Guest blog by Nancy Shafee.
This month I am going to share something with you from The Professional Crafters Guild and ask you the question they asked: do you agree with the seller or the buyer?
This is the reply I left:
When you pay a lawyer, you pay for years of study and further years of experience.
When you pay for a big operation ditto.
When you pay for a beautiful meal, you pay for all the knowledge, the practice and dedication that has gone into that chef knowing how to produce it.
When you buy something handmade, you buy the design, the love, the patience and the creativity. You don’t just buy the materials – you buy oh so much more.
When I know someone is truly delighted with what I have sold them or what I have taught them, I know I have earned their respect for my work and that they will value it.
So WHY do we all find it difficult to value our handcrafted items when we price them, and WHY do some buyers seem to think they are paying only for the materials, not the hours of trial and error, the disappointments and the efforts that went into getting our products made? Why do they not value our vision and design, and yes, some of us spent several years at art college getting all the background knowledge too!
Take the pictures below. I made this ‘cauldron’ I called Great Balls of Fire, because that was what I was listening to at the time (goodness, gracious, great balls of fire….?)
Great Balls of Fire before the washing machine disaster
Then I thought ‘maybe it needs to be a bit stiffer, I’ll put it in the washing machine’. 40 minutes later it came out reduced from about 12ins in diameter to about 7ins! Didn’t look the same at all.
So I made loads of felt leaves and seeds and needlefelted and stitched them on the outside. Time taken – all in all about four days, and that doesn’t account for the ideas either. Price for resulting woodland vessel £65.00. That’s about £15.00 per day and I can earn considerably more at the ‘day job’. I do it because I love it, and when I sell it I will know it is because someone else loves it too.
Woodland vessel – four days’ work and heartache!
Have your say – or your rant! It would be lovely if you would share any of the above on your FB page or your own blog too – we all need to support each other in this and get the message across.
Do you value your craft when you price it?
How do you decide on a pricing structure?
If you do fairs, or if you get queries from buyers on the internet, do you feel some customers sometimes miss the point on the value of a handcrafted product?
This month’s Google Images procrastination words: gold, fibre, circles.
And if you are still not inspired, you might also like to go back to the search words from my previous posts and look up the same words again on Pinterest or one of the selling websites. You will see yet more undiscovered wonderful pictures and some fantastic things made by other designer/makers/
Have a good month!
Nancy Shafee is a member of the International Feltmakers Association, Surrey Guild of Craftsmen and Professional Crafters Guild. She runs regular workshops both for wetfelting and for coiled fabric basket making and examples of her work can be seen at