Saturday, January 1, 2011

It's only string!

The cost of the materials used to create the work of art has no bearing on the cost of the finished piece. Consider the fact that a Rembrandt is just oil paint on canvas.

I've been trying to convey this message to the budding designers who buy their supplies from my company for many years. Artists create a tangible work born from their unique vision. The cost of that finished work of art has no correlation to the cost of the raw materials. This is so difficult for new artists to grasp. If you are paying yourself only to assemble pieces of metal or stone or wire.... you are nothing more than a machine.

This is a story I read many years ago but it has remained relevant throughout my life.

Thousands of years ago in a medieval village in a far away land a merchant was selling beautiful rugs he had woven with his own hands from humble materials. The rugs were unique in their design because the weaver had been taught the technique by his grandfather.

He had been practicing this craft since he was a young boy. His work was flawless and intricate, always a thing of beauty to behold and a treasure to pass on to your children.

One morning an arrogant old woman approached his stall in the marketplace. After silently studying his rugs for a long moment, she asked the price of one particularly beautiful rug. When he unapologetically told her the price for the elegant rug, she spat back at him, "What? It's only string!" 

He took the rug from her hands, untying strategic knots and unraveling the whole thing before her horrified gaze. "No madame... now it is only string."


Irene Helms Designs said...

Simply but well said!

Anonymous said...

The same way many of us feel about the Dentist putting ten dollars worth of metal and plastic/plaster etc, into our mouths. Or the way we feel about paying a seamstress the right percentage of the stores final price tag.
Nicely put!

mzungugirl in Tanzania said...

Thank you for this ageless wisdom in EVERY generation. Worn out and done with by the made in China mentality.

Gloria Allen said...

Absolutely a light bulb moment. 20 artist with the same supplies, It is what you are capable of designing and creating with the material that makes you standout and yes you should price accordingly. Article well said.