It is our Livelihood, it is our Business, it is what helps to pay the bills!
Yes, this one's going to be a bit of a rant!
One of my artisan friends recently mentioned her experience at a (fairly large) Christmas craft market where a lady spent a lot of time looking at her work and then said "Hmmm Nice Hobby" and walked off.
And then I saw this on facebook "Well you must have a lot of time - you obviously don't work!" on a page called Kirsty Elson Designs- another crafter.
Probably not spoken by the same person but it's this attitude from a lot of people that really gets to me sometimes! It's not just a hobby! In my case it is a part time business, but its a part time business that keeps my dogs fed and pays my monthly utility bills! And occasionally allows me to go to the pub and have a drink with my friends. I work hard for it and I earn it!... AND pay my taxes on what I earn!
[UPDATE 01 October 2014: It is now my full time job! So along with the dogs and utility bills it now pays my mortgage and ALL my bills.]
For a lot of other crafts people I know Its a Full time job! This is what pays all their bills, the mortgage, buys the food and allows them to live independently and not clog up an already overstretched Job Centre because there aren't that many jobs out there anyway! Is that alright? Or would you prefer us to go on job seekers allowance and be unemployed?
It's called being self employed!
Perhaps this lady would have been happier if my friend had been working in a local factory making the same things at less than minimum wage? And then she would have happily bought it from a big name shop at twice the price my friend was selling it at? Would it then be a job and not a hobby? Would it then be classed as working for a living?
"working at a local factory..." Oh wait there aren't any!
"job..." Yes lots of them about and the streets are paved with gold and pigs have taken to flying!
And anyway we like being self employed, working for ourselves and earning a living from the talent we have. So don't patronise us with this hobby, no work blah blah blah clap trap!
We work hard, hand-make things and sell them so we can earn enough to feed ourselves and keep this economy going. How you ask! By spending that money we work hard to make just as the "Market Forces" demand that we should! Most of us are not rich and some of us fit into the "starving artist" category but you know what? We enjoy what we do!
OK so this post has now reached a stage being a rambling rant... and I have no idea where it will end up or for how long I will keep typing. So I am going to make some jewellery I can sell at my next craft fair!
And just to prove that not everyone is a total moron with the attitude mentioned above by two people, I had a message this morning from a prospective customer (Self employed and an artisan) which restores my faith in people and in my ability
"seriously the work that went into it, and you remembering I needed longer, please list it honest price and I shall buy it! I knew it was for me the second I saw it!"
And that is the reason why I am self employed and so are a lot of other artisans and this is why its not just a hobby!
We offer a collection of unique, hand-crafted metal, wire & semi-precious gemstones jewellery created individually in our design studio in Stamford, Lincolnshire. We also cut and polish semi precious stones and other rocks (Lapidary). We accept bespoke Lapidary, Jewellery making & Wire Sculpture Tree commissions. Do Visit our website & Online Showroom: www.shaliniaustin.co.uk