Over the years I have often thought wouldn't it be lovely to be able to stay at home and make craft to sell. But then the words of my mother come back to me, my mother was a trained tailor and dressmaker, she started making clothes out of necessity as her family had little money, and then the war meant there wasn't much available anyway. She started work in a tailors shop when she was 14 and learned her trade. As a child she made all my clothes, not appreciated by me at the time, I used to beg for 'bought clothes' like my friends. She also made and altered clothes for paying customers. She would work at her job during the day and then in the evening people would come to our house for fittings. I remember hearing the sewing machine humming away late into the night as I lay in bed. For her, dressmaking became a chore, something she had to do to make money. She wasn't making things she wanted to make, she was making things she had to make. She lost that pleasure in making clothes that she had since childhood.
When I was younger I didn't want anything to do with sewing AT ALL!! I couldn't even sew on a button. I have been know to use a paper stapler to staple up the hem on my jeans, (I was a punk before punks!) yes I was that bad. I would just hand everything over to my mother to do. After she died, my dad gave me her sewing machine. I attempted to make a top for myself, which of course was a complete failure. However, one day I found out about a local quilting group and from then on I was hooked. I do not try to achieve show standards, I don't have the patience for things to be perfect, and I like things to be a little 'wonky'. However they are made with love and are unique.
A few years ago, when hospital appointments and regular stays in hospital with my son made it too difficult and stressful to work full time I thought I would try making a few things to sell. I made a few bags out of recycled fabric, I never got around to doing anything with them, they have remained in a drawer ever since. I soon realised that I would never get the money for the hours put in. There are many very talented people out there who through sheer hard work do manage to make a living. However for every one of them, there are 100's of talented people who just can't make the sums add up.
Anyway, getting to the point of this post, my neighbour having retired is going down the path of trying to make money from her craft. She is renting a little craft stall for a year and asked me if there is anything I would like her to put on her stall, she will take 20% to cover her costs. I had also thought in the past of renting a little shop in a village nearby that became available and inviting local crafters to sell their goods there. Again the maths didn't add up, I would be giving up a part time guaranteed wage job for a full time not guaranteed living. All my summer would be spent sitting in a shop staring out at the beach. I'm not sure I would have lasted long, and like everyone else, I have bills to pay and a mortgage to keep a roof over our heads.
So I have dug out the bags I made years ago and I am trying to decide what price to ask for them. I have no idea. If I charged for the hours I put in I would never sell them. People often suggest I sell my quilts, but for the amount of hours that go into them, I would never be able to charge enough, and I'm damned if I am going to devalue the love and care that goes into each one. So they are made for my family, friends and my home.
I will go on line and see what bags are going for, if they sell....great, if they don't.... they will go back in the drawer. I will try to think of little things that don't take too long to make, as it would be a shame to miss this opportunity. I do not want to make the same things over and over, or make things to order, that would take all enjoyment out of it for me. Now I had better put my thinking cap on!
When I retire, it may be something I reconsider, but for now it will remain something I love to do for pleasure.
I would love to hear your thoughts on trying to make a living doing something you love.
My thoughts today are with all those who have lost loved ones through acts of terrorism where ever they are in the world