"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Creativity & Economy- A Balancing Act

I went to 2 different fabric stores yesterday in search of some things I need to finish the handbags I am making from my hand- woven fabric. Most of my weaving is done using yarn and fiber from my own flock of sheep. Why am I telling you this and what does it have to do with going to the fabric store? Well, I learned that fabric is not cheap, and barely economical anymore. I discovered I have a treasure trove of riches here at home, carefully stored in baskets and boxes. Fabric is expensive! It has been awhile since I bought any fabric.I don't think anyone can save money anymore by buying fabric to make clothing. The cheapest fabrics I saw were no less than $4.00 a yard.Why would anyone buy fabric to make clothing or quilts when they can now be purchased ready-made far less expensively, and conveniently too? I also discovered many of the supplies I have saved and set aside to craft items using my hand-spun and hand dyed wool are worth far, far more than I sell them for. The fabric stores are selling an OUNCE of carded wool in little plastic bags for at least $2.00 , often a little more. Here all along I have undervalued the work of my hand, the produce of my flocks, my time, by grossly undercharging for them. I will have to charge much less than my items are worth though, to sell them. To make a little money, for what is the point of stock piling things I have made? It becomes a waste of time , resources, and energy to create. This is the dilemma I find many of the people selling beautiful handcrafts at the bazaars, Farmer's Markets, and boutiques face. What we are selling is an item that cannot ever have our time factored in on the price tag. That is O.K. though ( most of the time). I have the privilege of being able to stay home and make these things. I have the privilege of keeping sheep I love, to grow the wool to spin up into yarn to dye, weave, or sell. The one thing I keep losing track of though is that does not mean I should be undervaluing my craft as I am often guilty of . I am not being a good steward of God's provision when I under sell and under value the work of my hands and heart. Yes, I make many things to sell that are priced low so they sell quickly, I have to make enough money to pay most of the feed bill and booth fees.I always recover my product supply costs too. However, I am determined to remember thrift and economy do not mean cheap and of little or no value. That includes using what I have already, and using it wisely to produce items worth keeping if they are not sold. Worth passing down to another generation in the family. Why would any of us want to create our own clothing, furnishings, or any of the multitude of things we craft ?Could it be because we are compelled, or driven to consider the work of our hands and minds of far more value than economy? ----"People get into crafting because they love creating things." Jamie Turner ----- My desire is to remember the value of whatever I do in my life should be measured by God's standards. I am driven to create because God created me ( and you) that way. How I create and craft should also glorify God by not detracting from my responsibilities as a wife, mother,employee, sister-in-the Lord....and sometimes that is a real balancing act. Am I being a good wife and mother, or good steward of time if meals are not prepared, the house is untidy and cluttered , laundry not done because of MY crafting?Am I wasting resources, money,scarce storage space at home by making unwise choices in crafting?"An excellent wife, who can find?...The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain." Proverbs 31:10,11 ----These questions can be adapted to apply to anyone bursting with the need and passion to be creative, man or woman, married or single...the point here is we as human beings are driven to create in some fashion or other and often monetary gain is not the primary goal but a means to support the passion that drives our craft,talents, or our dreams.---- "Creativity is the quality that you bring to the activity that you are doing. It is an attitude, an inner approach - how you look at things...whatsoever you do, if you do it joyfully, if you do it lovingly, if your act of doing is not purely economical, then it is creative." Osho "Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men." Colossians 3:23 "To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance it's beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it." Osho "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.." Ephesians 2:10 *Pictured is weaving I did in 2008~

14 comments:

Karen said...

Your work is very creative and lovely! Yesterday, I did a Thanksgiving bulletin board for the Christian school. I had so much fun!

Debbie said...

Quite an interesting and thought provoking post. I love sewing and crafting and wood working. But the busyness of ministry, volunteer time and home renovation have taken up my time and energy along with the shopping, cleaning and cooking. I MISS creativity. When I make something I enjoy, I feel like I have something to show for my time. Dusting will have to be redone; the dishes will need to be washed again...but a card made for a friend or a sampler stitched and framed....those things are enjoyed and they contain a little piece of me. Things will be settling down here soon, and I will have time to create some things. Maybe too much time:D You're right, 3 hours is not too far:D

Daisy said...

I liked this post, Kathy. I often think of creativity as a way of being more God-like, for he was the grand Creator of all things. I think we are creative because we are made in his image and he is creative. We only have to look around the world we live in to see all the things that God created to know how truly amazing he really is. I agree that creativity and the crafts we make as a result have much more value beyond trying to put a monetary price tag on them.

Southern Comfort said...

That is a beautiful handbag that you've made. And you are right, you can't ever get paid what your time and material are really worth. I love a handmade gift though, and might make all my Christmas gifts this year.

Mildred said...

Kathy, Your hand-made items are so pretty and such treasured works of "heart." Many years ago, I sold cross-stitched gifts at craft shows. As you say, it was next to impossible to price them affordably considering the time and materials that went into them. As Daisy said, I think of creativity as being God-like. Thanks to the photos you have posted in the past, I can picture you in my mind, caring for your sheep, collecting the wool, washing, dyeing, spinning on the porch with Miss Marple nearby while you listen to beautiful music. Wishing you and your family a nice Sunday.

Sandra said...

Oh so true, Kathy! I read and hear a lot of talk about "fair trade" but it seems to apply to all but those of us in the USA, making things with our hands. Yes, we do have a better standard of living than those living in a lot of the world but it's also true we also need to be paid for our time, materials, efforts, etc.
I figure if my things don't sell, I've got a head start on lovely, hand crafted gifts for Christmas, birthdays, anniversary's, etc.
Your bag is lovely; well done!

Pondside said...

You've given us lots to think about, Kathy. With every last thing we buy now made in China, cheap seems to have become the most important quality of every commodity.

Timi said...

Your handbag is so beautiful! I like the colours of it!

Julie Harward said...

I liked Daisy's comment, I feel that way too. I think we have always been creating..we might have even had a hand in helping or a say in the creation of the earth! Creating is awesome! :D

Dolores said...

You always touch my heart with your thought provoking and beautiful post.
The handbag is so beautiful.... You're an amazing woman.... and I'm proud to call you friend!
Hugs,d

commoncents said...

VERY VERY COOL! Thanks for posting!

Steve
Common Cents
http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

Vickie said...

You're so creative, Kathy - beautiful work there.

I know what you mean - when I sell a painting a little piece of me goes with it. And I can never be paid as much as the time, effort, materials and creative muse cost. But paint I must and will as long as I have breath and strength and supplies!

Vickie said...

Amen on what Daisy said!

Nancy M. said...

They are so gorgeous! It would be hard to find the right price for them!