Do you prefer to work to a crafting deadline or would you rather pick up and put down various projects as the feeling takes you?
Does crafting become a chore when you have to meet a birthday or due date? Or do you find you are more likely to finish a project if you have an event to work towards?
Do you enjoy making a commission or do you prefer not to be restricted by someone else’s colour way?
Hmmm. Interesting questions.
We all took to whatever craft we enjoy, initially for pleasure. But when does the pleasure and relaxation that it brings just becomes another chore on a list of things to be completed?
Take my upcoming craft fairs in August and September. Having written off doing local sales and markets through appalling sales I have stuck to my decision to sell at these three popular agricultural fairs over the summer; apparently the ‘cash cows’ of the craft selling year.
These sales have added draw that all items have to be homemade so I will not be competing against all those ‘distressed’ fakes that are bought in bulk at a gift shop wholesalers.
After these three fairs I shall decide whether to continue to restock (that’s a joke after the past sales) or just run down my stock through giving my makes away as Christmas presents and other gifts.
I always secretly hope that the next fair will be the turning point, the time when I cover my stall fee, the cost of my materials and something for the time I have invested. I work hard for many evenings in advance of the sale to ensure that all my stock levels are high just in case I sell out and miss an amazing opportunity. ( Ha, ha!)
The problem is that for the 4 weeks before a sale, crafting suddenly becomes one of those things on my to do list. It is not as pleasurable as it should be or once was.
So why do I bother with the sales at all? I could never replace the wage the day job brings in, and neither would I want to give it up (most of the time!).
Well, I think we all like that affirmation that someone else ( not biased by being a family member or a friend) likes the things that we have created. We all like to puff out our chests and feel that warm glow that other folk will pay actual money for our makes, rather than buy a much cheaper version available off the shelf.
The funny thing is, I initially started to blog to promote my sales. But now through sharing and appreciating each others projects by blogging I no longer feel I need to sell but can just create for myself, to share with you, my fellow bloggers, and as gifts for appreciative friends.
I enjoy working on a commission and will do so even more if I don’t have a crafting to do list to work through at the same time.
So the decision has been made. I will sell at the three sales this summer and then draw a line under it all. I may even give up my Christmas fair in November which would have entailed an additional amount of Christmas makes as well. I will keep my appliquéd card selection topped up and fresh as I’m regularly called upon to provide these quick pleasurable makes. I will continue my drive to replace all my ugly household items with handmade lovelies.
I want to improve and develop my dress making, try some quilting, and get back to my bread making ( when I can bear to put the oven on again).
So no more deadlines! Apart from those I inadvertently create for myself!
Love, Lucie xx
- Craft Fairs (scrapsecrets.wordpress.com)
- The Beginning of LoveCraft (sophiasinfluence.wordpress.com)
- How to: Craft Fairs (from the Archive) (fallenpeach.wordpress.com)
Dear Lucie, I now feel guilty that I did not write to say how I loved the peg bag I bought from your Etsy shop – I use it as a kitchen accessory as well as a utility item and it is really lovely and well made, better that anything I would have made [usually in a hurry!]. I know exactly how you feel, I make lampwork beads and in years past have done many craft and beading shows as well as selling on Ebay, but with the flooding of cheap beads from China it became obvious that I should only make them for pleasure…I’ll show some on my blog perhaps, not for sale, just for show…..you would think that with the upsurge of ‘craftiness’ and apparent love of all things handmade, people who go to craft fairs would appreciate the uniqueness of what we make, but then that has always been the way. I am glad that you are still exploring all things handmade..and look forward to seeing what you have made. Please put things in your Etsy shop now and then – don’t give up, even if it just pays for a reel of cotton!!!!! Best wishes, Maureen.
Thank you so much for your lovely message. So glad you love your peg bag. I had no idea it was you that had bought one!
As for the fairs, I think I am also fighting an uphill battle against the current economy.
At least with my agricultural shows, I plan on getting out and about during the day so it’s a bit more of a day out. And with complimentary entry and parking for two you can’t really complain.
I will still keep the shop open. It costs only pennies after all. And there is still that thrill when a get an occasional sale email!
I also started my Etsy shop to ‘justify’ my creative addiction after I had loaded all my family and friends with quilts, cushions, and other makes. I have very rarely done a craft fair as I can’t be doing with it when a member of the public says something like ‘I could make that’ or ‘that’s too expensive, I can get it in the ‘Made in China But Made to Look Vaguely Handmade’ shop in the high street. I can’t be doing with that sort of hassle – and it’s not ladylike to start a punch up – so online suits me fine and, if I only sell something occasionally, I don’t get too upset as I would be making things anyway and if I get enough to cover(ish!) my fabric and stuff then I’m happy.
As far as having a time constraint goes. I have to confess that I made a double sized patchwork quilt for both my daughters’ 18th birthdays and neither were on time. The eldest one had to open just the pieced top on the day of her birthday and hand it back to me to finish it – she got it back for the start of her university course a year later!! The younger was luckier and only had to wait a few weeks after her birthday. I find it difficult to motivate myself for a custom order too as, once the fabric etc. has been agreed and the customer has paid, the incentive sort of goes out of it a bit. I am much happier, getting an idea or choosing a project and forging ahead with it whilst I’m still enthused.
