One of the myths with which a craftsperson who is also a business person must abide is that they do all that they do for love. After all, it’s art in a way, and artists are driven by an inner force that must be aired, or so they say. People seem to imagine a Geppetto-like existence. You remember the puppet maker who fashioned Pinocchio. He toiled away in his little shop in isolation.
It is true that a craftsperson doesn’t have a boss. He or she has as many bosses as there are customers. There are deadlines and budgets. A business must follow the iron law: it must take in more money than it pays out. This softens somewhat when the craftsperson shelters in his or her craft. The challenge is to let it set the priorities and not the customers. PAlso, a business doesn’t have to be dog-eat-dog. I, for instance, try to conceptualize how I can and do contribute to the lives of my customers. Also, every project is an extension of my life. All this is to say in monetary terms that the bottom line cannot be the final word every time.
Oddly, the hardest thing for me is to advertise. It just seems like bragging. Still, people must know what I’m up to if I want to engage their interest and imagination. Today’s image is of my furniture in the window of the Berkeley Art Works in Martinsburg, WV. It is for display purposes.