We need to talk about paying artists and crafts people. And paying them properly.
This is a post I've had on the back burner for some time. I've been in two minds about posting it, but it needs to be said. Increasingly I'm being asked to work for nothing, and it has to stop.
If you want me to create a custom textile piece for a festival or community project, want me to teach at your event or want to attend on of my classes - you need to pay me.
While to many this will probably seem obvious -and as most of you generally end up here because you are looking for the things I can teach you, and appreicate what goes in to that, this means you, I just want to take a second to tell you how much I love you for that, how much it is appreciated - you know I couldn't keep doing this without wonderful people like you, so thank you! Sadly, however, it appears that to a few I'm still expected to work for free. So I'm going to tell you straight. This aint gonna happen. It's not cool to think I will do a days, weeks, month or more of work and not get paid for it.
I've trained and honed my skills for the past 17 years. I know what I'm doing and I'm shit hot at it. I'll make no apologies for asking you to pay me what I'm worth if you want my time and experience and knowledge.
And more importantly, you shouldn't begrudge it. If you don't value me, my work or what it gives/does for you, enough to pay for it, it's not for you.
People don't think twice about spending 40 quid to get their nails done or £50 on a night out, they will happily pay their hairdresser or mechanic or pumber but when it comes to anything creative or to gain new skills, suddenly someone's expertise are worth shit. You want something from someone, you pay for it. That's how it goes.
I am more than happy to create you a show stopping art piece for your event or teach you how to make your own clothes from scratch, on my expensive equipment, in my comfortable, furnished studio, where I am insured and trained to teach you, but never forget, this is my job. My full time, feeds my kids, pays my rent job. Same as you have. Same as you get paid for.
And of course I totally get that sometimes your budget might not stretch to these things, and that is cool. Really it is. I can't afford a lot of things I'd want to do or have, either - but that doesn't mean you get it cheaper, or free, it means you don't get it at all. Until you can pay for it.
As it goes my prices are extremely reasonable and comeptitive. Especially considering how much you get for your money. Almost all of my workshops included everything you need, from sewing machines to fabrics and notions, plus endless refreshments and all that is on top of everything I have to teach you.
My studio is fully equipped and Every. Last. Thing in it I've had to pay for, and maintain so it's safe and working properly for you, or have had to replace when it becomes worn or used up.
When it comes to my teaching I don't hold back. I give you everything, my classes aren't half arsed. I want you to do the very best you can do, I want to see you learn and grow so I put all my heart and passion for what I do into each and every one of you.
So yeah, I expect to get paid for that. And I'm worth every penny.
If you want to learn more about #payingartists campaign, launched in October 2016 take a look here >> http://www.payingartists.org.uk/2016/10/paying-artists-campaign-a-n-and-airs-exhibition-payment-guide-launched/
(Sew Swansea was one of the launch venues for the reading of the Paying Artists Manifesto)