Sunday, January 24, 2016

Business of Art - Production Work

When you are doing your art as a way to make a living, production work is a necessary task. Early on, everything I made was one of a kind. But at some point you reach a level of sales where that is just not possible anymore. For me that was a number of years ago.

Simply defined, production work is making multiples of the same thing. Usually the copies are exactly the same, but often I just can not help myself from making at least one change on each item. The advantage of production work is that it is an efficient use of time. I can lay out components and then create multiples of the same or similar item completing one step on all items at a time.

In this example I am making multiple pairs of hammered earrings at once. I gather materials and lay them out. I add beads to copper headpins. In this case I am making slight variations so that each pair is unique.

Next I cut and bend the wires on all of the beaded components and layout the wire to create the hand hammered daggers and coil dangles. I hammer all the daggers at once and then create all of the coils. Another efficiency step is that the daggers and coils are usually created from the tops of the headpins I have cut from the beaded components. No waste!

When all the components are ready I create the earrings paying attention to the order of the dangles so that each half of a pair is a mirror image of the other. 

The last step is to prepare the earring cards and hang the earrings on their cards.. I create and print my own cards. I cut them using a paper cutter, punch holes for the ear wires and fold them. Again, this is a type of production work. Each card is priced and a description of the materials used is added. The finished earrings are counted and added to inventory and then set near my light box for photography.

Production work is good for popular items and for items that are similar in design. But do not fear, every piece I make is still given thought and care in its creation.

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