or pillow or anything else did not take away from its beauty or its worth as a work of art. We crafters make what I like to call functional art, its art that has a purpose, hold someones thoughts, make something or someone more beautiful. We put in thought and feeling into what we create. We put yourselves into what we make it is worth allot more than what we ask for. Maybe I’m crazy but I feel that each piece I make has a little part of me in it, they are my creations don’t diminish their worth. No one would think of doing that to a Picasso,or a Michelangelo,and OK what we make may not be masterpieces but to us they are pretty darn close.

    • Ros
    • I strongly disagree with the reclassification of craft as art. I think it utterly devalues the term craft, by saying that only things which are art are valuable. I think craft is valuable as craft.

      But I also think that craft, in most cases, isn’t a viable way of making money. I think craft is valuable for making beautiful and useful things for oneself, friends and family. I don’t think that the market is ever going to be there for craft products priced to give a reasonable wage to the maker (for the most part. Obviously there will be a few exceptions at the very high-end of the market). But, to me, that makes craft all the more special, because it means that it has to stay personal, not commercial.

      • DrRuss
      • I understand your dismay but until “craft” is equally accepted as original “art” then what we make (rather it be for friends, etc) will continue to be undervalued. I just want people to stop using the term “craft” as a diminutive or pejorative term. I also feel that not all art is commercial. For example, most graffiti art isn’t commercial but definitely artistic and not craft. Just my thoughts.

        • Ros
        • I definitely agree that not all art is commercial. And I also agree that craft ought not to be used pejoratively. That’s why I want crafters to claim and use the word proudly.

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