It’s not really my style — making the same thing over and over again. I just can’t. Maybe it’s because there’s no challenge. Maybe it’s because it feels stale. But I’ve found myself having to do just that to keep my stock current in Craft Arts Market and to create stock for Art in the Park this weekend.
For the last couple days I’ve been dragging out the creation of 26 twisted forged bronze bangles. On Monday I spent the afternoon on the back deck using the MAP gas torch and pliers to twist the wire, after I’d spent an hour in the morning cutting the 8 and 10 gauge wire into bracelet and torque sized lengths. I decided to create three neck wires to showcase some cool pendants I have.
Yesterday I spent four hours paddling the ends of each piece of twisted wire, shaping it into a bracelet around the mandrel and work hardening the finished product. Then I went downtown to teach a class, to make a few dollars in the evening. And to have fun. I love sharing my knowledge with other jewellery makers.
This morning, the bangles will require filing before they go into my homemade pickle to get shiny again. Then they need to be buffed and coated in liver of sulphur patina. Finally I will apply Renaissance wax to preserve the patina.
All told, I will have spent about 10 hours on these bracelets. Cost of goods (COGs) to create each one is estimated at $3.00. I’m selling them three for $25 or $10 each and the neck wires for $15 each. So if I sell them all, I make around $250. COGs is a total of $95. That makes my hourly wage around $15. That’s if they all sell.
No wonder artists have to work a full time job to do their art as a secondary job. No one can live at this wage level. And that’s maximizing my profit by production line techniques. Just imagine how much money I don’t make on my one of a kind designs. Thank goodness I love what I do! And supplement my income with teaching wages. None of this fully pays the bills, though.
So I urge you all to support local and small batch artisans/ artists. The work they do is worth every cent you pay. Don’t haggle or complain about their prices either. In most instances, they are probably already undercutting themselves. And each piece is imbued with the artist’s love of their work and creative spirit.
See you at Art in the Park here in St Catharines this weekend! Montebello Park both Saturday and Sunday after 10am.