Monday, November 10, 2008

But it's art...

Earlier this year I posted about the scam that is overpriced crafts. I'm no fool, and I won't buy something I know I can theoretically make for much less than the marked price. With the abundance of patterns splattered all over the internet, in craft stores and in the recesses of the brains of folks with a generational history of crafting. it is really difficult to convince me of the need to pay more than face value for a lot of stuff. This year, my pet peeve is knitted scarves, hats and doodads available on Etsy. I started to collect a list of people, but I don't want people tracking URLs back here and screaming at me for not knowing what real art is...or that whatever they're making is "real art". Because frankly, if I can knit it on a loom that requires the attention span and conceptual capabilities of a ten year-old, I'm not going to pay some hipster with a penchant for Urban Outfitters prices to make it for me.

My specific gripe is with the proliferation of the soft, knubbly, and elusive "wool and acrylic" blend that so many people are using for hats, scarves, shawls and other knitted items. The colors they use are so hip and fresh, they couldn't possibly be that wacky grandma yarn from Michael's or AC Moore. AH HA. It is. Lion Brand makes a delightfully easy-to-knit yarn called Thick & Quick, and hipster knitters are using it for their creations. I've even seen certain knitters, featured on Etsy, have pictures on the web of their "studio" which consists of skeins of this stuff with the WRAPPER REMOVED.

If you want to charge $75 for a scarf that cost you MAYBE $15, be my guest. There is always the need to account for labor and creativity, I guess. But when you're making and selling handmade things, don't think that we're all so easily duped. I worked retail long enough to spot frauds and I'm not going to give the handmade market some sort of pass just because they're doing it the old-fashioned way. It goes without saying that handmade crafts would have even more universal appeal if the price points were more attainable. Sometimes you have to sacrifice the incalcuable cost of labor for the reassurance that whatever you are making and selling will advertise itself and you'll recoup your loses times 10 in no time.

Happy crafting.

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