Author Topic: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley  (Read 1854 times)

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Offline Lysenis

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Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« on: September 01, 2013, 12:15:11 am »
So criticism is always good when it is constructive. So put what you thought of this year's AA so everyone can improve next year!

I will start. Going through AA this year dissapointed me greatly. Now I only ever saw one thing that was real maille (and that surprised me), one group had a Japanese 12 in 2 earrings. All the other chains I saw where mass produced knock offs. . . But being a chain maille artisian I am picky on those things >.>

What it all came down to was that everything was super spaced out (i know fire regs) and that I could not tell where AA ended. While there was a sign for the start of AA, I felt that I kept seeing dealers and not Artists of all walks. Maybe some of the dealers were AA members instead but I saw so much mass produced items vs hand made that I could not tell. . . Made me think of etsy to be honest. . .

I am however pleased with the actual Artist side of AA, very few of the Artsian's impressed me. The artists how ever. . . Spectacular! So much great art. . . I WISH I could draw anywhere that well. . . So amazing.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 11:20:04 am by Lysenis »
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Offline superjaz

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2013, 04:31:19 pm »
Some of the stuff was nice, tho first year I haven't bought anything.
Normally I'd get some earrings but the ones I saw were more pricey then I'd expect.

Some things were disapointing, like looking at one booth which had hand made amine characters, then you look at the booth next to it and wait you look closer at the table of stuff,  necklace of anime characters and they have "China" stamped on the side, they are cell charms only put on a necklace, I wouldnt call it art... but thats me 

Not to sound judgemental, but just un threading the cell loop and putting it on a chain, it would be different if it was in some way changed, like making it into a hair stick or a ring.
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Offline TalaRedWolf33

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2013, 11:24:00 pm »
Well, this was my first year being so disappointed with the AA that I felt sick. My boyfriend and I walked into the garage and walked straight through the vendors without looking, because I was so excited to see the artwork.
I admit, before going in, I had the feeling of wanting desperately to eat my own words earlier about how much AA would suck this year. I was hurt by not getting in, and seeing them all set up on day zero made me feel bad about being so biased based on my not getting in. I wanted to give it a chance and be wrong. I wanted to say sorry and admit my foolishness.
But sadly, I couldn't. It wasn't just AA though, it was the vendors and AA together that I was so disappointed in. The vendors had repeats of everything, and everything was over priced. I actually made myself wait until day three to buy anything, because my boyfriend could talk down their prices. I ended up saving money, which was then stolen from me somewhere between the Lolita booth in the back of AA and the decal booth at the end of AA. But still, even with my money that wasn't stolen, I didn't want to spend it. I spent a total of $30 dollars on the vendors, two pop dolls and a keychain.
In AA, I was actually so upset about just buying pins, that I broke down and bought some Doctor Who artwork. It is AMAZING artwork, and I am glad I bought it. But if they weren't there, I would have only walked away with pins and bookmarks. Which for me, as I always buy at least something from AA, and I want it to be something I really love, that wasn't enough. I never buy artwork (only because it always gets ruined at my house), and so this was my first time doing so. I was however, floored by the fact that the 4 inch amigurumi dolls were $25 O.O My dolls are 7 inches, and are the same price. I was going to actually lower them for the con too, and make them $15. Not to mention they didn't have much of a choice to buy from. I mean, comic book heroes and video game characters and squids are really cool, but Im not going to buy those. I would have loved some anime characters, like Sailor Moon. Or some ponies. Or at least some cute fruit or ice cream or something. Even an animal or two (besides the squids).
Overall, yes, I was disappointed. I did not want to be, but I was.

Offline elisetrinh

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2013, 08:56:03 am »
I don't think it is fair to question the pricing that artists put on their products. We are not vendors who simply redistribute items. I have friends who crochet for other AAs and from what they've told me, it takes a lot of time just to make one item. Correct me if I'm wrong, but a 7" doll would take at least 3 hours to make if not more. At $15, that would be $5/hr gross not factoring in material costs. If you're okay with working for half of minimum wage, that's your call but other artists who choose not to shouldn't be criticized for wanting to at least make as much as a fast food joint employee.

Personally, I think that a profit that is equivalent to minimum wage is still much too low for an artist who has spent years working on their skills. It always makes me sad when I see artists undervalue their work, but that is their call and people can price however they want.

« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 03:07:28 pm by elisetrinh »

Offline Lysenis

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2013, 10:05:25 am »
I don't think it is fair to question the pricing that artists put on their products. We are not vendors who simply redistribute items. I have friends who crochet for other AAs and from what they've told me, it takes a lot of time just to make one item. Correct me if I'm wrong, but a 7" doll would take at least 3 hours to make if not more. At $15, that would be $5/hr gross not factoring in material costs. If you're okay with working for half of minimum wage, that's your call but other artists who choose not to shouldn't be criticized for wanting to at least make as much as a fast food joint employee.

Personally, I think that a profit that is equivalent to minimum wage is still much too low for an artist who has spent years working on t. heir skills. It always makes me sad when I see artists undervalue their work, but that is their call and people can price however they want.

You do have a valid point. Making chain maille I charge $10 an hour for aluminum, $13 for copper, $15 for steel. . . Here is the side note though, as I make more items of any one particular weave, I get faster at it, to the point I can now sell aluminium bracelets that were $20-$25 for $15 now because it takes me less time.

