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Friday, February 27, 2009

Musings (Quilling)

I have been following the quillers’ dialogue on one of the Yahoo groups ( about pricing quilling, art vs. craft, and whether the cost of materials should be a consideration in pricing one’s work. It brings several thoughts to mind.

One quiller said that because the actual quilling materials were inexpensive, that someone thought she was “cheap” for giving a quilled/framed piece as a wedding gift. It is true that the amount of paper in a finished piece may only be worth a few dollars, if the quiller had handed the bride a bunch of quilling strips in a gift box, perhaps they would have been justified in calling her cheap. But taking that invitation, which the bride and groom chose so carefully, and turning it into a beautiful keepsake? Cheap? I hardly thing so! I guess my point is that “beauty is NOT always in the eyes of the beholder”. Not everyone will appreciate the time and effort that goes into making a piece; some because they have no clue how much work is involved in creating a work of art, and others just because they are clueless. I have been quilling wedding invitations for years, for some of the same customers who wouldn’t think of ever giving anything else for a wedding gift. The feedback I get from my customers tells me that their quilled invitation is often the favorite wedding gift for the brides who receive them. In fact, many of my customers who received one of my pieces as a wedding gift go on to order them when their friends and relatives marry. I have had brides order them to give to their parents as a special remembrance

It is an interesting process, the development of your skill as an artist. It is easy to learn the basics of quilling, and just about anyone can put a few shapes together to make a flower or a frog. But not everyone can put together some of the works seen recently on the internet and here on this blog. Not everyone has the patience, the creativity, or even the motivation to attempt some of the pieces we’ve shown here on the blog. Take a look! It is pretty easy to separate the “crafty” pieces from the art.

I remember, many years ago, being flattered when people wanted to buy something I made, and I am sure that I under-priced my work for the first few years. When I started selling my work at craft shows, I was disappointed that people who came to the shows were more interested in looking for bargains than “art”. I also realized that the kinds of things they were looking for were not the kinds of things I enjoyed creating. Craft shows were just not the right venue for me. I think that it takes time to develop your talent and find your niche. When I decided that I wanted to quill “full time”, I had to learn what kind of work would sell, where to market it, and how to price it. For many years wedding pieces have been my “bread and butter”. Now, in my “golden” years, I am looking at my work a little differently. I have reached the point in my life where I enjoy “creating”, not just decorating wedding or baby frames. Just for fun, I have enclosed a picture of one of my very first pieces, quilled for my little girls bedroom wall (33 years ago), and one of my most recent pictures.


If Looks Could Quill said...

I really appreciate you sharing this with those who may not have access to the NAQG and the quillers yahoo group. It was something I contemplated writing about for my blog, but now I'll just refer my readers to your blog. You've said much more eloquently what I was thinking about during the recent discussion.


Sonya said...

I just found the blog and don't know how I missed it before???? I love the featured quillers, and all the beautiful art,your tips, expierence ect. And I love the Star of David also!