Friday, December 29, 2006

Who Will Buy?

The cleaning lady, one of my supporters, admired my free form/free design* cream hat.
I call it Ivory Temple Tower and it uses donated cream acrylic to unusual effect.
She said "someone asked me to tell you that they were interested in having you make a a hat for them."
I told her i don't do commissions--- I make things and offer them for sale, but commissions put me in the position of working to please someone and it wouldn't be worth my time. She looked at me quizzically.
"Well how long do you think it took me make this hat, " I asked her.
"Two weeks." she said.
"Well it took about four to five hours," I said.
"Yes, well there's that time for your own design..."
"Yes." I agreed, pleased.
"So how much do people get paid for two weeks of work? Two hundred dollars?"
She balked.
"Some people make $2,000 for two weeks, but let's just say it's low wage-- $200 for two weeks work? Okay," I continue," but if we use just five hours at $10 dollars an hour, that's fifty dollars for a hat."
She looked startled. I knew she expected it to be less, but I didn't want to know how little she expected. I remembered how she had thought a $20 doll too much-- and I had lowered the price just to make it a possibility for her, though I had already made her the snowman she had glimpsed in Noreen Crone Findlay's idea-rich book Creative Crocheted Dolls

"Yes," I said, "that's why I don't make hats to order for people--- because I won't get a fair price for my time and I didn't even figure in the cost of materials."

Now as I am reading a discarded November Vogue for research (I can't wander the streets of my fabuous home town, NYC, and fill my eyes) and I see the $200 t shirts and how the Olsen Twins went everywhere in search for a couture approach to T shirts with a "french seam" down the back and the article on what people will pay for what when.... when will the woman pay five figures for a dress and go to Costco to buy her pile of T shirts( a place I've only heard about as the Corning Elmira area, where last I walked, didn't have any).

So in this little corner of the world, there are those willing to buy, but none, I fear, willing to pay.

* the freeform group, a wonderful community of crochet creators, has had a number of thought-invoking discussionns about the nature of and describing freeform. Freeform crocheting
is a way to create a fabric using crochet without a pattern for the unit/area. It begins with a
scrumble, a unit involving a variety of stitches ( or not). LOL! I think of freeform as the jazz of crochet.
You use fiber and a hook, you know stitches and you combine these at the direction of your own muse and then combine these units of expression to make an object. Given this sort of defintion,, my
hat , evolving as it did at my whim, it could be considered free form... however someone suggested
that this kind of continuous "straight ahead jazz" of it, might be called free design. I'm not scrumbling
there are no subunits, but one continuous working....

1 comment:

Maven said...

Five years ago, a man in my office really admired the different types of scarves or hats I'd wear to work in the winter. Wanting something unique for his wife, he asked me if I would make something for his wife (for a fee, of course). It was something relatively simple he wanted, and I got from him how long he wanted it and which direction he wanted the stitching to go. I used yarn I had on hand (he had a choice of colors). And after the consultation, he asked, "So how much?" I said, "$40." He said, "Great!" So I crafted this thing for his wife, and presented it to him wrapped in tissue paper and a gift bag, so he didn't even have to worry about wrapping it for his wife.

Another co-worker who had been hounding me to make something for her found out I made this scarf for the other co-worker. When she found out he paid $40 for it, she replied,"Oh I can go to Walmart and get a scarf for $5." I replied, "Then go to Walmart. These are one-of-a-kind items you can't get for $5." She never pestered me again to make something for her.