Saturday, December 14, 2013

the making of ...Cookie Cutter Condos

Cookie Cutter Condo
38" x 26"
This one is quickly becoming one of my all time favorites!  What does not show in the photo, is the wonderful texture to go with all the marvelous colors!  This is the other new art quilt that I have hanging at the Gallery at the J, up until Jan 12, 2013.  Hope you get a chance to see it while it is there, because there is a small chance that I might have a buyer for it!
Next time, I will show the process involved in the making, but today I wanted to tell you about why my art quilts are  Eek, not a fun discussion.  First, off the top, if I sell my work, I do need to pay the government their fair share.  Okay, maybe not fair, but it comes in around 20% to 30% of my net income.  There are also commission fees to be paid to the venue, which are around 20% to 50%.  So, before I get too ahead of myself with the lofty asking price of $2,400 for this piece, I am already averaging about 1/2 or LESS of the sales price that I get to keep, if it sells.

Next the cost of supplies:
This is difficult for me to calculate, there are so many variables.  I have at least 45 different spools of thread.  I used quilting threads, embroidery threads, and shiny threads for the satin stitching. I don't know how much I use of each one, but the variety of colors is important to my work.  Thread is expensive, and yes, it can be used on multiple projects, which makes the calculation more difficult.  I also use a lot of different colors of dye (about $2 - $3/ounce + shipping), a BIG bucketload of water in the batik and dyeing process, and the cost of the wax.  About the Austin, (maybe because of our drought?), the more water you use, the higher your rate.  And in this piece, I used a lot of different combinations of dye which add significantly to the labor, and costs involved in making the fabric.  Now add the cost of the yardage of fabric used and the cost of the batting (which I usually buy on sale). 

The cost of labor involved:
This piece took about a month to create, start to finish.  If I get a $1000 profit from the sale of this piece, and I could maintain this level of productivity and profit for a whole year, every year, it comes out to $12000/year.  Poverty.  I think this is what my momma meant when she said that ART doesn't PAY. It is also why I really, really appreciate winning a monetary award at a quilt show!  Meanwhile, I have a sneaky suspicion that the developers who create these multi-story condo units are netting a LOT more than that!  Maybe I picked the wrong profession?  Can you imagine what those real condo units would like if I had been the architect?  Ha!

The cost of equipment:
And, I can't make the art without the tools.  The costs of the capital outlay include....sewing machines (I have 2), irons (I have used and killed many of them), ironing board, tables and chairs, a good camera, the computer, design walls, lights, shelving and containers (and this is only the dry studio for sewing, not the batik studio for batik and dyeing and printing).

Many of the artists in my field who find a way to support themselves write books, write for magazines, travel to give lectures, teach workshops, make fabric lines, create patterns of their work, and try to sell some art.  However, if you are juggling so many different things to stay afloat, it is really difficult to find time to make ART.  And the more you juggle (in my experience), the harder it is to connect with the muse that allows you that beautiful place to listen to your soul.

Meanwhile, regardless of the sales, or the lack of, it is extremely rewarding to have my work hanging in public, getting to be seen at by the admiring public, and sharing the joy of creating here with you. As always, thanks so much for stopping by!


susan fletcher king said...

Yay Kathy! Well said!

Kathy York said...

Thanks Susan!

Helen Percy Lystra said...

So well said.

Helen Percy Lystra said...

So well said!