Customers often ask me “how long did it take you to make that?” I never really have a good answer after all these years of art making and I still get flustered when I’m asked that question. My first response is to give them only the hands-on, production finish time which is usually the shortest amount of time it took to work on a piece. That isn’t the best answer to give because most of the time the customer is equating production time to price. In their minds, if I don’t take long enough to make a piece then the work shouldn’t cost as much. In addition, I’ve always been a fast worker, also not good for when customers are looking to justify a price! I’ve been thinking about how I spend my time and the actual time I put into my art. This stems from my winter work style vs. my summer work style and feeling guilty when I don’t have a lot of “hands-on” welding or structural work time clocked. I tend not to “count” all of the hours that I should including exploring production options,
meeting with the clients, necessary work errands for supplies or creative drifting looking for that inspirational spark that helps me rock the day. Most important I rarely consider the time I “crock pot” an idea. I’m quite the multi-tasker and due to the various mediums I like to work in, a 9 to 5 schedule is out of the question and keeping track of actual time I have into a piece is difficult and all the while I’m crock potting. Working on various pieces means works are usually in various stages of production. I have clean days when I meet with clients, finish painting, sewing, designing and wearing comfy clothes, dirty hot days when sparks are flying and the steel is being thrown around and I’m fully geared up. Evening’s I enjoy doing beadwork embellishments for my steel sculptures or finish work on the art quilts. My crock pot is pretty full right now. The Quilted Raven has a new art quilt challenge out (Iditarod Quilt Challenge, Mush On -12" x 10" deadline is Feb. 25th)
and I’m working on several new pattern designs that I’ve been totally inspired to create. There are some new fabric designs that I’ve been asked to design and with these freezin’-azz cold temperatures I’ve been liking all the computer and fiber work in the warm studio. In the evenings I finally finished the strands of beads for a table full of seal sculptures that are awaiting embellishments. I’ve been thinking about all of these projects and it is satisfying when a piece pops to the top to do the hands-on, art making part. What’s floated to the top of the crock pot is working on my sculpture for Katie Sevigny’s Gallery First Friday Artful Instrument show next week. I was able to pick up a couple of trumpets this week (thank you John!) to use in my sculpture and thankfully, the temps are decent to plasma cut and weld in the shop, though I still have no idea how long it will take me to make the piece!