Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Valuing Ourselves (and Our Work)

Yesterday I finally hung my large quilt at work. I had to put a hanging sleeve on it. That meant picking out quilting on the left over fabric to match the backing as it was the only fabric I had left. Not time consuming, but not enjoyable either. That done, the quilt now hangs not where I wanted it as it is too large, but the next wall over.

A co-worker came in later in the day and stopped in her tracks.

"Wow," she said (along with a bit more). She loved it. Later, she was talking to someone about the piece and said that when she had come in earlier in the day she'd been in a horrible mood, but seeing the quilt instantly made her feel better. The colours imparted a joy that she needed. Cool! She then asked how much commission I would charge for creating a piece like that.

Okay, that isn't a question I've ever thought about, but looking at the piece, the size and labour involved, I knew that I had to ask enough to cover not only the materials, but the time it took, so I said $600. Her response: "That much, eh?" Well then. My boss defended the price by pointing out an art installation he had recently viewed, quietly commenting that one piece sold the opening night for $10,000.

We as artists should value our work, the time involved, the materials involved and the creative energy it takes to produce the work.