It’s been a super busy few weeks, a trip to Seattle for Spring Break, and two birthdays, but, finally, I finished three full garb ensembles for the Renaissance Festival and took them out to play. I think I might not touch my sewing machine for about a month–that’s a lie, I’m already thinking about the next project (Grelle Sutcliff purse FTW).
As I’m thinking about the new things I want to make, I keep wandering back to a bead, wire, ribbon, and flower crown my niece bought for herself at the faire. As I’m wont to do, I examined it when I got home to see exactly how it was constructed. After a few minutes of careful scrutiny, I realized something very important: I could have made this. It was bought for $25 and I could have probably made three for that price. I’m not vicariously regretting the purchase and I buy things from the faire to support the vendors, but it makes you think about how far you’ve come as a craftsperson.
I had that same thought while visiting Pike’s Place Market. They had beautiful paintings and flowers and fish, but then there was the jewelry stalls. I’ve been making jewelry off and on since I was about fourteen, so I feel like I have a pretty good handle on a couple different methodologies and styles. Seeing this sea of gemstones and metal, clay and wood, baubles and broaches, all I could think to do was the math. That earring set going for $50: lampwork glass beads go $10 for a half pound, get a 50 pack of dangle earring findings for $5 (or make your own), wrap some wire, etc, and I saw myself putting these exact same earrings in my ears, my mom’s ears, my sister’s ears, my niece’s ears, and all three of my friend Vicky’s piercings for less than the price of this one set from this one vendor.
Now, I know you’re not paying for materials when you buy these things. You’re buying the time, the expertise, and the creativity. It’s a weird downside to getting better at this sort of thing, though. I can look at the pirate coat my friend Paige made and go, “oh, yeah, that’s a pretty simple pattern, think I’ll make one, too,” but a lot of the mystery is gone. The sense of wonder at this amazing thing that someone created becomes tempered as you start to see the strings on the puppets.
It’s a splendid, awesome, bittersweet progression from caterpillar to some kind of craft/sewing/needlework master butterfly.
I kind of love it.