Gale Zucker says there are ways to turn what you love into what you do for a living. She should know. She is the co-author of Craft Activism: People, Ideas, and Projects from the New Community of the Handmade and How You Can Join In, with Joan Tapper.
Zucker cautions people to keep their day job while they explore marketing their crafts. But she says it can be done.
The first step is to figure out the value of your craft. She said she has talked with people who spent 20 hours or more on something they loved, and $50 or $100 on supplies, and then are delighted when someone says, "oooh, you should sell that!"
"Then, the person says, 'I bet you could get $20 for that!'" Zucker said.
There is information in the book about how to value crafts, and examples of people who did just that, Zucker says.
In terms of finding markets, there has never been a better time than now for crafters to find the right place to sell their wares, she said. The internet, combined with social media outlets, allow crafters to find markets worldwide, Zucker said.
The Internet, and communities on the Internet, also can be a great way to find local markets.The Renegade Craft Fair (http://www.renegadecraft.com/) is one example of an organization that has markets across the country. The Summit of Awesome (http://www.hellocraft.com/summit/) is a meet-up where crafters come together to share ideas about "how to be prosperous in today's economy." Etsy, of course, (http://www.etsy.com/) is a great place for crafters to sell their wares, and to check out the latest in what is being offered by other crafters.
The main thrust of Craft Activism is not about profiting from crafting. It focuses primarily on people who are passionate about crafting and what they have done with that passion. The introduction summarizes the book as follows:
“Crafting a Statement (Part I) focuses on political comments, broadly defined as statements that may highlight political opinions, social issues, endangered animals, or the use of art for art’s sake. Recrafting the Past (Part II) points out the way traditional pursuits like embroidery, sewing, and crochet have returned with a new spirited point of view and touches on the changing definition of feminism. Crafting for a Cause (Part III) examines the widespread, and time-honored, practice of creating to help others; while Crafting to Recycle, Renew, and Reuse (Part IV) covers crafters who’ve gone green. Finally, Crafting a Community (Part V) explores how we forge bonds with other like-minded makers nearby or around the globe.”
Still, for anyone who has heard the old saying that the best way to succeed is to do what you love, Craft Activism is a great place to start.
Zucker, who lives in Branford, spoke at in Madison Tuesday night before a small but rapt crowd of crafters. To find out more about the book, or to order it online, you can go to R.J. Julia. If you just can't wait to read it, it is also available as an immediate download.
About this column: Around Town is an occasional column about what's going on around Madison. If you have an idea for a column, or would like to write one, please let us know! Contact Pem at email@example.com.