Thursday, October 19, 2006

Murmurs

The raffle to raise money for the West Women's and Children's Shelter has been going on since Monday. Like many raffles, the start was slow but is picking up. Payday is tomorrow so we should sell more tickets then. I've been talking it up with fellow employees all over the building since half the battle is making people aware of the raffle in the first place.

One of the disheartening things I've been hearing (and confirms my reasons for refusing to sell things at bazaars, farmers' markets, and the like) is that people are dismayed at the value placed on the shawl. It's priced at $400 value which for some folks seemed horribly overpriced. One person commented she wouldn't have paid $30 for it. It's very insulting to me. I spent on average 20 hours a week for four weeks knitting it. Deducting $30 for the yarn and the time spent designing it, it works out to my knitting it for under $5 an hour. That's less than minimum wage. If you use the method of 18 cents a yard, it's $360. So bite me, cheap asses.

6 comments:

Sharon Rose said...

You can't take it personally, honey. Remember, these are the same people who buy their fine evening wear at Target. They honestly can't see the difference between handmade quality and machined cheapness. Heck, most people can't reliably identify the difference between leather and vinyl! I'd be buying tickets myself, but Matt has forbidden me to wear shawls. He says they make me look like a frumpy old grandma.

TheBunny said...

Sharon Rose is right. In this day and age where "fine" things can be found at Ross and Marshalls, people honestly don't know quality from the ordinary.

This is what happens when folks are exposed to cultah.

I KNOW your shawl is easily worth $400! And I would love to get a ticket. Email me and we'll figure out how to do this virtually.

TheBunny said...

AREN'T exposed to cultah. AREN'T. Then again, maybe it was the correct phrasing in the first place. Exposed to cultah but not culture?

M-H said...

Don't be insulted, just laugh at their ignorance. It's all in where you sell it - if it were in an exclusive designer boutique it would go for more. There isn't always a clear relationship between price and value.

Tallguy said...

Do you remember Aesop's fable of the Fox and the Grapes? http://www.aesopfables.com/cgi/aesop1.cgi?sel&TheFoxandtheGrapes2

ted said...

Galina-the-Orenburg-shawl-lady and I had a conversation about this at Rhinebeck. I'd made an Orenburg shawl a couple of years ago, and gave it to somebody. Galina was a bit horrified by this, until I said that if I'm going to give my work away, I'll give it away. I'm not going to sell my work for less than it's worth. When people ask me how long it took to make, I explain that I started knitting at age 19 and I am now [mumble, mumble] years old -- you get the idea. The shawl is what it is because of those years of experience. Surely that expertise is worth something and should be recognized, just like it is in the labourforce marketplace. If they poo-poo that and ask how long it took to make that shawl, I tell them, and suggest that they might want to make one themselves while parked in front of the TV -- and, BTW, I have a pattern I'll sell them for 6 bucks. (And if anyone ever asks for the pattern I'll have to write it up and see if $6 is really a fair price.)

People have no clue how much work goes into clothing. If they had to make their own, they'd have a different attitude towards it. There's a saying -- I think it's from the Torah, and I think I have it correctly -- that a woman who can spin and weave is more valuable as a wife than one who can cook and sweep. Setting aside the inherent sexism, the statement pretty much captures the value of clothing manufacture. We are all horrendously spoiled by the low-cost clothing we can buy in just about any location imaginable.

I bought an Orenburg shawl from a small vendor while at Rhinebeck. (It was not from Galina, whose shawls are about twice the price.) I expect it might be a "second" in terms of quality (perhaps explaining the lower price), but even still, it is a beautiful piece of knitting. And I am somewhat ashamed of how little I paid for it. Even at 2x the price, it would have been a steal.