Sunday, January 18, 2015

What its about... part 2

In the last blog entry I discussed what SOME expenses could be as a stall holder/maker/indie artist… from my point of view as a resin jewellery artist.
Each craft has it’s own extent of expenses. Mosaicing, wood painting, decoupage, event planning, polymer clay, beaded jewellery, laser cutting… the list could go on.
But my knowledge is limited to resin and beaded jewellery.
In this post I decided to give some times to show how long one of my “usual” necklaces takes to make, from start to finish, as I cast my own moulds and resin.

·         Resin poured into moulds                             = 2-3 days to cure
·         Epoxy glue to join cameo and frame            = over night
·         Drilling, stringing on chain                         = 1-2 hours

Total time for one necklace with minimal beadwork = 4-5 days to make.

There is work that goes into the making process, hours that no physical handling on the piece can be done (like during curing) and yet the mould, and the resin curing in it, are taking an “earning space” in your workspace/workroom.

This is where it’s very hard to make buyers/supporters of handmade understand the extent to which we go for what we make.
It’s all very well that the stall holder next to you has brought a mass of products imported from China and is selling them next to you for R30 a piece, while you have spent many a 2am piecing together your art/work/inspiration.
Where do we make up the hours and HOURS spent on one project? A project we have lovingly and carefully chosen to make and pass on to someone else that we hope will love/appreciate/display it with pride. A piece of ourselves that we have given out to the world instead of keeping for ourselves.

“How long does a mould take then?”
~ bottom layer (base for the mould) = overnight.
~ 2nd layer (actual mould form) = over night.
~ Then we wait a further 24 hours before we start using it for resin to fully allow the silicon to “settle”.
~ 2 days from start to finish for a mould before we can start using it in the work room to start “working for us”.

This is a lot of work, and often messy. There’s nothing pretty about being covered in silicone while making moulds and something restrictive about having to work with gloves and mask while working with resin.
The safety issue behind certain resins (especially in enclosed spaces like my workroom) can be immense. And no matter how hot it is in Summer, an industrial mask and chemical grade gloves are on and my dogs and cat are outside to keep them from the dangers too.
That is when you cannot always explain to the point where a buyer or market goer will truly understand.

But why?!
I am useless at mosaic, and would probably end up with more glass and tiles in my eye than on the surface I’m tiling.
I find decoupage boring and can be rather selfish with all my pretty papers (I have a collection worth well over R1000 in scrap booking paper. Truth)
I’m no artist… my drawings and paintings would probably scare pets, nevermind children.
Beading (especially the elaborate looming and threading) is not equal to the patience I have.
Sewing…anything. Run for the hills if I get near a sewing machine… as is evidence by one of my tablecloths at the markets, see if you can spot it ;) and if it can’t be made on the overlocker, it can’t be made (according to me)

Nope, resin really has been something I have enjoyed (despite the discomfort and frustrations). It’s something I can express myself in without too much self doubt.

It’s just like job… not everyone can be a surgeon, accountant or standup comedian.

Friday, January 9, 2015

What its about… part 1

For the last 4-5 years, I have been actively involved in improving my art in my craft and therefore, improving the wares I sell.
And for all the years I have been going to markets, lines like “Oh I can make that”, or “Take a picture so we can try that later”… have fluttered about not only mine, but many a crafter’s ear.

Yes, we do use ideas and things we see (even subliminally). Accusing someone of “stealing” your craft idea is like accusing someone of using the English language just because you can.
But that’s not what this “series” of posts will be about.
After hearing and saying (guilty as charged), that someone’s wares are “too expensive”… I decided to give in and write a bit on the COSTS and INCOMES involved in handmade culture (or as much as I can while not being too experienced in the costs of EVERY craft).

So not only as a crafty, but hopefully as a buyer, you will see just what it is to do this, not only as a hobby but as a living… and yes, some of us (including me) have had to resort to doing this for a living.
This isn’t a HOW TO, or formula on getting started in the craft business, this is more for “why we crafties charge what we do”.

Let’s get down to brass tax…
A crafty month at Wonder Struck Inc. I will be using some costing from November, as these are still fresh in my mind and stretch into December (even though we close for part of the month).

*             Resin & Silicone – R1950
*             Chain, findings & beads (agate and glass) – R560
*             Petrol (for supplies, deliveries, post, markets) – R2100
*             Market stall rentals – R1100
Total: R5710

That’s an average cost of R190.33 per day in November (30 days)
As a freelancer, and in order to pay what needs to be paid, I NEED to earn R150 an hour over each and every single working day of a month. But as a crafter, I cannot realistically expect to carry this cost, and that of my overheads onto my items I make.
So we work on a % markup on cost.

If I had to use just some of these figures to work out what to charge excluding component cost of a necklace we would get a figure of approximately R180 (per necklace).
This is again, not including the material cost of the necklace, this is purely the overhead cost in making it.
Would you pay over R200 for a necklace that ISN’T sterling silver or platinum or gold? … I wouldn’t. Honestly.

On one market day, a crafter EASILY spends over R350 to be there, not to mention food or drinks (even if packed from home). And that’s IF a market is charging under R200 for a stall.
Our COSTS involved at the Medieval Fayre, just for petrol and stall alone, were R850. For the day. This is not a ballpark figure, but actual costs that we incurred for petrol and stall rental. This is not including bottles of water and one meal each to keep us sustained till home time.

And this is where some of my greatest frustration comes when a market patron/buyer/shopper thinks that an item someone has HANDMADE (and most are not able to put a time on how long something makes) and spent time on and displayed hoping to pass on this piece of their day/week, onto someone else… is “too expensive”.
Admittedly, I have seen prices that HAVE been taken to the extreme, and this is probably where the debate comes in over what is TOO EXPENSIVE FOR HANDMADE or not. But to the handmade/indie artist sitting at the market, their prices are real and often very carefully considered….

These items you buy from most of us, cannot just be easily remade and are not mass produced.
Even as a resin artist, things that come out of the same mold are never always 100% the same as eachother. Colours/ridges/nicks/sanding down, all create an entirely unique piece each and every single time.
There’ve been a few pieces on some websites, discussing the possible future value of handmade items over greater mass produced items.
I’d like to research this for a future blog entry, as I see this as a very valid point. (Think about it).

For those who don’t make handmade, but appreciate and shop handmade, thank you for helping us build on the handmade culture we work so hard for. For those who have never really known or understood and go past stalls saying things are “too expensive”, I do hope that some of this gives you a bit of perspective ;)
And to crafties that don’t do this full time… I hope this gives you slightly more info to research before taking it on full time.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Hello 2015...

I have always been about positivity on the blog, and page (and all social media actually).

So the first post will follow that trend.

2014 was such a strange year for everyone, and I think there were as many ups as there were downs. But we are so greatful for the 2014 you all gave Wonder Struck Inc.
You were all amazing... and still are ;)

This year we'd like to spend even more time promoting (and supporting) handmade.

Each Friday we'll be sharing a great page for you guys to peek at (and like if it peeks your interest).

Fridays will also be blog updates. Like this one :)

Some new items have started making their debuts on the Facebook and Instagram pages. Don't be shy to join our social media, we're even on Twitter.

Then, markets.
We don't have any booked for January as yet, but keep looking in for updates. But we'll most probably be out and about from February again.

Then, thank you all again for the clicks, views, likes, shares and comments.
We *really* appreciate the time you take to support us in any way.

Onward to the new year!