Friday, October 5, 2007

Needle Felting: "Farmer Jack"

It's that time of year, again.

Here is my offering for Halloween. "Farmer Jack" is needle felted over a wire armature. I like doing these characters, but they are so time consuming. I know I say that, a lot, but it can't be expressed, enough, in my opinion.

I've read where some people think needle felting is easy...and it can be, depending on what you want to achieve. The hardest part, to me, is making hands and feet...the same size. You have to get a feel for how much wool will needle down into the size you want. This character had entirely different hands, before I ripped them off, because I had used too much wool and just couldn't get them down to the size I wanted. That was a three hour lesson. Now, I know that less is better, to start with, as you can always add more, but taking away is extremely difficult.

I know I am getting a little faster, at this, all the time, but it takes the time that it takes and rushing only causes...well...three hour lessons. Also, I like my work to be firmly felted. This takes hours of additional time. Add to that my obsession with details ( I really had to reign that in, with Jack, as I wanted him to be more accessible, price wise) and you can get work that must be compensated by hundreds of dollars, if one needed to make a living from their art, as I do.

I guess what I'm hoping, here, is that anyone reading this will understand the monetary value of time. If "Farmer Jack" sells for the minimum amount I listed him for, I will have made around two dollars an hour for labor and then there are all the listing fees, final value fees and other overhead. If I didn't love doing it, this could be very discouraging.

Well...fortunately...I do love doing it, so I'm not complaining...just educating, a little, I hope. At any rate, in the future you may see work that is priced according to the amount of time and love I put in. I always like to have pieces that are accessible to everyone who wants to invite my work into their homes...which I consider an honor, by the way, but some of it may be out or reach for some. I can't let that stop me from putting all I am into my work.

I'd love some comments on this. Should artists expect, at least, minimum wage for the time they put into their work?


May said...

Bettina, Farmer Jack is wonderful!

You, fortunately, have ample talent so that you may be able to get what amounts to a reasonable "hourly wage". In all honesty, though, I don't think it'll happen on eBay. You may have to seek out other venues for your art.

Do you live in or near a "touristy" area, with shops that might buy your work or take it on consignment? I would think you'd be able to sell your work that way.

Best of luck, and keep giving your all to your art!


Bettina Makley, aka Fairywebmother. said...

Thanks, May.

As a matter of fact, I live in an up and coming touristy area and we plan to open our own shop, hopefully, soon. I did see a beautiful needle felted bear sell on EBay for more than three hundred dollars. It was quite small at around 4", but it was very realistic and, frankly, wonderful. The buyers are there, that I know. Whether or not my work will measure up, remains to be seen, but I have learned that if you value your work, others will, too.


DesigningFairy said...

Love, love these little creatures.

DesigningFairy said...

I agree; I am finding that both Etsy and Ebay are low-paying for artists. When I shop there I am looking for a bargain. I think these are too wonderful to be a in craft shop, but a high end shop would be better, where others appreciate how special these are.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bettina,
I had a flower and gift shop and was constantly giving away little things here and there, it is what made it fun for me to surprise customers with something special. I never got paid what my work was worth, my choice I guess-simply loved creating and having fun. Mary Anne

Nedra said...

You write very well.