Friday, May 01, 2009

My Stuff is Better Than Your Stuff

Even though this conversation is about crochet, just plug in your favorite craft and I bet you have had similar experiences.

Last night I was in the Etsy chatroom, and since a few of them do crochet I started talking about crochet. I was talking about how much I love it, and that there are four generations of crochet artists in my family.

This one woman who crochets says to me, "Well, what do you have to show for it." That seemed a bit hostile, but things can easily be taken out of context in a chatroom. I thought she wanted an esoteric answer so I said, "Do you mean like the satisfaction of working with your hands, or sharing a legacy with your ancestors."

Then I realized what she meant was if I was so great at it, why wasn't my shop filled with crocheted and knitted items. So I said, "Right now I just have the crocheted octopus finger puppets. I just finished a bunny but I already gave it to my grandson. Now I'm working on a giant squid."

So she says, "Oh, so you just give your stuff away, I see." Well, that sounded even more hostile. Like hers is good enough to sell but I just give mine away.

So more than a little miffed, I say "If you want to see my crochet, here is my flickr link." On Flickr I have about 500 crochet photos. So she goes off, presumably to look at my crochet, comes back about 30 seconds later and says, "Well, it looks like you are having fun." Now if anyone else said that I'd think they meant that in a good way, but when she said it, what I heard once again is when I crochet it's 'just for fun' and when she does it, it's a business.

At that point I gave up and left the chatroom. It was after midnight anyway.
Yes, I have had a lot of crochet items in my Etsy shop. But like many things on Etsy, most items never sell, and then I have to do something with them right? I'm drowning in things as it is. So if I choose to gift them to family members or donate them to a raffle to raise money, what's wrong with that?

I do about 20 kinds of crafts. At any given time, I may not have any of one particular item in my shop. Chances are I do have it in a box here somewhere. Some of the stuff is never listed on Etsy but goes straight into the inventory for my craft fairs.

I thought I'd be over this conversation when I woke up this morning, but obviously I'm not.


Michele said...

I'm sorry you had to deal with that. Giving things away means more to the reciever than the observer. Remember, Judas was upset that the alabaster box of perfume was broken for Jesus. Judas wanted to sell it for money. And we know how Judas reacted to that kind of stuff...So, you keep doing what you are doing; you'll keep your peace and she may still be hoping for a sale.

BellaKarma said...

Oh boy, have I heard this conversation time and again! There is too much "business mentality" in craft these days. Yes, it's fantastic to make a living or even make a dime from something your passionate about; however, I think it's a shame when making a buck has more importance than making art.

Your creations are fun, cute and beautiful - and I feel that way regardless if you sell 'em or NOT. And giving them away as gifts does not devalue 'em at ALL.

Cher said...

When I decided that my passion for jewelry making might be a way to supplement my income, I also decided that if it became a chore, I would no longer do it. I create according to my mood with a little of myself in each piece, which gives me joy & personal satisfaction. Ignore the cynical snarks of the world, and continue doing what you love, creativity will feed your soul, a job will just feed your body ;)