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how do you answer?

Posted by danaoh (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 16, 07 at 10:36

When someone at a craft show asks you how you it is made?

I am doing my first of the year this Saturday. I am taking record bowls, but more importantly, recycled wool sweater purses. YOu all know how they are done and anyone with a computer can check it out.

But do you tell them? What do you say?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: how do you answer?

You just reminded me of the guy that bought one of everything I made one year so he could take them home, take them apart and duplicate them...sort of a backwards compliment, but at the time I wasn't amused...
What I would do with your purses is say if he/she would like to leave their name and address and payment you will send them the pattern for $5 or $3 or whatever...that way you don't seem like you are unhelpful but you don't have to give your idea away either.
My 4 cents...
Suzan J

RE: how do you answer?

I get that alot ,too. I'm polite , but very vague .Sometimes I even add humor to avoid the question .
EX : If someone looks at my stained glass suncatchers and asks "How do you solder on those rhinestones ?" I'd say
"It's really my own technique - There's just too many steps to describe it , but I manage". Don't give away any info (unless you want to ) - you'e not obligated to tell anyone your secrets !

RE: how do you answer?

Now come on girls - You know we have all done this. You see something you have nver seen before and you put on the dumb look and questions to follow to see if they will bite.

RE: how do you answer?

I honestly don't Tammy ..... I don't like it when people ask me - so I don't ask anyone. ( Alot of times I can figure it out on my own ~~ LOL )

RE: how do you answer?

There are questions that should be answered and questions that do not deserve an answer. And only you can decide which is which.

We get questions like that at just about every show.
"Where do you get your supplies?" "How do you bend the steel?" Those type of questions get the same answer.... a smile. Nothing is said. Just a smile. They want to copy your work! And we're gonna be afraid of insulting them? A smile says more than a paragraph.

RE: how do you answer?

It's amazing how competitive these things are. Do you all feel it's getting to be more so? Or maybe I'm just hearing more stories recently about folks trying to copy other people's crafts?

I don't usually ask exhibitors those sorts of questions unless I want to know something more for historic reasons-- there was a photographer who did some great hand-tinted architecture prints and I'd asked where a particular statue was located. He just did the Smile Technique.

I doubt many folks would hop right on a plane to Europe, photograph the same statue and implement his techniques, but I can now understand his desire to protect things.


Here is a link that might be useful: My crafting/thrifting/vintage decorating blog

RE: how do you answer?

I would only answer within reason. I wouldn't stand there and give a step by step process because most likely those people just want to copy.

I guess it depends on the person and what type of feeling I got about them. I mean some people are just geuinely interested in knowing how someone else is able to create something. I see that look all of the time with family and friends. They really DON'T know how and wouldn't even attempt to make it if I told them step by step, you know.

I think people are getting a bit crazy on the whole copying thing. People can't seem to even take a general idea and expand on it without someone claiming they copied. I mean, just think if someone put a copyright on tole painting or crocheting and only THEY could do it! There has to be some bending in there or there won't be any new crafts for crafters to try!

RE: how do you answer?

thanks for all the answers - you guys are great.

I am not worrying about copying, because basically that is what I am doing. I found information on the internet and decided to experiment. I just feel that in explaining it, sometimes it sounds easier than it is and they would question my price ($25) for the purses. Maybe I will say something like - "all kinds of information is on the internet".

Guess I really can't say -
None of your beeswax
That is for me to know and you to find out

But - wouldn't that be fun?

RE: how do you answer?

I've asked this question of crafters, artists and artisans. I don't think it is necessarily an affront or an attempt to copy your work.

If you post a new project you have finished on a forum like this one, I may ask how you did it because I want to make one for myself. I'll totally own the idea stealing in that case, but I think that is why we come here - to share ideas and learn new things.

I would not ask someone who was selling their work how it was made with the intention of reproducing it. That seems a little unethical. I'd probably stick more to -wow, I love your work, and I've always wanted to try stained glass, could you recommend a good beginner class.

But if I asked you how something was made that I intend to purchase, it is because I want to tell my friends about it - and possibly send you more business. (Check it out guys, I used to have this Van Halen album but the artist used heat to re-shape it. Or, do you see how these links are all flattened on the sides, I watched the jeweler as she soldered together the little rings and then hammered them by hand to give it this texture, it makes it really comfortable to wear. Or, I love this necklace - they use old maps to make the beads - this one is where I grew up.)

The other reason I would ask is that I want to know what something is made of - is it a metal/fiber I am allergic to. Could I gift this to one of my vegan friends, etc.

I think you need to be prepared with a legitimate answer to that question. If someone smiled benignly at me but said nothing or said "oh, you know, a little of this, a little of that" you would probably lose my business.

In the record bowls example, I think it is perfectly acceptable to say I start with old albums that are too scratched to play anymore and then use heat to reform them into vessels. If someone is asking you what temperature to bake them at, or how long it takes, or what sort of objects you used to shape them - you can say it is a trade secret or even, the basic directions are online. I used a lot of trial and error to get mine to come out the way I like them.

So, basically I am saying, be patient with us inquisitive shoppers. Our intentions may be honorable after all :)

Here is a link that might be useful: craftfetish blog

RE: how do you answer?

craftfish - I loved your answer

the basic directions are online, but a lot of trial and error to get it the way I wanted - Is a great answer - Thanks

RE: how do you answer?

Craft show was Saturday. Wish I had had that question. There wasn't enough traffic for anyone to be really interested. I only made $76, table was $20 and I was beside the Pampered Chef lady and I spent $36 with her. Most people there said they wouldn't come back. Lots of vendors and some booths had crafts spelled with a p if you know what I mean.

Did sell 2 purses, including the one that I almost took down because I didn't like it. No questions about the price $25. Looking forward to show on 10th and I have plenty of stock for that one. Of course I am making more purses, I have about 5 more sweaters felted so I will do those. Looks like I will be giving purses as gifts this holiday season.

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