...ESPECIALLY IF THE ARTIST IS RIGHT THERE!
Things observed at markets and craft fairs because even though I'm running the booth, people treat me like I'm invisible and deaf.
So, while you're browsing through a booth at any sort of fair, show, bazaar, or market, I have a couple things that you absolutely CANNOT say. You might not realize what you're implying by saying them.
1) I can make that!
2) You can buy that at Walmart!
Let me break this down a bit to give you an idea of what you are saying when those words are uttered.
1) "I can make that" is a slap to the creativity of the maker (who is more likely than not standing right there). They have taken the time, effort, and money to create something. Yes, you probably could go home and make it right now, but will you? My personal rule of thumb when I think that is to seriously consider buying it for the inspiration. In a sense, you're giving credit where credit is due. Obviously, I like what you made. Creativity begets creativity. Thank the artist for giving you the idea by purchasing their product. You will most likely never get around to making it anyway, and you're supporting small business.
2) If "I can make that" is a slap, then "You can buy that at Walmart" is a punch to the gut.
I'm going to park here for a while, so please bear with me.
We have become so materialistic, such a throw-away society, that we no longer value the skill that goes into making ANYTHING. Electronics, clothing, toys, furniture, you name it, we have traded quality for quantity. We are buying cr-p at mega-stores, and when it breaks in 2 weeks, we go buy the newest upgrade. Yes, you can buy something similar to what I make at just about any store, but mine are unique and made to last. I can guarantee the durability of what I make because I use test them out myself. What you get at the box store will be made with the cheapest materials possible, using the fastest assembly methods available, short-cuts taken everywhere, and is not made to last. Why? They want you to buy more from them, and we've been whipped into shape thinking that this is okay.
Look at your clothes. The thread is barely holding on to the seams because it's so thin (corner-cutting #1). The fabric used to make the garment is thin. Just a few times through the wash and it will pill, break, and tear. (corner-cutting #2). Finally, look at how the fabric lays when you are wearing it - to save money, factories will throw the pattern pieces on the fabric in such a way as to maximize the space on the bolt. I get that. BUT. They are sacrificing how the piece of clothing will actually fit. The drape (or bias) will be all wonky and skewed when you wear it, tugging every which way. (corner cutting #3). Fast fashion is just part of the picture I'm painting here. I could keep going, but you get my point.
My final point on this - lately, I've been seeing a discouraging trend at craft stores: supplies are becoming cheaper in quality.
Example #1: Go to Joann's with someone who has worked with fabric for a long while so they can guide you through this experience. Feel the fabric. Yes, feel it. Run you hand across the weave. Note the texture, the softness or stiffness, how it holds its shape. Now, go to a specialty fabric shop and feel their fabric. You can't stop touching the fabric, can you? Working with good materials makes all the difference on a project. Materials of that caliber are a dream to work with, and they cooperate with you if you know how they work. This is what it takes to make those masterpieces that you see at state fairs, on display, and at competitions. Those artists know how to speak the language of their media. Same goes for yarn, paper, paint, etc.
Example #2: I have to check the selvages on the fabric now because they are saying that making a double-width fabric with fabric stiffener sloshed down the middle, and then cut in half is still a selvage. Is nothing safe from corner-cutting? No. A thousand times, NO. I would never use that to quilt, let alone make a garment. My straight line in a sea of fabric is gone. I can't ensure that things won't tug at seams wrong then break and fray or lay weird when you're wearing it. This is just part of the process that I have to do to make sure that what I'm selling you is the best I can offer. This doesn't even include measuring, securing, pinning, measuring again, etc. etc. etc. This is just part of the cost that you see on that price tag - it's because I care.
I know face-to-face, human interaction for your shopping experience is becoming more and more scarce when it comes to knowing who made the product, but I'm there presenting my best effort, and you just verbally slapped me. What you're looking at when you glance at my booth is hours of dedication to a craft, investment in the supplies, and planning, scheduling, and carving out time to be there to offer what I have.
This became quite the bee in my bonnet after this last weekend, so thank you for listening to my ranting.
Now that I'm done with shows for the season, I have to step-to and get Christmas sewing finished. I have the supplies buried underneath all of the mess that I created getting ready for this last weekend. ;)
Until next time!