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Bungalowbill63

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Why is there no scroll saw work at craft shows?
I’ve been to a few shows and steam fairs this year and not seen anyone showing or selling good scrollsaw work in the craft section.
All I ever see is laser cut rubbish with scorch marks on the surfaces !, the people who sell this stuff just are not helping we should start asking for better.
Let’s get our work out there it’s so much better
Let’s hear what you think!!!
 

sunnybob

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How much are you going to charge for your vastly superior work?
And do you think the average show visitor will understand why you are three times the price just because yours doesnt have burn marks?

Only another woodworker will understand the difference, and he wont be buying from either of you.
CNC routers and laser cutters have destroyed the craft market as far as hand made wood is concerned
 

That would work

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Hi
I hate laser cut tat. No skill apart from using a mouse. Looks awful too!
I'm a DT teacher and whilst laser cutting offers a good route into cnc work I'm tired of seeing burnt ply everywhere.
Did I mention that I didn't like it?
 

marcros

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In my opinion:

Because they can't compete with mass produced rubbish, churned out by the dozen on a machine. The public don't know what they are looking at so frequently buy solely on price. Somebody attempting to factor even minimum wage labour into a piece has no chance, other than making a bit of a show of it and making kids door name signs whilst you wait.

I also note that a lot of scrollsaw work is catering for a decreasing size market. I see very few contemporary designs. By comparison, turners seem to adapt more quickly to fashions/trends.

Some of the top end scroll work, and I have in mind some intarsias I have seen are more suited to a gallery than a craft fair. I think that a craft fair has a low financial upper limit, which may vary from place to place, but whatever it is, the punters want something that should be 3x the price if the true cost was calculated.
 

Trevanion

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Not to be ignorant and I do understand that a lot of time and skill goes into Scrollwork but I cannot see how it can be in any way profitable. You can't do bog-standard stuff anymore like name tags and such because as you said, Lasers have pretty much killed that market. At the other end of the spectrum, you have to be very clever and artistic to make something that stands out and then in its own way is defined as art rather than craft (Like some of those Intarsias :shock: ). It's exactly the same as woodturning, sure, you could spend £20 on a wood blank and another 3 hours or so turning it and maybe get £25 for it, but if you really want to make money doing that you've got to be seriously abstract and make something that's a statement piece rather than a bowl to sit on the table to hold keys or something. Something like this:



People spend large amounts of money on their houses as it's in most minds "worth spending on" Most won't bat an eye at spending tens of thousands on Windows, Doors, Staircases, Kitchens, etc as they're the thing that gets noticed when someone comes in or looks at the house itself. People hardly ever notice what's on the walls or table unless it's something that really stands out and is unique. Being unique and looking unique are two totally different things too, it's easy to be unique, it's hard to have a unique look.
 

Phil Pascoe

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That's not really a realistic comparison - people know that unless they go doolally spending on their houses, they'll get the money back at some stage.
 

marcros

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I think if you can produce art rather than craft, there is a chance of making some money on it, providing you can sell it. A craft fair is not really the outlet for that. A gallery may be but if they take 50% commission and there is a lot of labour in the piece, then it is heading back down to the questionable payback zone.
 

Bungalowbill63

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In my post I also said show, just because it’s in the craft tent it’s not all about money there are lots of exhibitors who like to show their stuff and chat about their hobbies whatever it may be, so why not just exhibit.?
You guys could really steal the show!
 

CHJ

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I suspect the answer is to produce work to the standard of Fiona Kingdon, then it should attract the attention of appreciative clientele.

three-little-birds-shop-sq.jpg


Investing in your own web shop, using the money otherwise lost to gallery fees to promote it and possibly pay for someone to maintain it.

I was first exposed to her work at the Cressing Temple 2013 event.
 

Attachments

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As I mentioned in another thread, buying hand crafted anything is essentially conspicuous consumption: mass produced tat is the norm, so going for traditional, hand made anything only makes sense it is either a) the same price as mass produced tat,which is uneconomic, therefore impossible or b) nose bleedingly expensive but gives pride of ownership, or other conspicuous benefit. To make a living, or even a profit, you need to find a niche where your product can be marketed to the limited number of people who can afford such fripperies as hand turned salt and pepper pots.

