“Beads, Beads everywhere, and not one idea to string…”
As I sit here with a hard cider and an amalgamation of beads, wire, and various other findings, I really wonder if customers appreciate the pieces of us that go into handmade jewelry.
I mean think about it: when you are wearing a handmade piece, you are literally wearing Ashe, or Divinely gifted personal creative energy.
More than that, there is literally someone’s blood (do you know the havoc wire working wrecks upon one’s hands?!?) , sweat, and yes, tears (especially if creativity does not come easy) in a nice shiny and one of a kind package.
And people have the gall to scoff at $25 for a price.
See, while you are looking at that ring that has been meticulously forged from silver or steel and a dream, what you don’t see is the countless sketches that are trying to capture a beauty that was expressed in a dream. You don’t see the long nights spent trying to steal a quiet moment to create because the babies still need time and love, the dog still needs a bath and a walk, and the bill-paying job’s boss still needs that report and those 8 hours at a desk doing soulless tasks.
You don’t see the 5 or 6 other conflagrations of stone, bead , wire and whatever else that were failed attempts at manifesting this vision. You don’t see the cramped hands and cut fingertips from filing, and weaving and cutting; no what you get to see is this uniquely weaved dream that catches the light like you’ve never seen!
But, hey! Our personal issues aren’t your problem! Nay, why should you pay for the nuances of our personal lives?
Well, you , my dear potential customer, aren’t being asked to pay for these issues. That would be unfair.
However, what you must realize is time is a commodity you really can’t value, and yet can never really recoup. And since we’re Capitalists, the next highest commodity is money. So what you are paying for is the hours ( yes, hours) spent roaming our supply stores for inspiration or that unique cut of quartz you haven’t seen before.
You are paying for the high quality steel, silver, gold, brass, copper, pewter, or silver that is American made. It is verified not to turn that pretty finger of yours green and blistered. You are paying for that hour spent winding, grinding, and wrapping to make sure everything is the perfect size and shape for your needs and vanity. You are paying for that special box and bag, and you are helping to pay for the opportunity to walk by this table and be able to even see these works of magick up close and personal; because most shows don’t have free tables.
So, out of the maybe $150 dollars it took to deliver, you get to take a piece of me home for $25; simply because I refuse (read: don’t know how) to charge for love.
So yes, you could “have your friend make it cheaper” , but will it be this exact piece? Will it have the passion and energy? Will the care be taken in the selection of materials and methods?
Are you sure?
See, you could put a group of us jewelry makers in a room.Then give us all one project to duplicate with the same tools and supplies. You will still end up with a different piece from each of us. No two artist are exactly the same.
And while one may be faster, a testament to experience, that would only affect the labor cost associated. (We artists, as a community, NOTORIOUSLY undercharge for this.) It still doesn’t take into account the cost of those skills.
Want something truly unique for less? Order the supplies (buyer beware on that outrageous deal on metals you say on Ebay) and queue up YouTube. Make sure you get some extras for inevitable trial and error. Then devote about an hour or two…Wait, you don’t have time to devote to all of that?!? Well, you have the same hours in a day as us!
However, you have other More Valuable things to do, I bet. That is plausible, for value is in the eye of the beholder. But just like you wouldn’t be able to recoup the time spent learning to make your own piece of jewelry, We’re not able to recoup the time we took to create either.
That $25 suddenly seems like a bargain, huh?
So, next time you run across a handmade item you love, appreciate what it took to create it and present it to you. Respect and appreciation is the one thing that makes nights like this worth it to us sometimes.
Onyoja(Onya) a.k.a Phoenix Nightshade is a Mother, amateur blogger, Science enthusiast, and IT minion who turned a love for jewelry and accessories into an entrepreneurial journey. When she’s not sleeping, working or mothering, She enjoys West African and Afro-Cuban Folkloric dance,African Traditional Spirituality, Water Aerobics, Personal assistant/Concierge work, Desktop Publishing, and creating and seeking out little pieces of magick for The Butterfly & The Phoenix and Aisiki Collective .
Website: http://thebutterflyandthephoenix.com (She built it!)
Facebook: Onya Jennings