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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Creative Urge

blue/purple scarf with dark blue Tencel weft

I'm currently reading Death of an Artist by Kate Wilhelm.

I first found Wilhelm as a science fiction writer but she also writes mysteries.  (If you like Louise Penny you will probably also like Wilhelm.)

Death of an Artist is provoking all sorts of thoughts, stirring up all sorts of emotions.  One of the characters is an artist (painter) who finds that nothing she executes is ever 'done', that she can always find more to do to a piece.  Therefore she cannot sell or even give away anything that she has created, although she has no objection to having her work on display.

Another character makes a wooden box which is a tour de force of in-laid design.  His wife rejects his gift of the 'empty' box, preferring diamonds.  Needless to say, the marriage fails.

As someone dealing with the creative urge - some might even say 'imperative' - in my every day life, these characters have a lot to say about living a creative life.

Having just launched a new publication I have been thinking about how the creative urge is insatiable and how much expressing one's creativity relies on not just one's own approval, but the approval of others.  I'm not just talking about compliments, which are lovely, but in someone actually offering their good hard earned cash in return for the results of that creativity.

I thought long and hard about doing another publication, especially going 'old school' (i.e. not just printing on paper, but including actual fabric samples).  I spent the better part of 9 months working on it and in the end shaved as much of the expense off of it as I could.   If I had included a binder, the price of AGY would have had to be even higher, although at $25 for shipping from Canada to the US, it's already causing controversy.

If I were independently wealthy I would not have to be compensated for postage, envelopes/boxes, packing tape, mailing labels, the gas to drive to the post office, parking fees.  If I were one of the 1% instead of the bottom of the 99% I could have subsidized the costs of shipping the publication.   But I'm not.  The fact that people are assuming that I am charging too much for shipping leaves me feeling very uncomfortable about doing any further publications.

I completely understand why the publishing industry is going more and more towards digital publishing.  But textiles can never be entirely captured in a photograph.

So I ask you, gentle readers, if you have ordered A Good Yarn and feel it is worth the purchase price *AND* the cost of the shipping when you have received it, please let the weaving community know.

15 comments:

Diane B said...

I've already received mine, and I do feel the price (including shipping!) was fair.

But I also understand why someone who *hasn't* ever had to ship lots of packages across the continent at their own expense wouldn't understand why they were being charged $25 for shipping when the package has $13 worth of stamps on it. It's a surprise to people how much padded envelopes cost, and how much time it takes to package an order (time that could have been spent on activities you would get paid for).

If you do this again, I suggest having an inclusive price, so that the price of shipping isn't ever explicitly stated. ie, say the price is $75 for orders shipped to Canada, $80 for orders shipped to US, and a surcharge will apply for orders shipped internationally. Then if you have local orders (with no shipping required) you can quietly give a discount.

Laura Fry said...

I did think about that and will likely go that route in the future.

thanks for letting me know the parcel arrived safely.

cheers,
Laura

Tracey said...

To anyone who is moaning about the cost of postage from Canada to US - "suck-it-up"! At least you're not paying what I've paid to have it shipped over to New Zealand! And I think it will be worth every cent. I have dozens and dozens of textile books and as Laura points out, you just can't fully realise what your seeing in a photo. Weaving is a tactile occupation, just looking at a photo will never be enough compared to actually touching a sample.

Laura - what you are giving to new weavers (and/or especially those who live in remote locations, or are impaired by illness) with this publication is, in my opinion, priceless.

Debi said...

Laura, I can't wait to get AGY! I did gasp at the shipping price, but I haven't shipped out of the US. I did just ship a box to WI and I thought the price was bad. All of the costs do add up and I understand.

Laura Fry said...

With the increase in oil prices the last few years shipping costs have soared,especially when you live in the boondocks. :(. It is no doubt why more publishers are going digital.

Cheers
Laura

DebbieB said...

I've noticed that most people think of "shipping cost" as being "postage cost". They don't realize that you have the additional cost of supplies/labor/transportation involved. For that reason, I agree with the suggestion of a higher price for the item with the shipping included.

I'm squirreling away the funds so I can buy my own copy of AGY - I love my copy of Magic and I'm sure I'll treasure AGY as well.

Laura Fry said...

thanks Debbie - it's really hard when the shipping is half the price of the item itself. :( Part of the problem is that the samples are so bulky so the parcel doesn't fit into the small packet price.
cheers,
Laura

Teena Tuenge said...

I know shipping is astronomical nowadays. Is is partly high because of international shipping. Would your friend in the States take some and ship for you from there? Or is that just asking too much?
Teena Tuenge

Laura Fry said...

My friend already does so much for me I can't ask her to turn into my shipping department. :(

Really looking forward to getting my jacket. If it's not too warm I'll wear it when I do the Seattle guild program in September. :D

Photos will appear - eventually!

Thanks for doing the special order for me, Teena - I really appreciate it.

cheers,
Laura

Marianne said...

I just received mine today. I thought it was well worth the price,including the shipping. I also thought at first that the shipping cost was high, until I stopped to think how much I have been charging for shipping lately, it has really gone up quite a bit in the last few years. Like, I just purchased an item through Amazon.ca and had to pay $45 for shipping a $48 item. Didn't realize that it was coming from the US!!
I absolutely love being able to touch the fabrics, and to see the difference between the washed and unwashed fabric.
Can't wait for the next 'book' to come out. What are you doing next Laura?

Laura Fry said...

Yes, the shipping cost appears high, but remember that I've included the taxes in the Canadian shipping price which means that any sent to the east coast I'm actually losing money on. :(

I have several options for another title but the one I'm toying with is the rayons (regenerated cellulose).

Unless one of the other fibres is more appealing? Linen? Silk?

cheers,
Laura

Marianne said...

Oooh, the rayons would be great. I love working with tencel, bamboo etc.

DebbieB said...

Another vote for rayons as your next project!

Cally said...

We have this cast up to us at the Journal all the time, as the cost of shipping it across the pond is greater than the cost of the magazine itself! (And yes, we are exploring the electronic option, but it is not a straightforward business case, however much people would like to think that it is.) But when I stop and think about it, I realise that shipping costs *should* be high - they are simply a reflection of the resources we consume when we package stuff up and send it around the world. The problem seems to have more to do with our expectations of "getting things cheaply".

Laura Fry said...

Hi Cally, we as a society have been spoiled in having relatively efficient, relatively cheap postage for many years. But all that is changing with the cost of oil and a finite resource. Hopefully we will figure out an alternative fuel - soon!
cheers,
Laura