Saturday, 26 December 2009

not a bad return

Karen Workman has kindly given me permission to share the contents of an email she sent me - here it is.
i've substituted her friend's name with ****** as i hadn't permission from [the friend] to publish it

Hi India
I just wanted to share with you something extraordinary! At theSouthern Felters Convergence held in Masterton NZ in Sep/Oct this year, I had my landskin wrap there that we made in June with you in Gore. I had taken it to USA and it had been in an exhibition of participants work in Massachusetts, and my friend had worn it to opening night at Haystack on Deer Isle in Maine. ****** ******, a felter from New Hampshire had worn it to her Convivium pot luck with 10 neighbouring women. I had thought she might like to wear it to WOW in Wellington so it was just lounging over the back of a chair, tucked in to a table in ******'s room. At the Bazaar, a visitor, an artist, spied it and asked about it. After ******* claiming that it was the Piece de Resistance of the convergence, she wanted to try it on. ****** brought her over to me. She was trying it on in the mirror, expressing her pleasure and I kept saying, it is not for sale and "I don't sell my samples". I put a price on it that i thought she wouldn't pay, and she paid it. So I have sold my 'sample' for $2000!! I thought you would like to know that I am excited about the method you taught us and Monica from our class has produced amazing pieces, especially with the pleating effect!
Thank you so much for giving us this gift!

that's about a 625% return on her workshop investment. wouldn't mind such returns myself!


  1. What a wonderful success story, mind you I still think there are some things you can't put a price on.

    Maybe that's why it's worth it to put too high a monetary price on something. That way you get the monetary return, some valuable recognition and the joy of a wonderful sale. Still the work itself is probably priceless.

  2. It is a wonderful story. And it just re-enforces my excitement to work in the Shakerag workshop with you. Not that I expect to make and sell a piece for such money. But to learn a technique that I hope will instill a touch of your beauty to my work.

  3. when artists get paid well, even serendipitously, it's good. good for both student and teacher.

  4. i'm inclined to think that pieces made in workshops shouldn't be entered into exhibitions or included in publications unless there's acknowledgment of where the technique came from - and certainly should not be submitted for competitions. Joei Rhode Island is on the right the pursuit of something to augment what she brings to her work.

    for me the idea of learning something new is so that you can then extend your own practice and take the technique further "in your own hand" - mind you there are some who simply replicate the work of the tutor [and i think they're missing an opportunity for themselves if they do that]

    the twist in the tail of this story is of course that Karen didn't want to part with her class sample; but one woman's "outrageous price" was another's "fair call"
    and she was kind enough to share the story!

  5. read this somewhere a while ago ,and I am sorry , cannot remember / acknowledge the source

    ' and the skill is earned by the maker's hand...
    a workshop will teach some techniques, but the magic will be revealed in the doing , the commitment , the mind of the maker and the continuous aware repetition...'

    and that is how you have made magic India..

  6. while i would never enter anything i made in a workshop (can't even imagine that) into a competition or sell it to an institution, selling to an individual seems to me to be different. am i splitting hairs? i believe in purchasing art (when i can) either from a gallery or from the artist in their studio. i guess the lesson here is anyone can be bought. on reflection, this seems a bit sad.

  7. what a wonderful story and great post!

  8. A lovely outcome.

    Your book has been on my wish list for months. Somebody must have been listening as I was given a copy yesterday. It is beautifully laid out and I am really looking forward to reading it cover to cover and experimenting with the contents. Its one of my favourite gifts this year, along with all the wool, silk and washboard :)

  9. thank you, 'r' for that piece of wisdom
    and i'm inclined to agree with Velma that there's a difference between the cases as you describe - i wasn't criticising Karen at all and hope my comments aren't taken that way

    thanks everyone for dropping by and adding to the conversation

  10. Splendid outcome for creator and purchaser - thanks for sharing that lovely story.

    The discussion above is timely for me, a subject I've been thinking about quite a bit lately. I recently learned a new dyeing technique at a workshop and brought home with me a whole stack of textiles to continue work on. From the moment those pieces dried, I've had the very strong feeling that the REAL challenge now was to make them utterly my own. But how? It is difficult to not be swayed when we are so inspired by a workshop's outcome!

    What has happened because of this is that I've had to push myself - push past a kind of copying, if you will - and find my voice with these pieces. I put them away for quite a long time & that helped, too.