Okay I understand artists charging more than mass producers for items. But your prices are a little high. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.


I’ve said this a hundred times. Other artists have said this. People who aren’t even artists but care about others being able to support themselves from their work have said this. This is my job where I make my full time living. My prices are the way they are for a reason. And even if it weren’t my full time job I am performing a specialized skill producing luxury goods that takes time, money, and years to perfect. I deserve to be compensated for that work even if the money doesn’t go to basic survival necessities.

My products may be out of your price range, which is okay. That just means you aren’t my target market. But that doesn’t mean they are overpriced. And that doesn’t make it okay to walk around telling others what they should charge. There are a hundred resources on why artists price the way they do out there, please read the following and take some time to educate yourself:

- This is a “simple” forumla for pricing.  It does not include any specifics and simply includes “expenses” as a lump category.

- A more in depth guide to pricing.

- Here is a post from Magweno which does a good job of summing up all the “hidden” costs in crafting. It also includes a discussion on whether the perceived value of art should be taken into consideration. It doesn’t even take into account sales, self employment, or income taxes. 15% of my income alone goes to self employment tax. 15-30% (depending on how much I made that year) will go to income tax.

- If you want to spend some money to learn, there is an entire book on ethical pricing.

- Another blog post from Mill Girl who writes further on what goes into pricing, arts and crafts as a luxury item, what you support when you purchase handmade, and who/what you harm when you devalue handmade.

- A tumblr post which highlights the pitfalls of people who undervalue art and their negative impact on the entire art community. This includes both artists undervaluing themselves and clients undervaluing artists.

- Here’s an article on pricing as a freelancer and industry standards. For the record I consider myself under the category “Someone with a few years of experience and a good portfolio: $50 - $85+/hr.” I can promise I am charging nowhere near $50 an hour, and close to $25 since I supplement my income with “passive income” from pattern sales.

And that is just a few of the resources out there available. I sincerely hope you will read them and stop spreading negative attitudes on pricing.

These are excellent resources, thank you!

(Of course by these standards… I am still way under-charging…  But I’m still learning to balance “what I want to get paid” with “what I’d pay for something”.  Which may actually be the wrong way to look at things when I’m no longer selling in a convention environment…  Argh.)

And after I spent all that time on trying to figure out semi-appropriate pricing, the result is lovely geeky classic arcade-inspired Tron lightcycle pixel pendants! Whew.

They also currently both happen to be available.

Attempt at a Vaguely Informative Pricing Post

So many people just starting out on selling their wares ask about pricing.  This December I’ll have been selling on Etsy for 7 years and I’m afraid I still don’t have any answers.  But I thought I might try to figure it out (more or less) this time around and report my somewhat random findings in the hope it may help anyone.  Ever.  Someday.

I had a great need to do something Tron-related and relatively simple. So, back to basics I went, taking a look at the original Tron arcade game sprites. Yes, those would do.


Then for some reason I decided that I wanted to actually pay attention to what I was doing. I don’t know why; I don’t usually pay attention to anything other than days spent working. Certainly not hours. This was a simple project, though, and I was curious.

I did a demo first to figure out exactly how I wanted to put everything together.


Treating this as a prototype allowed me to figure out some exact details, like where and how best to start and end, and exactly how to get the best effect while maintaining strength for both the “bail” and the dangly shiny-glowy death trap of a light trail.  This “first go” allowed me to streamline the process for the “second take”; it just so happened that this one turned out perfectly well, so no mistakes to fix.


Then I set up for the second go and started paying attention to what I was doing.  I have to admit, that was really annoying—but informative.  So let’s break this down.

Pattern design time - 5 minutes-ish.  Okay, so I wasn’t paying strict attention at this point because I’m used to just making the pattern, but it went smoothly and relatively quickly after deciding which angle I wanted to approach this from.
Set-up time - 5:39 to decide on the colors/finishes of the beads I wanted to use, actually getting them set up, and getting the thread ready.  3…2…1…
Actual construction time from start to finish (excluding all breaks) - 2:22:18, and that’s subtracting a couple of minutes for all the sips of tea or water plus time taken to pause or start video. Hydration and catching up on shows you never had the opportunity to watch while they were running, very important things.  Though sometimes I do prefer music.
Defects (broken beads, etc.) - 0 (whoo!)
Approximate cost of materials - Technically, the beads used are somewhat “common”, and would cost under a dollar! Under one dollar! But guess what? You don’t buy seed beads individually! You buy them in packs! And in my case, with shipping (which is, depending on the supplier, roughly equivalent to gas to get to a store which actually offers everything)! Not a lot of threads are available by the foot, either; and since there are dangly bits, there are two kinds of thread involved, one much pricier than the other.  But all in all, let’s just say ~$2 for the sake of the maths.
Years spent honing craft - Well over 6, making constant revisions and improvements. I began experimenting with beadwork in 2008, graduating from Shoichi to dragon bracelets and beyond. (“Prosperous first son” indeed.) I’ve developed a number of structures and techniques to make my pieces both extremely flexible and sturdy, and have a long history of satisfied clients.  I’m quite happily still learning and improving, as well, wandering into more complicated and time-consuming projects just for the sake of finding out whether I can accomplish them, and then figuring out exactly how.


