Here’s what’s on my worktable right now. The two sets of earrings at the top of the picture are made of sculpey ultralight. The reason for making them with this clay is that they keep my earrings as light as possible. No one likes heavy earrings. They are armatures that will be covered with a thin layer of other clay and with a pattern, probably dots. The little fan shapes at the top may be cabochons that I’ll set in silver after I’ve covered them.
On the bottom row are pendants. Wherever you see holes will be bead mosaic. All of them have been wet sanded with 220 grit sandpaper. That’s just the first sanding step. To get a nice high gloss shine, I’ll go up in steps to a 1500 or even 2000 grit. I find those grits at automotive supply stores. The sanding will all be done before I do the mosaic work.
All of what you see here represents hours and hours of work, which leads me to the point of this post. Speaking as a business person, I naturally want to make the most amount of money for the least amount of time, right? That’s just economics 101. As an artist, however, what can I sacrifice in quality to gain quantity? My biggest issue right now is my production time. It’s something that I struggle with daily. I think I’ve worked out that I’m making about $2.00 or $3.00 an hour, and I’m working about 10 hours a day. Am I happy? Yes. I’m absolutely ecstatic doing what I’m doing! It beats the heck out of selling bras! Will it pay the bills? The jury’s still out on that one. My guess is that, unless I can increase production, the answer is no, even if I teach myself how to live and be happy with the barest minimum. (That’s another struggle!)
I’m a very detail oriented person. I know what I want the finished product to look like and I’m willing to work for hours and hours until I’m satisfied with the results. I can’t seem to work any faster. If I did, I wouldn’t be happy with the product. I’d like to come up with a design that I’m happy with that doesn’t involve so much sanding (the bane of my existence!) or several – sometimes ten to twelve – steps of curing. I like what I make or I wouldn’t make it. I like the finished product. But I don’t like how long it takes me to get there. That’s not good for business.
So, I’ll keep struggling. I’ll keep trying to develop a design that I can churn out like hotcakes (that sells like hotcakes too!). Or I’ll just wait until I become so famous that people are willing to pay what I’d like to be charging for my work – which would pay for the materials and for my time. As someone I know once told me, “If you charge a million dollars apiece for what you sell, you only have to sell ONE!”