Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Things That People Say Part 2

So I am back with more interesting things that people say to vendors at craft fairs/shows. It is always amazing to me that people do not understand the time and effort it takes to make things. Not just the amount of time physically spent making items but the time we spend online and in person hunting down reputable, affordable dealers for supplies, and the amount of time that we spend perfecting what we do. I also know from personal experience and know this to be true of many other artists as well, we never stop learning new things, and trying to perfect the techniques that we already know. For most of us it is never good enough and this drives us to continue pushing our personal envelope. This is one of the reasons that many of us are unwilling to divulge the source of our materials and many of the techniques that we use just for the asking. We want you to learn by doing just like we did. It tends to make you a better artist than if someone just hands you all of the information. Most of us are more than willing to point you in the right direction to get you started but please, don't expect us to give up all of our secrets we worked so hard to acquire.


A friend said to me (chatting online): "Maybe you can show me how to make jewelry. I will never have to buy jewelry again!"

My comeback: Logged off.

I had one of these too!
But then I got really evasive, saying that I buy my wire from the States (via internet), thinking that she might understand my subtleness.. and then she asked me if I could buy the wire for her!

wow, I should think about this a bit more but I did have someone grab my button machine and ask me how it works without asking to touch it. Never touch an artists tools without asking! Don't touch musical instruments, tools that seem like they could be in a tool box like pliers or those fancy artists pens, just don't do it.

Also, every couple of months I get an e-mail from some local person I don't even know who wants to borrow my button machine. They tell me that they want to make buttons and not have to pay my prices!? I usually answers by saying "My button machine is my tool of my trade. I don't think you would ask a random carpenter you didn't know if you could borrow their table saw."

Customer: "where do you get all your supplies?"

Me: *thinking to myself "that is the rudest question to EVER ask a designer"....i said to her w/flat-pan grin "...i get all of it from planet earth." ~ which is a true statement.

"Will you teach me to do that?" (Subtext: "...because I don't want to pay you for something you can teach me for free to make myself...")

"I wonder where she got her supplies"

It's usually "How did you make those?"
To which I usually answer "One at a time."
(One young man of about 13 replied to that, in his best Robert DiNero "So, you ain't gonna tell me?")

I had one guy ask me if I had gold items so he could melt them down. Then he asked me where I got all my stuff.

Ummm... :/

Most often overheard at my booth: a all too common scene:

Nice Lady: "Oh my daughter makes jewelry"

Me: "Yes, I think about 20% of the population does it for a hobby or proffession, it is the sewing of yesterday"

Nice Lady: "My daughter needs to come over here! (calls on cell- "OH daughter- come check this stuff out! You should totally come make this designs and charge so much more!" While looking directly at me)

Me: Is she coming over?

Nice LAdy: Yes, she is, she was just over by the handmade candies

Me: Oh, good, I love to talk with other bead lovers..

Nice lady's daughter : OMG! I love this! Mom, I should totally copy and sell for more! You are so right!!! Hey- you- bead artist, where do you get your beads so I can buy them? I like totally want to make this myself

ME: I have them custom cut and made just for me. Takes 9 months and thousands of dollars (Truth)

Nice LAdy; OH! Daughter! I am so sad for you! You can make so much more money than her if you could do that!

Me: Why dont I give you my bead suppliers name and contact info

Nice Lady 's daughter: That is like so totally unfair! That would take forever!I hate you! I want your beads now! You make it really difficult for others to earn a living at this business!!!

ME: Well, I spent 5 years working for others while doing my jewelry line so I would not spend a dime on credit for supplies and very slowly built up my purchasing abilities. This has taken 11 years for me to get here. No easy road for me.

Nice Lady's daughter: Mom, buy me that necklace so I can resell for 3 times that amount

Me: happy to sell that to you..

Nice ladys daughter: Why dont you just sell me the necklace for what the beads cost you, I think you should because I am a beader too and buy from Fire Mt.

Me: ( It takes me to hear this before I think: WTF????) I am so sorry, but I need to sell at what it is priced at. My babys need food you know!

Nice Lady: Why dont I make it up to you by buying you that nice handbag you want

Nice ladys daughter: Pout....

I love art and craft fairs. I was at the Christmas craft fair last year. There were 2 ladies stop by my booth. They examined everything inside and out the say: "Would you show me how to make this. I don't want to buy, I can make it if you'll show me how" Wow, I said: "Why would I want to do that? How much do you want to pay for the lesson?"
They left without saying a word.

"Where do you get your stuff from? I was thinking of doing the same thing, but I don't know where to get the stuff" !

As you can see most artists and crafters find this type of thing rude and belittling. We really don't mind giving tips about techniques and supplies if you are a serious crafter but don't expect us to give away the farm just so you don't have to pay for something you think you can make yourself.

Usually, if the person is serious about starting a "craft" and making jewelry I might point that person in the right direction. After all, if they go online they will find the information regardless. I don't really have time to teach. I barely have time to create! And if I was to teach anyone I would definitely charge for my time and supplies.

I have had people ask me oh how do you make that? Basically just to see what information they can get out of me... I laugh and tell them "I can't." or "Sure I can tell you, but I charge $30 an hour for my time." Short, plain, simple, straight to the point.

I still do not understand why people think it is just a hobby. Yes I do have a full time job, but I also work on my jewelry practically full time as well. The fact that we sell our work online, on craft shows/fairs, makes it more than just a hobby, but some people take that for granted.



industrialpoppy said...

People have said these things to you? I am stunned and horrified at people. Good grief. Kudos to you for handling it with grace!

RetroRugrats said...

Stunned and in disbelief at those comments! You handled yourself beautifully. Keep creating your beautiful work.

Cecelia said...

I love to sit back and listen to what people say at shows. Some of it is just amazing.
You are right about people remembering things from experience. In my first ceramics class in college, I decided to make a ballerina. She was lovely, but everyday I would come in and the arms or legs would have fallen off. The teacher showed me how to stick them back on. This went on all semester. I gave up and made coil and slab pieces! At the end of the class, the prof finally told me that, to keep things like arms and legs on, I needed to use wire inside or start on an armature. I remembered that well when I started teaching clay units years later!
I guess after teaching art all those years, I just can't help but teach what I know to anyone who seems to need to know something. Never thought of charging. I guess that is why I'm so poor!
I gave up doing the outdoor shows after so many of my framed watercolors would get broken due to things like wind.
Good luck with the customers and sales! You handled them so well.


Aren't some of the people at shows "amazing" with what they come up with!! It boggles my mind that they don't realize how rude they are!! lol!

Sometimes I have to have a comeback, if they are really too obnoxious, but I always do it in a very nice, kidding way!!

Think of all the nice people out there though, that we get to meet.


Cyber_Hippie said...

To the people who ask me "Can you show me how?" My answer would be, "Sure. I charge x per lesson, and I think this would require x number of lessons."

That will either shut them up or earn me some extra money. ;)

I hate the people who say "Oh, my kid/sister/friend/self could make THIS!"

I always want to say "Oh, good. Why don't you go do that then and stop wasting my time?" But of course, I just smile and nod instead.

Great post.

Jen M.