Notions-Drye Goods Studio Diary

Thanks for checking in. I am a fiber artist. My current emphasis is on eco printing and other wildcraft with a touch of up-cycling thrown in. You can also catch up with me on Facebook at Drye Goods Studio.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ready for My Close Up!

I turned on my photo lights this morning to let them warm up and when I came back from breakfast Gladys was ready for a photo shoot. I publish this not just because it is cute (and an opportunity to get her photo, usually I would have to glue her in place, so I want witnesses-she is there of her own free will) but to also point out that there is more to making art than one would imagine. I guess this has come up because sometimes when I am out at shows, or talking to people that don't do what I do, that they think I picked this life because some how it isn't like working. Or it is easier than getting a job or something. Or it is a hobby and I don't really "need" the money. Normally this doesn't get me worked up but lately I have been a bit touchy about it.
In this particular image you can see about half the equipment necessary to take pictures of my work. It is probably a given that there is fairly expensive camera there as well as more lights, mannequins and other necessary items. With out pictures I can not show others (clients, galleries, shows, organizations) what I do. It is essentially how I apply for a job. So I can either take them myself or pay some one else to do it. Since I must have images to put on Etsy which is a weekly sometimes daily project it would be cost prohibitive for me to pay some one every time I needed and image done. Then there has to be a computer for processing the images. I do between 15 to 20 shows a year and the various organizations that run these events have about that many different requirements for image formats and other application requirements. Most of the time one has to pay an application or jury fee to even apply. Imagine walking into Macy's to apply for a job and they said "Sure-just give us $35 and you can fill out an application that we may or may not accept".
Then you get to the studio itself. After the sewing machine if you take your mom's sewing basket and multiply that by about 1000 you might have enough stuff to make clothing for sale in volume.
To go to the show requires a reliable vehicle, items for displaying and marketing the work and a tent to protect it all outside in any kind of weather. You have to drive to the shows, set up, sell, take it all down, pack it away and drive home.
This makes it sounds like yards of no fun, when really that is not the case. I just read Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, which yes is kind of a dweeby topic for a book but never the less she does have some interesting points to make. One being that there is such a thing as "fog happiness" meaning, I guess, that some activities while on the surface don't sound fun, they actually add up to make you happy overall. Sometimes people say "Oh you must work all the time" and I say that no, really I only actually "work" the weekends when it is time to  sell my "work". Making it is the fun part, selling it is the work part. That being said, while this is probably the most satisfying thing I could do to make money, I am doing it to earn my living. I come home from the show and pay my bills, allowing the people that work for those companies to collect their paychecks. In addition to manufacturing a product that then generates sales tax for the local government I also pay taxes into the system just like anybody else that works.

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