I still like quilting for my own home – although Mr. Tialys does get a bit sniffy when he sees yet another ‘throw’ emerge from the workroom. However, like you, I am reviving my dressmaking skills and am really hoping to get one of my daughters enthused too. Although I do have far too many clothes already so I might inflict the results on my other daughter who will definitely not be bitten by the sewing bug.
Phew!! Well, you did ask!
What a lovely response. Definitely one of the delights of blogging is connecting with lovely folks, as you, along the way.
From reading other quilters’ blogs I think missing the deadline is par for the course!
You comment about your Mr Tialys made me laugh. I often get,’What are you making NOW?’ He doesn’t appreciate that it’s the actual making process that is relaxing and just because I always have something in my hands it doesn’t mean that I am not ‘switching off’ after a long day at work.
My OH spends a few nights away each week with work so my craft keeps me company and keeps my fingers out of the biscuit tin!
Hope you’re not missing your four legged friend too much. Do you have plans for another furry friend in your life?
I do miss her Lucie but I took the precaution of having another 2 dogs and 4 cats! I am trying to limit the amount of dogs we have at any one time to 2 (we had 4 at one time – and all big ones!) but we only ever rescue abandoned dogs (and cats) which generally manage to seek us out one way or another so we never bother to actively go looking!
Craft fairs are funny old things; I’ve gone to a couple where there were queues for stuff, and others where people hardly wanted to spend. I think it’s all about the right products for the right venue.
I think your products are lovely, and clearly well made and thought out, if it’s any consolation.
I agree though – the pressure of a stall is massive, and perhaps doing crafting for crafting sake would be helpful? I far prefer to sew on my own deadlines as otherwise the stress is unpleasant.
Don’t give up though – there is a market, I’m sure ;o)
I think location is the key. I think we have a lack of proper artisan fairs in West Yorkshire. There are fairs available to do every weekend if you wanted to, but the stalls, products and buyers vary enormously.
I see my products as simple makes that anyone with a sewing machine could turn out but my heart goes out to those with a unique skill they have trained in, producing beautiful unique objects. Watching all those browsers/day trippers walk straight past those lovely little works of art is awful.
It least, I’ve had ago. If I didn’t have a family, I can see it as a lovely way to get out, spend time with other crafty people. They are great fun and all the longer standing stall holders have made some lovely friendships.
Enjoy your holiday!
Hi Lucie. I understand why you wouldn’t want to keep doing craft fairs that are unprofitable but I hope you’ll keep your folksy shop open! My step daughter in law just LOVED her owl cushion! The husband reported back a conversation he had with her on her birthday; he’s not inclined to superlatives so he must have been repeating her! Plus the peg bags make me smile every time I see them on my or Mums lines! 😄
Thank you Claire. I will keep the shop open; you and the others commenting here have persuaded me to do that. Loving your blog by the way. Always nice to see one of your posts popping up in my reader!
Yay! I want to get an owl for my sister at some point 😄and thank you x
Craft fairs can be really tough – your stalls look great though and that is half the battle! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that these fairs are a success for you.
Well, they have to be an improvement over the last few! Thank you for the appreciation for my stall. I have progressed and always receive lots of lovely comments from the browsers (grrrrrr!). Speaking to other stall holders, craft fairs used to be little money pots and they have noticed a steep decline in sales over the past three years. Mind you if I did sell well at the first agricultural fair craft tent, I would be under more pressure to stock up for the one two weeks later!
Oh, I’m sorry to hear the craft fairs haven’t worked out as you’d have hoped. But blimey, I bet it’s a total nightmare trying to finish things to deadlines like that. As others have said, I’m absolutely appalling at meeting deadlines as well (was very pleased to read of the year-late quilt in a comment above, as I am working on a quilt still that was a present for last Christmas!)
Even if a deadline is for someone’s birthday / baby etc, which is surely a “pleasant” deadline, I still find it takes away a little bit of the enjoyment and adds a bit of stress. I imagine with a more “unpleasant” deadline that would arise from the need to have enough stock for craft fairs that it would take away ANY enjoyment of making the things!
Very glad you decided to start blogging though, I always love to read what you’ve written and certainly love to see your makes in an online form…
Sabrina, thank you for your lovely response to my post. I think the definite consensus is that a crafting deadline is not a pleasant one and some worse than others.
I must say that I enjoy having an appreciative audience other than my rightly biased family and friends.
Reading other blogs has really opened my eyes to other skills and given me masses of inspiration. My only problem now is the length of my crafting to do list and with reading my favourite blogs 😉 and Pinterest it grows daily!
Ha ha ha, yes, I know that feeling. The To Do list gets bigger and bigger with all the wonderful ideas from Pinterest and other blogs, then it all takes longer to make as well because I have to photograph everything for the blog, and then write the posts too!