Saturday, June 11, 2011

I think I'm doing it wrong, or something.

Hi, my name is Art, and I make jewelry (Amongst a host of other things I do).

It's decent stuff, and people seem to like it. Much of it I sell, others I give as gifts. Some I just keep for whatever reason. Lately, a new phenomena has cropped up. People I know ask me to make something for them. To give as a gift, for themselves.... what have you.

This is not the new thing. The new thing is..... they don't pay for my work.


Maybe they just can't afford it, but are not willing to say that. If so.... why did they ask for something special, knowing they can't pay for it?

Maybe they don't think my work is worth paying for. I craft in silver and gem stones. It has value even if broken up and melted for the metal.... maybe they think silver is free?

Maybe they think I'm a 'nice guy', and won't keep asking to be paid. On that, they are right. You see.... I don't enjoy conflicts, and I don't go out of my way to look for one. The pieces I have out there unpaid..... in my mind I'll likely write them off as lessons learned, and move on past it.

One thing.... from now on, anything that leaves my hands.... does so as 'cash on delivery'. If I'm not going to get paid for my work, I'd rather keep the silver and gems myself, and save the illusion of having friends.


Bob said...

I think you just described the difference between a hobby and a business. Even as a businessman, of course, you can make something to be given as a gift, but when someone asks for you to make something that you wouldn't have been inclined to make otherwise, they are asking you to work, and you should always be paid for work.

wv: mensh. Misspelled, but I think it describes you accurately.

ZerCool said...

It saddens me that a man's (woman's) word can no longer be taken as his bond. It angers me that people are willing to take advantage of someone who is still willing to work that way.

"In God we trust. All others pay cash."

Anonymous said...

It's difficult. I find most artists tend to under-value their work. Certainly, you must charge enough to cover the raw materials. You should also get something for your time--it's nice to enjoy what it is you do, but you aren't doing it for your health.

I suggest, the next time someone asks for something, your first question should be "What is your budget?"

Mark said...

Sorry to read of this. I do know that Jennifer and I really enjoy the dragon pendant you made, hope to buy more as able to. Please continue in your artistic pursuit, I guess you could chalk it up to experience (and poor friends).

Carteach0 said...

I'll keep making more pieeces. In fact, I expect I'll pick up the pace. It's just that I'll stop giving them away, unless I really... really want to.

Last night I was asked to custom build an engagement ring for someone. That's kewl.... but it will be COD.

og said...

ive been amazed by the striking appearance of many of your pieces, but i'm amazed that someone would have the gall to ask for one, and expect it to be free.

ree said...

Maybe you're so good at it and make it look so effortless to produce that they think you're like the balloon animal maker are a party (the kids don't pay those folks for each item made)...except they forget that a 3rd party has paid the balloonist to give away the freebies.

Carl Bussjaeger said...

Sigh. Unfortunately, I know from experience how this feels. I'm not offering it as a recommended procedure for anyone else, but...

I just stopped.

Got b!tched at by people convinced of their right to my work, too.

Carteach0 said...

Carl, I understand that feeling well. For me though, I don't intend to stop making jewelry, or doing photography, or shooting, or anything else I enjoy doing.

I do all those and more, first and foremost, to serve my own pleasure. I would be quite happy turning stray silver and gems into jewelry simply to teach myself how, and then dispose of pieces in any way that pleases me. I'm already eying a few older pieces for melt down, and re-crafting.

Carl Bussjaeger said...

Maybe I should elaborate: I stopped creating things for other people's use or enjoyment. Until someone pays up front.

I could no more stop making things or writing at all... well, I won't compare it to breathing, but I write almost compulsively. I have several books worth of material piled up now. But no one else is going to see unless I get a check first, that doesn't bounce.

Earlier this year, I found myself writing an article on making maple syrup, from homemade taps (with templates) to boiling it down and canning it. Complete with pictures. Looked at it, and just filed it away.