Peace Signs

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

In The Studio - Part One

I wrote the below yesterday on my Facebook Page and thought it was good enough to share here too.

Getting the weight of one of my mosaic bowls before listing it on H@A

I know you've seen this bowl a lot lately. It has made me smile every day and I hope it does the same for you. So much goes on behind the scenes when you are an artisan. If you're like me, a one-woman show, so to speak, it's much more than having an inspiring idea and creating a mosaic, drawing or painting. For mosaics especially, there are the hours it takes to clean and polish a mosaic after grouting, getting decent photos to show exactly what the customer is getting, a fair price to make sure I am paid for my time and talent, measurements, weight, consideration on how to pack it up when it sells. I would love nothing more than to just do the creative part and sit in a big room all day and nip glass, glue it onto things and listen to music and let others do the rest. The truth is the creative part is only a small portion of what we do as artisans. And those who don't appreciate it, really should think about what it means. If we're lucky, we have help. If we aren't we do EVERYTHING ourselves. We don't all have dedicated studio space; we work around the kitchen table or in my case, on a TV tray. Often I'm sitting on my bed with a tray in front of me if the mosaic base will fit, if not it sits on an old sheet as I work, hoping the glass I'm nipping with a handheld tool doesn't fly away as I do so!

Next time you squawk about the price of a handmade item, take into consideration what it is you are actually buying. In my case, you are buying a true handmade item from start to finish. At one time, this Green Apple Mosaic Bowl, for example, was sitting on a shelf in a store looking very uninspired as just a yellow bowl. Pretty, but not really art. It took someone like me to see the colors that should go into it, the pattern, the design, the materials to use. Then a little time to find the money to gather the materials I wanted to use. That is hard because I use the money I receive from my sales to purchase more materials. There is a little bit more than a lot of talent that goes into creating art and I charge a fair price for each piece I create.

Remember to appreciate the handmade artisan. What you purchase from my shop(s) isn't just an item. It is a little bit of me, my thoughts, my hands at work, the time involved to get the job done. It takes a few weeks to get the design just right, it takes a week or sometimes two to place the pieces in a specific pattern. Sometimes it is easy and the pieces just fly from the nipping tool to the substrate, gluing it down like I am possessed. I believe the Mosaic Muse that lives within me knows what she likes and becomes awake and energetic when that happens. But it doesn't always happen. Often it takes weeks. And then sometimes months.

Grouting is time-consuming, messy and yeah, I'll admit it, fun! I LOVE to grout. I see my mosaics getting pulled together into a cohesive piece of art by using grout. I do believe I will always use grout. I just love it!

I am taking some time reading through the materials for H@A and thinking although it is a wonderful opportunity, it will get bombarded with artisans trying to outshine each other. I'm not working too hard to be among the top sellers. I don't have the energy for it. On the other hand, I am grateful for the opportunity to set up shop with this well-known company and will make sure I get my items in this new shop on the site set to their specifications so it can be found and appreciated by a whole new group of customers.

Meanwhile, I have Storenvy to take care of and the newest addition, Aftcra and will happily oversee them all because I don't have help doing these things. I am happy I have the energy and time to devote to all the shops, my art and my family. Not necessarily in that order!

Have a wonderful day and remember: Support Independent Artisans, Designers and Crafters for your gift-giving needs all throughout the year.

Thank you,

Cindy, EarthMotherMosaics