I have been sitting on this news for several months because the item I made was a Christmas gift. I am often asked to make piece for people but then when I tell how much it will cost most people back out because they can buy it cheaper on WISH or in a store that gets most of its things from CHINA. While that is true they don't realized the item they are buying is of poor quality (sometimes not even real glass), is not reinforced and will likely fall apart in a few years. It can be very frustrating! People often tell me to sell my work but it is for these reason I won't. I hear horror stories of glass artist trying to sell things on esty or at craft fairs and getting rude comments about the cost of their work or people trying to renege on the agreed upon price once the piece is made.
I recently spoke to a friend who complained after going to a craft fair that the price of a hand woven basket that she felt was ridiculous pricey. I kindly but firmly told her that her reaction was the reason I have never tried to sell my work, which she often suggests I do. The lack of appreciation of the cost of the materials and then the time it took the artist to make the basket was not being taken into her consideration. Her other comment of "I could have made that myself" also irritated me because realistically she probably couldn't. Sometimes if an acquaintance asks I will teach them to make their own stain glass, but that too has proven to be troubling! I take them to the glass store and they purchase all the supplies (most are quite shock at the cost of supplies) and then come to my home studio where I will instruct them, allow them to borrow all my tools, and give hints on how to construct their window. Most people finish the project but aren't happy with it as it is not perfect (that is where experience comes in) or they get frustrated and quit and I end up with unfinished pieces in my glass room. Currently I have had one project sitting for over a year in my glass studio still waiting for the person to finish it up. She has sort of hinted that she wouldn't mind if I finished it for her, but I won't do that as it is not my project. This might sound a little mean but I often feel like people take advantage and not once has anyone offered to reimburse me for my time. I willingly give up my time to teach, at no charge, but I am not doing the work for them. It is a very fine line to walk. I often have to remind people that if I hadn't taught them they would have had to pay for a class which can range over $100 and still have the cost of supplies, depending on the project they want to do.
I thought I would show you the process and break down the price of what it cost to make a stain glass piece:). These prices won't include the hours I spent working on the piece just the supply cost!
I was contacted by a friend to make a stain glass window for her partner. She wanted it to be a picture of their dog, Toby, who is about 14 years old. I asked her to send me several pictures of their dog so I could find someone to do a pattern (this is not my strongest area).
This is often the hardest part of designing a window as glass colors do not always come in the colors you want to match exactly the coloring of what ever you are aiming for. The hardest part was finding the right color for the brown and gray of the dog. Once all the glass were selected, I also needed to purchase copper foil, solder and zinc framing.
Total cost $ 100 approx for all supplies. Later I had to order hanging hooks at $ 5 a set
Next comes the best part putting it all together. Every glass artist does it differently but this is my way.
Cost of wood $20 approx.
The final process was to ship the item. After again asking for the best shipping company used by other artists, I went to the local UPS store and had them box the wooden case in two separate boxes. A smaller box to hold just the wooden case and then it was added to a larger box with packing supplies. This is to make sure that if the outside box is somehow damage the inside box is still secure.
Cost of shipping the item with insurance approximately $65
So all told for this 15X15 glass panels the total cost was approximately $205 and that is not including the time and skill that I put into it. Since this was for a very dear family friend I made the piece for the cost of supplies only and I was pleased to do so because I knew they would appreciate it!
The piece arrived safely and without a scratch and given to her partner as a Christmas gift. They loved it! It is nice to know it was appreciated. :)
I often make special pieces for people I love without charge but I usually pick the design and use the glass I have in my shop and give as gifts. But mostly I make glass for myself because I enjoy it!