So, I get to Stevens (a neighborhood I have a love-hate relationship with), drop off my stuff, find parking, set up, and check out the digs. I have my coffee and am ready to do conduct some research. And then, I notice that just about all of the handmade goods in the surrounding area are priced in the $5-10.00, $10-20.00 range. I’ve priced according to the time invested + my materials + overhead x 2 = a low-ball retail price by any measure, consistent with my cut through a gallery. This places my wares well above what anyone here is probably willing to spend, as what they seem to be here for is free entertainment and food trucks. Over the course of the weekend, I drop my prices by about a third, to the point at which I really feel that I can’t go any lower without underselling. Stevens Community, God bless ya!
Outdoor Craft Fairs; not exactly what I was hoping for, but good as a learning experience.
The conclusion I’ve drawn from this little test run is that the venue was certainly not the right one for what I have to offer, and that the average hipster craft-fair goer may not be the best audience for my work. Don’t get me wrong, there are problems on my end as well, I have a great deal of revision ahead of me to improve upon my line. I find I’m uninterested in selling on Etsy for similar reasons. Too commercial, not enough soul, not enough of a purposeful, crafted experience. I want to create some kind of ritualized transaction, something meaningful to both me and you as the buyer. I want it to be about relationship building. But for the time being, these events are golden opportunities to trouble-shoot my craft, pitch and presentation.
Zoltar knows all; the crystal ball says that things will become clearer from here on in.
As far as ritual and art are concerned, It doesn’t have to be something seismic. It could be something small and subtle that does it’s work gradually over time, like the effect of wearing a talisman. I think we require ritual in our lives to orient ourselves to where we are in our lives, how we relate to others, and how our suffering can become something of use to us on our journey. This is alchemical at it’s core, turning nothing into something of value. In researching these relationships, I came across this passage;
“Certainly there are many differences between what we ordinarily call art and what we ordinarily call ritual. Even when they share the same materials, these are handled quite differently… Still, one could argue that what people were trying to do with rituals in ancient times (when such rituals were taken more seriously than today, at least in the secular world) bears some important similarity to what artists are trying to do when they use, for example, blood as a medium today.
Sure, as Freeland observes, ritual is supposed to reinforce the community’s proper relation to God, and the ritualized or ritual-like performances of contemporary art are not intended to do this… [but] Maybe they want to dig down into something more primordial, something that goes back before civilization as we know it.” –Tom Leddy, Aesthetics Today