Friday, April 10, 2009

Selling Seconds

Hmm - once again I seem to have achieved blurry - the photo looked fine on the camera. Oh well, this is just to show that I am making progress. Nearly at the half way mark on the warp. There are four green and 3 red with the fourth about at the one yard mark. That should make about 19 yards (out of 40) woven.

At the bottom of the photo you can see how I store my reeds - standing upright lengthwise, leaning against the base of the loom.

One of the seminars I'm teaching next week is The Business of Weaving (Crafts). One of the groups has invited other artisans to sit in on the seminar so we broadened the title.

Having chosen weaving as a career 30+ years ago, I very quickly had to come to grips with the business of running a business. Scheduling, motivation, costing items for pricing, general accounting etc., etc. Running a weaving business is far different from having weaving as a hobby and occassionally selling the odd item, hoping to recoup your material costs.

One policy I implemented very early was to not sell seconds. At first they got discarded (rag bag), or if I'd invested too much time in completing them before noticing they didn't pass, were given away.

A few years ago I had a 'disaster'. While sick with a really bad cold I was threading a very complicated pattern and didn't notice until I'd woven more than half of the warp (20 yards or so) that I'd made threading errors. Not something that was going to compromise the function of the cloth (tea towels), but definitely the pattern was wrong.

With the growth of the internet and chat groups, I posted to one that I belonged to explaining my predicament and offering the tea towels to other weavers at a cut rate price. Some of them that bought contacted me to say they couldn't see the error and would have offered them as 'firsts'.

But I knew the error was there. :}

Now I have a store on Art Fire and one of the things they offer is the ability to offer Special Promotions. So I'm thinking that I could take my collection of 'seconds' that are second by virture of flaws that won't in any way compromise the function of the textile and offer them as a Special Promotion on Art Fire.

But something in me baulks. I really don't like the idea of having textiles that I'm not happy with being purchased by the general public. :(

Currently reading Love Mercy by Earlene Fowler


Janet said...

I know exactly what you mean. I don't like the idea that somewhere out there someone will have a piece of weaving that has a mistake in it and my name on it. Even if I label it plainly as a second and point out the flaw to the person who purchases it, there's nothing to say that person will always own it. It might one day be passed on to someone else who won't realize it was a second and will think I make and sell stuff with mistakes in. Ugh.

I never have sold seconds because of this. Instead, I usually try to figure out some kind of surface embellishment that hides the flaw or turns it into a design element, keep the messed up piece for myself, or try to figure out what else I can do with the cloth.

Sandra Rude said...

I agree in principle about selling seconds. However, I've been able to overcome my hesitation. I usually see the error in the first few inches of the 1st scarf on the warp, fix it, and all the warp thereafter is accurate. If there's a small threading or sleying error in silk sett at 72 epi, nobody I know (except maybe you!) can see it, so I've made a pact with myself to accept that.

charlotte said...

I would have loved to attend your seminar, I really need to learn about those topics, but it is too far away...
About the blurry picture: some weeks ago I had big problems taking good picure of a table runner woven in shades of red. We tried all sorts of angles, lights, focus, nothing worked out, the pictures were blurry anyway. At the end we tried to save the pictures in TIFF-format, instead of the default jpeg-format, and all problems with blurriness were gone!

Dorothy said...

I think you're probably right about the seconds. It would be sad to think that if someone just had one piece of your weaving they'd know your work by that standard.

Sharon Schulze said...

I understand what you are saying about "seconds" but I also wonder if it's humanly appropriate to demand such unswerving perfection. If a mistake is obvious and a somewhat trained eye can see it (perhaps that of a hobbyist weaver) that's one thing. But... I guess I would say it depends on the error, especially if you are selling it as a Special Promotion. And if it ends up with someone else? I would say it's not your problem. All you can do is all you can do.

It is a personal choice and I know you will do what is right for you and in keeping with what you can do and want to do. I'm comfortable speaking honestly about my thoughts but please know I'm not making recommendations to you.

As it turns out I've just been fussing with this idea. I don't sell stuff but I just finished a doubleweave project that had some unwanted floats in the bottom layer. I fixed them but I still know there are all those little fixes. For me that won't count as a "second" because at least I fixed it! And I wasn't going to sell it anyway. I know others would castigate me soundly (it's happened before) but life is too short for me - the hobby weaver - to beat myself up and reject things that aren't absolutely perfect.