You Should Sell Those: A Play in Three Short Scenes, with Commentary

For any artist or crafter to consider…

Catbird Quilt Studio

Scene 1
[Setting: small town library reading room. Characters: paint artist and quilter.]
Artist: You should sell those!
Quilter: No one would pay me what they’re worth.

Scene 2
[Setting: quilt shop. Characters: quilt shop clerk and quilter.]
Clerk: For the women who make the quilts we sell, it’s really a labor of love.
Quilter: If I’m going to put that much love into a quilt, I’ll give it to someone I love.

Scene 3
[Setting: quilter’s living room. Characters: professional musician and quilter.]
Musician: You should sell those!
Quilter: No one would pay me what they’re worth.

The End


All three of these scenes have happened to me in the last few weeks. I relate these to you because there’s been a lot of discussion recently about the value of hand-made crafts. I’ll use quilting as my frame of reference, but the discussion surely applies just as well to…

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4 thoughts on “You Should Sell Those: A Play in Three Short Scenes, with Commentary

  1. Steve Morris

    It’s interesting to hear how you integrate your economist’s understanding with your artist’s understanding. Most people approach this topic from one or other standpoint, rarely both.

    Blogging is similar – we write for no monetary return whatsoever, despite the fact that we create (some) value for our readers. Who would pay to read a blog, when the internet is free? Yet we continue to blog, which indicates that we derive some non-financial reward from our endeavours.

    The question is not, how much is someone going to pay for your quilts? The question is, how much would you have to be paid to never quilt again?

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Interesting question — not one I have an answer to right now. I think I could transfer my understanding and skills to some other field, but not readily and not happily.

      Blogging — it is a puzzle, isn’t it? If you count how many words I’ve put in print over the last few years, it’s equivalent to a number of books. But as you say, no one will pay me for them. THIS IS TRUE though: I get to choose what to write and when to publish. No one edits or censors me, except me. There is value in that.

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  2. Sheryl

    Both the post and the comments are thought-provoking. I once had a friend who always wanted to overlay the issue of design over any discussion of crafts. She would make the argument that people would pay a lot for something that was well-designed.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I think that is true, to a point. But also true is that a lot of people aren’t very discriminating on design. I made the comment to Jim Fetig (at my other blog) that it’s like me buying an expensive bottle of wine. I don’t know enough about wine and also don’t perceive the differences enough to spend more for wine than I do. So maybe it is that *some* people will pay well for good design, just as *some* people will pay well for good wine. Just not me.

      And YES, the comments are GREAT! Thanks for adding yours.

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