And now let’s tackle the “final suggested value” stuff. Minimum wage in the state in which I live (Massachusetts, by the way) is currently $8 per hour. That’s a little over 2 hours and 32 minutes of work, so about $20.27 for the work alone. Add the cost of materials and you get, rounding up for the sake of ease, $22.

But I’m a skilled worker. I’ve been at this job for a while, continually improving and showing evidence of it. There’s also a lot of forced “off time” due to the whole needing my hands to function and not being in pain all the time. Plugging numbers into the Craft Calculator, $22 would only be a touch under 30% profit. Under 30% profit. I’m neglecting to mention a last little step I always take to reinforce threads and make absolutely certain that these will hold up to normal wear. (Though if anyone were to want them as key chain decorations rather than pendants, I would have to do much more extensive reinforcement which would essentially wind up making them each single-sided, but also taking more time and effort to complete, therefore costing more.)


All of these factors make me very confident in $25 per pendant being a decent introductory price, leaving them each double-sided. After all, I’m including the cord. Now that I’ve got the pattern and the method down, I can also offer to make custom colors on commission with $25 being the base price and working from there depending on the relative price of the bead colors desired.  Admittedly it may be a lower price than what I “should” be charging, but this is a “testing the waters” phase.

I hope this has been in any way slightly informative.

Legacy of the Nameless Queens, choker/bracelet and earrings set.  Well beyond our cultural memory, there was a long line of queens—warriors and scholars, from “proper” and learned to rough and feral—who abandoned their names to take on their country; and with it, a symbol of their status. The Legacy jewels have been stolen, bartered, hidden and, if the stories are true, were once melted down only to miraculously re-form in the hands of a True Queen. Clearly the legends differ from region to region, becoming more grandiose as time passes. The fact remains, however, the Legacy jewels do remain intact, perhaps waiting for their next queen…

So this… took… a long time.  I implore you to head to the gallery page for more pictures and information.  Or perhaps you are one of the True Queens who will claim this as your right?

If I am ever to have a gravestone, then I fully expect it to say: “I just wanted to do something simple.”

Just a Little Early Reminder…

We’re about one month away from the annual generic winter holiday 20% off sale at the Shiny Things Etsy shop, when everything outside of the Made to Order Shiny category will be 20% more appealing.  Or something.

Please plan accordingly.  Licking something to claim it is not appropriate.

This article was just brought to my attention.  And since I’ve heard a lot of Etsy shop owners have had massive drop-offs over the past year… I think this may be part of why.  A summary from the article itself:

In the fall of 2013, Etsy shifted their loyalty from the maker to the shareholder as it made plans to further scale its business model. How did this change things?

Because Etsy’s policy changes happened at the maker’s expense, many of the people who were once making a living off of their shops are now seeing a fraction of the sales. The difference between Etsy, and let’s say, Wal-Mart just got a whole lot smaller. At the core, Etsy changed its mission. No longer is it a website for makers of one-of-a-kind, original goods. Instead, it has become yet another website for the mass-produced and cheaply made goods that satisfy our insatiable culture of mindless consumption.

Bold text is my own doing.  The advice is frighteningly slender and rather sigh-inducing, but being aware of this seems rather important to start.

The truth of the mage’s familiar (at least in Rideum) is a little different than what standard tales will tell. It’s not a “real animal”, and it’s not some entity disguised; but a mage’s familiar is certainly a companion that they keep with them when they are to take a long journey away from home. It is their connection, their reminder, and indeed many times in the past it has served as the power to bring them back home. When a mage is either selected to, or elects to, use their gifts for some benefit of family or kingdom, then their family (and not merely by bloodline relations; magic cares not for blood, but for heart) gathers together to construct a familiar. No matter what skills they may have individually, from youngest to eldest, they contribute a part of building the familiar so that every stitch, every bit of paint, every bead so very carefully placed will be bound together with one will: to return the mage safely home. Some familiars have been stuffed with patches of clothing from every family member, while others have been decorated with beads from necklaces passed down many generations. Still others are simply constructed of socks and sawdust. (Magic cares not for material wealth, either; the value of will cannot be counted in coins.)

Between you and me, I’m fairly certain this little familiar will get the journey of a lifetime—and safely see their mage home.

The dangers of a writer-artist, eh?  More information and more/larger pictures over at the gallery page.  This lovely creature also happens to be available to a journeying mage.

Anyone else ever have those moments where they work out a pattern all carefully and then cut out the fabric and mark everything and then somewhere along the line decide that you want to try this but in another way and a totally different style and then endlessly complicate things for yourself well before you realize you were mistaken to even begin in the first place?


Am I alone.

As the weather grows colder, summer coming to an end, the colors change with them. Even on the coldest nights, this is a reminder of red wine under dusk skies and a flash of silver moonlight.

Also known as, I wanted to do something *actually simple* while playing with color and shape and texture, and so… this! I love the rich reds and blues (and loathe the coming cold).

It’s also currently available.