Friday, June 10, 2011

Putting it Together

Posted by Lora Hart
Artistic Advisor

Have you ever thought about what really goes into the making of a single piece of jewelry? I know you're aware of the obvious things like working with wet clay, grooming and perfecting dry clay, firing it into silver (gold, copper or bronze), and finishing it perfectly. Then of course there's the part where you spend time stringing, setting, soldering, chain making, ring sizing, or any of the other myriad ways we turn our pretty, shiny bits and pieces into wearable works of art.

I've adopted this song as my artistic manifesto.

But making jewelry takes so much more energy, time and money than simply sitting down at your bench and getting busy. What about:

1. Research
2. Set up
3. Clean up
4. Physical time spent shopping for tools and supplies
5. Maintenance
6. Postage
7. Mileage
8. Catalog browsing
9. Gallery going
10. Web surfing
11. Day dreaming
12. Sketching
13. Class taking
14. Equipment re arranging
15. Do overs
16. Question asking
17. Phone answering
18. Bill paying (lights, rent, baby sitter, etc.)
19. Peer socializing
20. Comparison shopping
21. Magazine reading
22. Imagining, pondering, and planning
23. Collecting
24. Note taking
25. Trend following

I could go on. And then there are the expenses and time taken while doing shows, selling online, selling in person, submitting photos, proposing to galleries, writing articles, participating in challenges, wrapping gifts, making trades, going to conferences, Skyping, marketing, designing web sites, ordering business cards, re listing, ad infinitum.

Whether you're a home crafter, wholesaler or anything in between, many of these activities (and others I haven't listed) are involved in the making of just a single piece of jewelry. Are you being well paid for your efforts - monetarily, emotionally, and in every other way that makes you feel successful?

You'll notice that I put monetarily first. Often times artists don't factor the above mentioned activities into their pricing, but each is a necessary element in your jewelry making practice. In addition to the all the other responsibilities you have, like child and spouse care, housekeeping, day job, play time, think of all the time you really spend on your art. And make sure that you're not undermining your own success.


Terrie said...

Lora, Yes, all of the above, and more.

KP Designs - Handcrafted Jewlery said...


as always, thanks for your insight!

Anonymous said...

Well said!!! I think these same thoughts when I see jewelry artists underpricing their own work and not realizing that in doing that, they also have a negative effect other artists.
Gloria Ewing