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Aspirations for your craft

Warning, this post may waffle at the start.

I recently had an interesting discussion with a creative friend on whether or not it would be possible to make a living from your craft. Now, I know that is possible because our cousin is an artist and earns his bread and butter painting (and doing what he loves) very successfully.

However, for crafters who for example, make greeting cards, can there really be such a thing as making a living from selling handmade cards? How many cards would you have to sell each month before you hit the national average salary and can pay the mortgage and buy the groceries and live comfortably?

I know that for a lot of crafters and designers, it starts off as a hobby and then turns into a part-time exploit which can generate good pocket money. But, at what point does doing what you enjoy turn into a money making scheme, if at all?

I will stop waffling now and come to my point. I have been contacted by a producer for a new BBC series who are looking for makers and ‘kitchen-top crafters/designers’ who want to take their products/designs to the next level. The idea is that the chosen artisan would be coached and mentored by a successful business woman, who will take them through all the processes and pitfalls of creating a new business, culminating in a ‘pitch’ to a big company to launch their product/designs as the next big British brand.

Many people would jump at the opportunity and many would balk at the idea of having their designs turn into a mass-produced item. I just wonder how many people would really turn down an opportunity to make serious money from their craft and would it be seen as ‘selling out’ to the whole hand-made ethos? I suppose at the end of the day it’s all about your ambitions for your craft.

I do have more information and an application form on this BBC series if anyone is interested, so contact me if you want to find out more.

4 replies on “Aspirations for your craft”

That sounds interesting. Not for me but I can imagine some folksy sellers selling at the next level up. Very difficult though as you say giving up the ‘handmade’ element for a more mass produced item/market. I suppose people like Emma Bridgewater and even Cath Kidston have managed it to some extent?? Some people might not agree!!

I’ve applied to that too. The thing is with my craft if I had an assistant (and a part time student help maybe at that) I could produce bulk and still be handmade because of the nature of being able to cast many pieces all in one go. So I guess I wouldn’t have to worry about the ethics too much! There are the odd design that I wouldn’t mind selling for mass production, but I still pitched mine as being a small exclusive range of products in a chain shop, which would reduce the need for this. Besides I’ve written a technique book- I’ve already sold out haven’t I? 😉

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