Most of my creative endeavors lately are something I might sell. Even if I don’t plan on selling that particular one, it’s a tester for something I’m considering selling. I did make a new necklace for myself, but that’s in a way to help me sell. It’s embarrassing to go to a networking event, say I make jewelry, and not be wearing a fabulous statement piece that I made.
This new project, however, is just for me (and my cats, really)! I had a funky thrift store rug the cats loved to sleep on. It was thick and comfy in the afternoon sun. But the last time I washed it, it really shed a lot, had more obvious gaps, and still smelled weird. Time to toss it.
I don’t know what I saw, but I suddenly thought I should make a hooked rag rug. Not a braided one, but one with lots of little tufts. I’ve raided my fabric stash and come across fabulous, bright colors. Cutting them into strips 1/2″ by 3″ is the hardest part, I started with my pinking shears so there would be less shedding, but it was taking even longer and hurting my middle finger knuckle. Regular scissors it is!
As my husband says, this is going to take forever, but I’m not worried. I’m two rows into a bazillion of them. I have a little latch hook that helps me tie the strips into lovely little knots. Right now working on my rug is the closest I can come to relaxing. (I really do suck at relaxing).
The little bit that I have done already feels nice when I step on it. The cats are already laying on the rug, even though it’s bare canvas webbing. Milo really liked being underneath it and popping again. Sorry, I didn’t get a picture, I was too busy laughing at him.
Sure, I needed a new project like I needed a hole in my head. But it’s a present for me and I deserve it. And my cats deserve it, too, I guess.
Just a visual reminder for me. Here’s the link if you want to make one, too. http://www.wordle.net/
More and more work I get is on existing jewelry. I am developing a reputation for being able to upcycle jewelry without it “looking like junk”.
I’ve had a client come to me with 5 pieces from a necklace her Grandmother’s to turn into something fabulous they can wear. I love adding just the right amount of flair to this set for her. It was an interesting project to make the piece custom for my client, not just what I’d like to wear.
Another client just needed her beautiful necklace shortened. At it’s length of about 25 inches, it just felt too formal for everyday wear. It’s an easy task for me to take out a few beads and polish up the silver for extra shine.
A third client, who does wardrobe consultation, ordered some bracelets to go with some necklaces and they are funky. Way too thick, weird clasps, and they just don’t sit right. You can really get more like 3 bracelets out of the beads of one. I’ll be taking these apart and making a few new bracelets out of them.
With all of this fabulous work comes a question: What do I charge for this kind of work? Hourly on some, hours plus materials on others? Materials for the shortening project is negligible. On the work with Grandma’s jewelry it’s beads and findings, and I don’t have a break down to that level for pricing. It’s hard for me to look at the huge seed bead bracelets and put a price on the work, though I know it’s could be a lot if I have to do any restringing.
A similar issue came up with another artist asking me to teach her wire work. Do I charge an hourly rate for instruction? If so, is it $20? $40? A social media expert I know charges more to teach than to do the work herself. When you teach, you give away your knowledge and future work. But in my case, the other artist isn’t going to pay me to do wire wrapping for her in any case. I’d prefer to teach her.
What do you charge? What is a service like this worth to you? Have you had someone charge you for this before?
I’d love your input.
I was going to post about the cork mat that was supposed to be finished by now. But my drill died. I’ve bought a new one, but haven’t finished my mat.
I have, however, gotten fabulous new tags for my work. My graphic designer, Chelsea of Chelsea McKenna Design made me super cool files to print sheets of my logo with “Madame Saslow’s Curio” all fancy on it. I can cut them up to use as I please. With a self adhesive bit of plastic to turn the card stock into an earring hanger and a tiny but strong hole punch, I’ve made earring cards! And the logo lady is wearing the earrings. I love this.
I think my jewelry looks really professional like this. I love it when I can find a little way to kick it up a notch. In this process, I also upgraded all of the earrings. Instead of having some at $10, they are all at $15 a pair. No, I didn’t just raise the price, I’ve been adding to them and making them really special. Instead of just a pair of dominoes, there are sparkly dangley bits, too.
My table looks pretty with all the colors I was using.
Is there something you can do to enhance what you’re already doing? Some little something to make your work special?
So, I’ve mentioned En Garde Fencing before. Now that the holidays are over, I’m back in massive mending mode. If you see me covered in little white bits of thread shrapnel, don’t be surprised. I’ve been using my super huge seam ripper to take out broken zippers. Don’t worry, I don’t stab myself too often. And I’m told by Goose Girl Sews that my saliva will get the blood out.
Here are my current piles of work:
These I haven’t started on.
These need new point guards. It’s this flap around the neck that catches a foil tip and prevents it from sneaking up under your mask and stabbing you in the throat. Very important.
These have had zippers removed and I need to go buy new zippers.
This is a shot of me in action, removing a zipper with my amazing seam ripper. I got the biggest one I could find after breaking my old one on the tough fabric of the fencing jackets. I love the big sturdy handle.
A huge next step might be to start creating old fashioned fencing jackets. Just a lot of thick material, padding, and quilting. I hear there is a niche for old school fencing gear that isn’t being met.
What are you working on? Is there something you do that you don’t consider “art” but you still enjoy? Want to help me sew in some zippers?
This post had more stabbing than usual. Don’t worry, I’m healing.
Yep, I’m abandoning a project. A project I thought was going to be awesome. I have a huge box of bottle caps. I have a new drill bit for hardened steel. However, this
is NOT getting made.
“Why not? It’s super cute and upcycled! Adriann, you LOVE upcycling AND your drill,” you innocently protest.
OMG. Drilling those holes was going to take forever. Maybe my drill isn’t powerful enough. Maybe I just wasn’t holding it at a good angle. Whatever it was, I wasn’t prepared to spend the countless hours making that.
I don’t love beer. Used bottle caps are cool. I admit, I am a bit snobby about things made from new bottle caps. That’s cheating! You have to drink (or know someone that does) for your craft. So, I don’t love this bottle cap wind chime enough to make it for just myself. Unlike knitting socks, which is a soothing, portable craft that makes super comfy socks.
It sell it and make back money for my time, I’d have to charge more than a sane person would spend on a bottle cap wind chime.
The other problem, I was destined to stab myself with that nice new hardened drill bit (probably more than one). And though it is pretty small, I wasn’t prepared to sacrifice my dexterity and digital mobility to this project when I have other things I can be doing. I bleed enough for fencing mending.
What have you abandoned recently? What should you give up, but just haven’t yet?
I wish more people wanting to sell hand made goods would consider this before trying to sell their work. I don’t sell hand knit socks. I’d have to charge $100 a pair for the time and nice yarn it takes. This is not a good business plan. Ask yourself if the time and materials required to make the item too expensive to sell and make a profit.