You need a unique product, and unique story to compel Tarquin and Jocasta to part with their cash, in order to impress their dinner party guests. It probably has nothing to do with the level of skill of the product, either. I remember a tour around the modern art gallery in Madrid, next to the Prado - a few bits of wood, poorly finished, even more poorly joined together, and badly painted,but worth millions because of the story behind them.

A craft show probably isn't the right outlet, as it doesn't gather the right clientele.
 

Phil Pascoe

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I suspect you need chutzpah and cojones that most of us don't possess to sell garbage at inflated prices. There are different worlds in this Country, however - there was an article in The Times the other day on how to make the the most of your home if you had only £75,000 to spend. :D
 

sunnybob

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Bungalowbill63":k1xezr9w said:
In my post I also said show, just because it’s in the craft tent it’s not all about money there are lots of exhibitors who like to show their stuff and chat about their hobbies whatever it may be, so why not just exhibit.?
You guys could really steal the show!
I'm afraid it comes back to that same old answer.... Money.
To take a stand at a "craft" show of any size in the Uk is going to cost you a few hundred quid minimum.
Add the travelling to and from, the overnight accomodation if its a long way away or more than a day. basic food and drink, and you are rapidly approaching a thousand smackers, for ZERO return.

I agree with you that its sad, but its a fact of life.
 

Rorschach

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sunnybob":1c3d1e9v said:
Bungalowbill63":1c3d1e9v said:
In my post I also said show, just because it’s in the craft tent it’s not all about money there are lots of exhibitors who like to show their stuff and chat about their hobbies whatever it may be, so why not just exhibit.?
You guys could really steal the show!
I'm afraid it comes back to that same old answer.... Money.
To take a stand at a "craft" show of any size in the Uk is going to cost you a few hundred quid minimum.
Add the travelling to and from, the overnight accomodation if its a long way away or more than a day. basic food and drink, and you are rapidly approaching a thousand smackers, for ZERO return.

I agree with you that its sad, but its a fact of life.
That's why I stopped going to foreign shows, several days of my time for what turns out to be an expensive, short holiday. Sometimes being lucky and breaking even or making the same money I could have while staying at home.
I only do one UK show now, I still only make a small profit but at least I can drive and make a nice cheap little holiday out of it .
 

MJOriginals

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Hi
I can accept what’s been said I did a show two years running at the same venue the first year I sold about £50 worth ending up about £250 down but I decided to give it a go the second year just incase this year I came out with about £300 profit on all expenses and since then I have had 4 commission pieces from people who picked up my card
Also I did a Christmas fair last year ata little local hall 3 hrs on a Saturday afternoon 10 miles from the house and I took over £400 for a £10 table fee!!
Its also very difficult to know
I’ll probably do a few shows in the year but not many in terms of profit give out cards at these shows are the best value
Martyn
 

HappyHacker

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A couple of years ago while on holiday I went to a small craft show in the Cotswolds. There was someone there with lovely turned bowls and other items of various sizes and the most expensive was less than £50.00. He said he got the wood free from friends and it was more of a hobby than business, but even so with the amount of work involved he cannot have been making much if anything.

A friend worked for a high end joinery company. A client wanted a special box for a special bottle of wine as a birthday present for her husband. My friend designed a box and the company made it, she was delighted, it only cost her £10,000.
 

Phil Pascoe

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My friend'd daughter got an apprenticeship at an upmarket boatyard - she could scarcely believe it when one day a woman client had the handrails changed on her her yacht because she didn't like the colour. A mere £32,000. :shock: :D
 
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So am I the only person that quite likes the scorch marks on laser cut wood? I think it adds contrast and defines the border.

You can test your theory of whether people like or don't like the scorch marks by seeing if they are willing to pay more for the hand cut stuff vs the laser cut stuff.

