The Never Ending Debate

Very recently Wil Wheaton tweeted about his experience with a news outlet, wanting his writing for free.  “Exposure” is what they were offering.  I was like what?!!  I mean if you didnt watch Stand By Me or somehow missed Star Trek:Next Generation or not a Big Bang theroy geek, then some how you were in a worm hole.  Mr. Wheaton is a very active blogger and tweeter not to miss.  Then it trickle down to my world…the Crochet world.  And the debate begins.

It is nice to get the exposure, that’s for sure.  Blogging, Vlogging, FB pages and groups, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and Twitter is great to get the “exposure.”  Working craft fairs, art shows, and even farmer markets-that’s the harder part of the craft.  For any handmade craft for that matter.

Oh don’t feel guilty about giving your art away.  Many appreicate it and many need a warm set of scarves, hats and mittens.  New moms, I’m sure, appreicate the handmade blankets for their little ones since with today’s economy, baby bed sets are so expensive.  Special made furniture or even a photograph of a beautiful place is great.  However there comes a time where a line has to be drawn.

Today’s society wants every thing for free.  Realistically, it can not be 100% free.  Everyone has to make a living.  These 9-5 jobs, just make it to live.  Think about it..pay check to pay check?  That is reality.  Not everyone has been blessed like me at a young age.  I just have to worry about insurance and utilities.  Home and cars are paid for.  But others, are not in my situation and trying to raise a family, this 2 job thing, is causeing more of an issue than anything else.  We see it on the news and social media.  So many look to their artistic skills to help.

Oh I go to these craft fairs and I see all these other crochet items.  Oh sure I can make it.  I can find the pattern for free or pay for it.  But then again, I’m also lazy.  LOL.  But I can see it in her eyes, she isn’t getting the sales just to cover her cost for her rental area.  So I buy.  Big whoop.  But I know I just made her day.  I probably just help buy diapers or put milk in the fridge.  Maybe help her get that last ten dollars to buy her kid those dance shoes or pay the rental for the band instrument.

Then there’s the price.  You would not believe how many say “Oh I know someone who can make me that for less or free.”  My words, well good for you.  But do you know the differnece in the quality of yarn.  Oh yes.  QUALITY.  See, the retails sell synthetic yarn.  Machine spun, machine dyed, machine label wrapped.  Good quality yarn, well that’s shaved, hand spun (watch and ask how long does it take to do 220 yards skein) and hand dyed, hand washed yarn.  It’s softer.  Not scratchy.  It last longer and wears the weather climate better.  (Don’t believe me, look at your furbaby.  I’m sure you don’t bathe them everyday).  So your friend could make it cheaper by finding sales or bad quality yarn and then heaven forbid if it’s not like the picture you showed her.  Oh yes to the person who says I know someone…I also know and seen what you do to your friend that you took advantage of.

Yes there could be another crocheter or knitter or another artist that could do the same thing.  But it comes down to yarn selection, technique, experience.  If you know anything about crochet, would you pay $30 for a single crochet hat with no frills or pay $30 for a hat that has the frills, the entricate work, the softness of the touch…I pay the latter.

Exposure is great, however, we artists need to live too.  Whether we work with yarn, wood, words, paint, camera or metal we don’t have to give it away nor compete with lower prices.  We won’t justify our pricing either.  We will let you be.  Because the ones who do apprieciate what the artist did, know that money is just a little help.  And other artists will buy from another.  In fact, I still have a pretty vase that I bought from a gentleman who bought a Christmas doily for his wife from me and she was in love with that.

So next time you give that look or say something to the effect oh I can…you really not hurting our feelings.  We will move to the next person who sees the blood, sweat, tears (or in my case the tell tale sign of the yarn wrapped around my left pointer finger) and know they will buy from us without question.  And ten to one, they will get a better deal for their purchase.

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