We all realize the time and cost of materials that goes into hooking or punching a rug-sized piece of art. We also know that the market very much devalues what we put into it. Most of us who sell our work, do so on consignment, which brings 50-60% of the retail price back to us, making the issue worse.
Selling retail is for the very special artists who are willing to market themselves to galleries or gift shops or you have your own retail space. Even then, the gallery takes their cut as you sell your work "wholesale" or on consignment again and there is a great deal of effort to find the gallery where your work fit. Even in many Art League galleries, fiber arts are not appreciated, or downright excluded as a "craft". Renting retail space in a good location is usually out of the question because of the overhead. And would you rather be a shopkeeper or an artist. If you choose artist you will pay someone (more expense) to watch the shop.
So, let me tell you how I have been successful (so far) selling my work for what I consider a fair price.
I am fortunate enough to live in an area with tourists most of the year. I live between Savannah, and Hilton Head, SC. We have a small town with a dedicated "Arts district" and quaint gift shops and galleries. I do not try to sell the big ticket items, but I make small pieces that can fit in a suitcase easily as a souvenir. I hook subjects that are historical places of interest or beach and palm trees that both the tourists and the local residents find interesting.
I frame them in photo frames, so they are usually 4x6 or 3x5, sometimes 5x7 inches. The frames are purchased from thrift shops...charity shops for animal shelters, Goodwill, etc. At Goodwill I pick up nice frames for as little as a $1 on a regular basis and won't spend more than $3. Small photo frames are often given to charity as we become used to having our photos on our phones. Except for school pictures, when was the last time you bought a frame for a real photo? Even at Christmas, a gift photo is usually framed unless it is from a very frugal friend or family member or Scrooge.
My style is a little Monet-ish so unusual colors will show up. I do this on purpose to use scrap wool and the pieces are so small that I use scrap linen that may barely fit on my frame.
The cost of the piece is really in my time. But I chose to hook what I like and enjoy the process and consider it my down time. I hook in a 3 or 4 cut but I am not fine shading and usually an hour or two in front of the TV, I can finish a piece in 2-3 days. It is just time I would be watching my favorite shows anyway. I do not put pressure on myself to finish pieces. Well, maybe a little if a big holiday is coming up.
I do sell them to a gift shop on consignment but with the quantity they sell and the little effort I have in each, I am happy with my return. The littlest pieces they sell for $45 retail. Consider that against a pillow, for instance, that they may try to sell for $75-$100.
Certainly, I could not make a living this way, but if and when I ever retire from my day job, I could spend more time and tuck away a few extra pennies this way. Just thought I would share this with you. Next post I'll show you how to frame a hooked piece in a photo frame. Meanwhile , here are a few of my pieces that are in new homes somewhere between here and the Canadalands.