Saturday, 20 October 2007

Struggling with Commerce, Part the First


"Isn't there an easier way to do that?"

So said the concerned Mr. S. one night as I toiled away at the embroidery on one of the blankets. I'm beginning to rather like the rhythm of the embroidery, and it's all freehand, so it doesn't feel restrictive or repetitive. But back to the question, "is there an easier way?"

Well, yes. Invest in a machine to do it for me. Of course, the effect is not same. And nevermind cost, I'm wondering if by the time I'd get the darn thing set up and programmed if it really would save me time. Well, maybe...the embroidery on each of the blankets takes about 4 hours. I think I'm just really slow, but I don't really know anyone else who embroiders, so I don't have any yardstick - is there an embroidery olympics?

Regardless, the effect is not the same. A friend suggested maybe silkscreening the words......meh. Silkscreening can be lovely, however, I like the feel of embroidery, the dimension, the solidity (is that a word?)


It just brings me back to why would I be trying to save time? Ah yes, because these blankets are a product. Products have prices. Bah humbug I say. My brother-in-law, who is almost done law school, just roles his eyes every time he gets my response to how I figure out what to charge for my wares. "But you're not accounting for your time! You should pay yourself, say, twenty dollars an hour, and add your costs for materials, and..." and then his voice turns into the teacher from Charlie Brown "whanh whanh whanh..." I love him dearly, and he has my best interests at heart, but...it just seems so calculated.

So, maybe I'm wearing my craft on my sleeve, but how do I balance these desires? The desire to do something I love, the desire to bring home some meaningful income to help my family, and the desire to see a broad range of people enjoy what I make. All the while keeping in mind the very sage advice from my friend Johanna, who emphatically stated the last time we chatted, "Marnie, you are not your own client". I think it's really not a matter of money, but of valuing what I do.

sigh...it's all a work in progress...

2 comments:

Johanna said...

Marnie- I'm still thinking of ways you could streamline the embroidery. I know when we talked you didn't like a simple tight running stitch, but what if you inked the words on first in a colour that matched the floss, then did the simple close running stitch on top of that? You would still get "solid" lines of colour for the text, the tactile feel of the embroidery, but still make it go twice as fast. Just a thought...

Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

Your embroidery looks beautiful and a product that is hand-embroidered like that is valuable. I agree that you should pay yourself - unless you recently won a huge wad of cash and are independently wealthy. hehe