Wednesday, October 5, 2011

*gets up on a soapbox*

I know, many of you are thinking "Oh great, it's that nut trying to get people to buy handmade crap again" - and you're right.

I was actually poking around on my deviantART account, after posting my new line of shiny.  Within 24 hours, said shinies that I posted were suddenly FLOODED with +Favorites, comments, watches on my account and more.  As I said there "I've created a monster..."  Maybe I did.  And Maybe I LIKE It!

Though I did mention this blog, and linked it too.

I made some interesting points in my journal entry that day.  For those of you who came over from dA - bear with me, there's more than just this.

Quoted from Journal Entry "What have I done?!" on Monday, October 3, 2011 at 4:23 PM on Kallamoon on deviantART:
"... I seem to have created a monster.

I think I've finally gotten caught up on thank yous and such for the message FLOOD I received so far on the earwraps I've done. I'm almost afraid to make more for fear I'll never be able to do any of my other work - but if they're popular... I suppose should really sit down and start designing more of them... With any luck I'll sell a few of them this holiday season.

And there's what I want to talk about.

My main blog ([link] -Dream Weaver) has been dedicated this season to bringing those of us who hand-craft to light. SO MANY people go to malls and big stores to get decorations gifts and more just because they're "cost effective". In other words - cheap.

I've been trying to spread the word to support local sellers of things, hand crafted (local or over the internet/long distance), and/or small shops this season. The huge companies don't need our money. They already have too much of it, and so many of them are sending their jobs (which are much needed here in the US) to other countries where they can waaaaay under-pay and still get products, often cheaply-made, not up to standard, and many that fall apart with one use! For some things, that's fine. I mean, if you really want to reuse those Christmas Crackers, you go ahead - just tell me how you cram all the stuff back in and get it to seal up again.

But for the most part, you don't want something "Genuine Silver!" to suddenly turn coppery-colored and turn your ears into an infected mess or your ears green. "Genuine Gold!" doesn't flake off rings after you've washed your hands either. I've been victim to this. It's actually part of the reason I started making my OWN jewelry.

If I make something silver-plated, I state it. If it's sterling silver, I state it. If it's silver-toned wire, I state it. Why lie to my customers, if I want repeat business after all?

Most of these "Big Box" stores say one thing, but... weeeeelllll. No.

If I may, I sink to begging. Find at least one decor item, one gift, or one SOMETHING that was hand-crafted this holiday season. Support someone who works with their own two hands, locally or even someone you know over the internet. We hand-crafters are very overlooked, underpaid, and are SO often insulted by people who look at the hard work we've put our heart and soul into creating and tell us "it's too expensive - I can get this (or something like it) at the mall for half this price". Slap in the face. Nails on chalkboard. Stab through the heart.

We're all artists in this community, and I'm sure that we've all had something like THAT happen to us. We all deserve better. Spread the word! Share the love! Support the cause!

Thank you.

*gets off her soap box, trips, and slinks off to keep showing wire who's boss*"
Though I'm not quite ready to step down from said soapbox for THIS entry.
What I said is true.  All of you think back for a moment.  Have you bought something that has said in big letters "Genuine (Insert Item Here)!" that was really inexpensive?
How long did it last?
Okay, I can see someone selling something that's "Genuine Silver!" with a "Genuine Cubic Zirconia!" in it for about .... $60-75 if it's something like a small-band ring with a single oh.. roughly 5-7mm stone.
.... But no. You find "Genuine Silver!" rings with "Genuine Cubic Zicronia!" in it for about $10-15.
And then you wash your hands after a week or so of wearing it... and the "silver" plating flakes off it, and the metal underneath is a greenish-mud color, and you wonder to yourself "... what IS this?!"
Junk.  That's what it is.  Metal that doesn't really match any "grade" system; filler so someone can paint it with a layer of "silver" that's probably more than half-chrome.  The Zirconia? May actually BE genuine, or it might be a chunk of cheap glass.
Or you might have said "Well crap, this was my favorite ring!" And you go replace it with another $15 "Genuine Silver!" ring with a "Genuine Cubic Zirconia!" in it... and the cycle repeats.
After about $75, your ring is likely no longer available in your size or at all, and you've spent $75 on 5 rings that were cheap crap.

Tip: If it has to proclaim "Genuine (Insert Item Here)!!" ... then it probably isn't.
.... If you bought that from a hand-crafter, you might just have gotten actual Sterling Silver and a very lovely gemstone, if not the same type of Cubic Zirconia you paid for to begin with for the same price, and could still be wearing it 2 years later.
See, hand-crafters don't need to lie to sell.  I know that some DO, but for the majority? No, we're more concerned with making quality products.  If we use something that's not real, we usually state it, as I said above.  I'm not going to sell my Silver-Plated work and try to pass it off as Sterling Silver.  I honestly don't know what grade of silver is ON that wire.  I just know it was silver Plated, so it's likely a decently high grade of silver but only a couple of molecules thick... so it will wear off.  Yes, it was inexpensive for me to buy, but I still took the time to SHAPE it, and if you want the same thing in the Sterling Silver, I may have to order the supplies speically if I don't usually keep that gauge of wire or that kind or length of chain in stock. 
If I make something in Sterling Silver - it's GOING to be more expensive.  And I, as well as many other hand-crafters, will STATE that if you are looking for one of their items that they can reproduce in a higher-grade material.
Right now gold is well over $1,000 an ounce.  If I buy an ounce of gold wire (assuming the gold wire is 14K, half-hard, round, 22guage since that's what I most commonly work in), I can get it - at the cheapest I've seen online - at $7.95 PER INCH.   So... my most COMMON bracelets in pure 14K gold would be... about $140 or so for me to make, considering wire, the 14k chain I'd have to get, plus the crystal - which means you'd be paying me about $200-250 or more, since you DO pay also for crafter's time and skill, not JUST the materials.
I could get 12k gold-filled wire, and drop that price down to about $75-80 or so.  Or I could go down one more and go "Gold Plated" and drop that price down to $25, or possibly less.
Really folks. You get what you pay for.  If you want quality, go handmade.  MOST hand-crafters don't lie, don't cheat, and don't gouge.  We ask for a price that represents the quality of our materials, our skill and our time - and as I said last entry, don't automatically throw "material" costs in our faces.
Just because something is made of Polymer clay doesn't mean it takes less time, less skill, and less WORK to create.
Just because plated wire is cheaper than non-plated, doesn't mean it takes less time, less skill and less WORK to create.
The same goes with pottery, 
... or any other material.
Respect the time and skill it took to create something, as well as the materials.
*steps off her soapbox, hopefully having brought a little more insight to hand-crafters to others*

No comments: