Crafty Ladies is an ever-evolving, ongoing, personal photography project connecting me with creative women. I’m documenting their faces and their stories in order to better understand the role of creativity in women’s lives, and its impact on my own.
Rebecca has an artist’s soul. I knew it the day I met her from behind a Starbucks counter as she ordered her – was it an Americano? One decade, several jobs, and two cities later, I sat with her in the cozy living room of her small East Atlanta bungalow, surrounded by her hand-crocheted blankets, drinking tea and chatting about making and monetizing.
“I do accounting for work. And that does not fulfill me; it pays the bills. And I realize that whatever creative outlet I have, whether it be embroidery or crochet or painting or knitting or sewing or writing… it doesn’t necessarily translate into financial gain. And I’m not even sure I’d want to exploit it in that way. I mean, ‘exploit’ is probably not the right word. But I don’t know if I’d love it as much if I did it for money.”
“It’s hard to crochet a blanket or a scarf and put a dollar value on it, because people go to Marshall’s and T. J. Maxx and get stuff super-cheap. And with me, it’s taken me a lot of time to create it. So I couldn’t necessarily make a living on it. I’d be like, “Well, this is a $1200 blanket…”
“I hadn’t really thought about how people monetize certain things and not others. I guess because, for example, a necklace you can put on display, then people comment on it and then you can be like, “Oh, this amazing designer made it…” It’s like having a Prada purse. It’s a status symbol in a way. We’re such consumers. And it’s not about quality; it’s about quantity sometimes.”
Rebecca and I talked a long time about the way we assign value to things – and why. Why do we shell out big bucks for this and not that? Is it all vanity? Is it what our magazines and TV shows and movies tell us makes us more valuable? Are our spending habits a true reflection of our own values?
I like to think about spending and pricing from a sales perspective, too. As a photographer, I rely on others seeing my work as valuable – valuable enough to invest money in me that could have been spent on jewelry or weekend getaways or home improvement projects. Are others looking to see if my values align with theirs? Do people care that we connect not only creatively, but personally? Emotionally? In that soul-to-soul way that drives conversation and inspire laughter and love?
I hope so. I know I do.