Friday, December 02, 2011

Selling, Giving, Donating, and AAQI

I just read an intriguing post by Rice Freeman titled "Why I Don't Sell What I Make" -- check it out.  Every time I consider opening an Etsy shop or selling at craft fairs, I've faced the dilemmas she mentions.

When I had a small antique shop years ago, I sold some handmade items and crafts that my husband and I made.  We had a booth at a local flea market once a month, and it was fun because we made a lot of friends.  Was it worth the effort?  Not financially, but we were younger and more energetic then and other rewards were worth it.  As we were already selling antique and vintage items, adding the crafts to the lot was no more trouble as we were already keeping inventory and tax info.

Now, however, even though I sometimes want the validation that someone would want to buy an item, it seems like an awful lot of trouble to determine price (which would never be worth the investment of time and energy) and go to all the effort of selling and keeping track.  Dilemma.

On the other hand, making art quilts for AAQI is definitely worth it because the money goes to Alzheimer's research.  I love that (!) and all of the generous people who are involved in making, donating, and buying the quilts.  It makes you feel good about your work and the purpose it serves.  I'd certainly donate dolls in the same way, if it were to raise money for a good cause.

Right now, the Alzheimer's Art Quilts Initiative December Auction is underway, I've already bid on a couple!  The money raised on each quilt goes to research; can't lose, you purchase a little art quilt and the money goes to research for a cure for Alzheimer's.  Win/Win.

One reason I'm working on my studio re-arrangement is so that I can make some more AAQI quilts.  I need to have my cutting table available--so my other crafting must be transferred to another surface (at least temporarily), and the table given a new orientation.

Where has this week gone?


  1. Fantastic article, thanks for the link. DD has just started selling some fiber art in some shows and these dilemmas are front and center. People just generally will not pay what art is worth. I want to be encouraging but it's hard...

  2. I'm just adding you to my reader now... you've got a great blog that I can find myself lost in for awhile.

  3. Debby - I think Rice sums it up very well. It really is true that most people are not willing to pay for the time that a handmade items take! If your DD doesn't get discouraged, she may still get a lot of benefit from the shows.

    Jane - Thanks, Jane! Glad to have gotten to know you through Tuesday Stitchers!

  4. I've been on both sides of the fence and I would rather give my work away. If I had to support myself, I would feel differently; but, that's not the case. So, I like to give when I can through my artwork & quilts.

    The AAQI is a good spot for giving artwork, I agree.

  5. You have some many causes that you support through your quilts. You are probably the queen of giving!

  6. Oh, I am so with you on this one. I tell people this is why everything I do is for free;) As a volunteer, I can never complain that I work to hard for my pay, or that I have a mean boss, or that no one appreciates the work I do. Craft fairs and such used to leave me so drained even when the shoppers were complimentary. Heck, I don't even like garage sales..I just give it away. But AAQI has them all beat. Pure joy for me. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you big and buy. You are so darn awesome, lady.

  7. I'd much rather give away what I make, and I hope I never have to support myself that way - based on my past experiences, I would starve. I priced some things at rock bottom prices, practically gave them away - still nobody wanted them. My aunts quilted and sold their quilts. When they figured up how much they made per hour, it literally came to about $.25. They only sold them to get money to buy more quilting supplies.

  8. Michele - Rice's post really nailed most of the important facets of this dilemma. You and Debra are role models in giving!

    Deborah - If I had to, I definitely sell things to buy supplies! You are another AAQI supporter. It is amazing how many quilters are so, and Debra, and Michele are making huge contributions.

  9. Love your little House AAQI piece. It arrived safely and will have a spot in my studio. thank so much!

  10. Thanks, Debra-- I'm honored to have a place in your studio!


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