I suspect you'll find the average person doesn't really care!
 

whatknot

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I suspect you are in a minority there, those that know its cnc cut or laser generally dislike it, those who like in general it don't know or care how its made

I am in the former camp, I hate cnc / laser cut junk
 

Claymore

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Hi,
The subject of Craft Fairs comes up on here many times and as i used to do craft fairs for a long time in the 90's and sold sod all while a woman on the stall next to mine usually sold most of her own bars of soap, One day i had a brainwave and went home and made a plastic mould (I had my own machines from my old career) and the following week gave it to her....the following week she arrived with loads of new fancy soap bars and sold out because they were designed to look like the Greenman and women which are always popular at craft fairs and she ordered another 50 moulds so from that day on i never hired a table/stand at the craft fairs and concentrated on making custom moulds for here and other soap makers I did that for 6 years before my hands got too bad but i made enough money from them to have my workshop built.
The thing you should be doing is, 1: don't try and sell your work on Ebay or personally don't sell any of it online.....because you will sell very few but they are ideal for others to check out and copy your designs and basically letting you do the hard work designing and developing techniques and they jumping on the bandwagon usually for less than 12 months until they get bored and do the same thing with someone else's work. 2: Don't tell everyone how you make them or your trade secrets and where you get materials etc....I know we like to try and help others and i do the same but again there will be people who rather than do their homework and design their own stuff and you will see your orders dry up... My mate was doing garden ornaments for 30 years and then after explaining online all of his trade secrets his business lasted 12 months and he stopped doing them as he couldn't compete with the others doing copies of his own work and went back to being a landscape gardener. 3: Don't do a craft fair and sit there waiting for the punters to come to you, instead you target your customers away from Craft Fairs, do your homework and find a local business/attraction tourist venue and visit to see first if they are selling anything in their shop and then go home and design something that will fit in with the venue.....don't go over the top on time/expense but make something a punter would buy from there as a souvenir. Don't make anything that can be mass produced either just something that is exclusive to that single place. Once you have created something then if you can send them an email displaying your work and ask them is it something they would like to sell at their venue, this is a great idea because if you go into the venue armed with your work the chances are is the owner won't have time to spare to discuss your work plus you will find it much easier to tell them the prices....believe me i once went into a shop in Haworth and made a total pineapple of myself when i couldn't remember my salesman that i had spent days rehearsing and looked very unprofessional fortunately i did manage to sell them my work and made quite a bit by selling them 3d plaques with Haworth mainstreet on with the cobbles ect the hard bit was actually carving the design and then after making a slicone mould all i had to do was cast them in resin.
4: Once your selling at one venue look for others that are local again with their own unique theme, and then create another item to suite them and do as above, yes you will find them who don't want to buy your work but 9 out of 10 of them will love your work.
5: As far as costing this is a complicated thing to do and you will never earn enough weekly to live on BUT you can easily make a few grand to pay for new kit or holidays etc its all money you wouldn't have if you sat on your buttocks watching TV. With my own stuff I sold sod all on Ebay etc but once people see your handywork you will get commissions for custom work and that's where the big money is, and you will soon realise what things are good sellers so concentrate on those but also keep coming up with new designs for example if its a wooden dog of a certain breed, pick a rare breed and then contact the Breeders websites again once one of them sees your work they will all want one. I spend more time thinking up new ideas and designing than i actually do cutting wood up and that's where you will earn your big money. Last year I did a life sized head of a Shetland Pony for a local Horse breeders daughter, i ended up getting orders for 6 more all at £500+ but as i am fully booked up until next July they don't mind waiting and i will never post them online to keep them exclusive.
Right my apologies for the long winded post and hopefully I didn't come across like I am preaching to ya as I'm not its just I hope it gets some of you more motivated so you can earn so good money without the need to copy others work etc, I almost forgot the reason for targeting your local venues/shops/museums etc is simple no postage costs you can deliver them yourself.
Hope this helps ya and sorry for not being very active on here at the moment but still playing catch up with my orders from last year.
Cheers
Brian
Ps forgot to say, one of the best things to sell your work is if you can design your own patterns and also do custom patterns, Phill on here taught me how to use Adobe Illustrator and instead of tracing designs i can make a pattern from any picture/photo. I wouldn't say its easy software to learn but you only need to learn the bits that enable you to make your own patterns plus you don't need the very latest software the older versions work just as good providing its compatible with your own computers software and I bought my Illustrator software used on Ebay for £12.00 new it would have been hundreds. Right best stop waffling lol
Cheers :)
 
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