Saturday, November 13, 2010

Worth pondering

Came upon this over at ECAB ~ from August 2009, but still relevant. Read or listen about the high cost of buying 'cheap'. As an artist/designer, I deal with this issue everyday ~ actually, it impacts everyone in some way. Definitely an issue to consider when making purchases. Is quality valued anymore? What price are you willing to pay for quality?

Has anyone read this book? I'm wondering if it includes any thoughts or solutions to the problem.


Nancy said...

My husband (once a studio potter, now a photographer) talk about this topic almost every day. We believe that quality is rarely valued in this day and age, and we found it to be especially true in the realm of functional pottery. Customers most often expected handmade dishes to cost the same as plastic dishes from Walmart. People would try to haggle with us, not realizing what an insult that is to 1.) a Master Potter with incredible skill and an amazing pottery heritage and 2.) a person who is trying to put food on the table and braces on their kids' teeth. We'd hear people say, "Oh, my aunt took a pottery class once; she'll make the same thing for me for free." In Japan, potters are (literally) National Living Treasures and accorded respect; in the US, well... see above.

My husband had to change careers due to health problems, and now has no problem getting the price he asks for his services. Go figure: in this day and age everyone has a camera, so you'd think they'd balk at paying for photography; precious few people just happen to have a wheel, a kiln, a ton of clay and glaze chemicals AND the skills to use them....but they want pots for free.

I blame the problem in part on the fact that arts education in public schools isn't what it used to be, and people don't know or appreciate what artists and craftspeople do.

Oh, goodness...I'm afraid my comment might end up to be longer than your post! If so, please pardon my rant.

Julie said...

Hi again Nancy!
You are right on with your comments! I am sorry to hear that your husband was forced to change careers, but glad to hear that his choice of photography is a success!

As a craftsperson/artist, it really is difficult to compete with prices on items made in China - and also other craftspersons - some sell their wares for less than the materials to make them! By day I work as an art director/designer for a scrapbooking company so I deal with that end of the spectrum as well - it is frustrating being caught between trying to make a living and doing what you love. I admire you and your husband for going out on your own - some day I hope to do the same!

Thanks for visiting and for your comments!

Leaning Shanty Farm said...

The book sounds intriguing! It's now on my "To Read" list...

Thanks for the suggestion!