In regards to costs you have to consider materials as well as a % which you put back into your business.

Lets take my Anodized Aluminium spiral 4 in 1 bracelets, they use less than 100 rings, a bag of 300 rings is $5 so .8¢ per ring so roughly two quarters for materials. Takes me about an half an hour to make so $5 there and I sell them for $10-$12. The more I make the quicker I get. Eventually I will have them made in 15-20 minutes.

I would as well make other items that range from $5 (scale flowers) to $30 but the average would settle around $15.

It might be presumptuous of me, never having sold at a con before but since February when I came up with the idea of selling my maille at cons I have conducted a great deal of research into pricing, color, attention grabbers etc (one reason why there would have been a few scale and maille ties as well as a scale top for women). Now having said this I think I will start a thread about pricing, layout, type of things to make (overall type not specifics), etc. . .

Tala does have a point though. For the dealers I expect higher prices, for AA I expect $25 and under with a general average of $18. That is completly acceptable in my book. Also things still labled with where it was made. . . Really. . . This is AA, not eBay or Etsy where resalers are allowed. This if for home made art or the like.
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Offline TalaRedWolf33

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2013, 10:32:06 am »
It depends on the crocheter. I can make several large dolls in a day if I sit down and just crochet and nothing else, which I have done.  But then again, I also can crochet with out looking and I'm much faster than normal. I've been doing it for three years now, and I just keep gettin g faster.
My price point comes from the side of wanting to sell dolls. My commission price is much higher than my at con price. A normal commission would be around $40 for a doll, depending on the doll. 
I charge for materials and the size of the doll, only because it takes me about a day to sketch out the design, write up a pattern, and then make the doll.   At. the same time though, my materials are loads cheaper than other peoples, because I constantly use coupons at joanns and walmart on yarn and stuffing. The only expensive things I have to buy are safety eyes, which I'm stocked up to 60 pairs right now, so I'm set for a while.

But if we're talking a 4inch doll, and she's charging $25 for an hours work, I find that unfair, only because I know how much time it take to make a doll like that. She also didn't have much of a variety in her dolls, so that I can understand as a reason for the higher prices. Its all she has, and she needs to sell. I get that, and can respect that. Though it would have been nice to see other dolls. As I said, not everyone wants to buy a comic book character (not manga mind you) doll. And that's all she had, besides a couple bombs from Mario and a ninja, and some Adventure Time characters. Some variety just would have been nice.

Offline Lysenis

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2013, 12:33:22 pm »
My points exactly. More you do it the faster.
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Offline Acheron

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2013, 02:03:25 pm »
I don't think it is fair to question the pricing that artists put on their products. We are not vendors who simply redistribute items. I have friends who crochet for other AAs and from what they've told me, it takes a lot of time just to make one item. Correct me if I'm wrong, but a 7" doll would take at least 3 hours to make if not more. At $15, that would be $5/hr gross not factoring in material costs. If you're okay with working for half of minimum wage, that's your call but other artists who choose not to shouldn't be criticized for wanting to at least make as much as a fast food joint employee.

Personally, I think that a profit that is equivalent to minimum wage is still much too low for an artist who has spent years working on t. heir skills. It always makes me sad when I see artists undervalue their work, but that is their call and people can price however they want.

I completely agree. Especially coming from one artist to another, it is unacceptably rude to whine about someone charging what you feel is too much for a handmade item. You do not know how much the materials cost, you do not know how long it took them to make it, you do not know what their hourly rate is, or why they choose to charge that much... If you feel the price is too much, just move on and don't buy it. Tala, I'm glad that you feel you can underprice your art to sell, but not everyone wants to or can do that.
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Offline TalaRedWolf33

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2013, 02:17:04 pm »
First off, I'm not whining. I'm saying that as a customer, their pricing was too high. From what i saw, she only sold three or four dolls, and I think the pricing was why. I'm offering an opinion, not being rude or whining. If I'm wrong in offering an opinion as a buyer, then I'm sorry.
As an artist, or even a baker, inventor, or builder of anything you wish to sell, sometimes you have to undersell the product to make a sale. Not always no, but sometimes yes. An artist has to be willing to lower their prices if someone thinks its too high, if that is the deciding factor in a sale or no sale. I'm not saying her quality was bad, it was actually really good, and I sat and talked with her both this year and last about her technique, as she does tighter work than I do. I was impressed by her work, but from a buyer point of view, a four inch doll is not worth $25.
And yes, you're right. Not every artist can do that. I do understand that. But when you aren't selling as many as you thought you would, you mark your price down to try and sell more. Artists have to be willing to do that to make a sale sometimes. 


Offline chocuu

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2013, 02:45:10 pm »
Hi there, I just want to say that I feel that posting critiques about one certain artist on this forum is a bit rude. It'd be more reasonable and constructive if you spoke with the artist themself privately, ask them if they'd like some constructive criticism, and then if they're comfortable with that tell them what you have posted in here. c: And if you don't know how to contact them, I'd suggest to keep the opinions/critiques to yourself rather than posting it onto a public forum, unless they are presented in a much more "I think this would be helpful for everyone who sees this" sort of manner, and not really make it obvious what specific artist(s) you are referring to. I feel like it'd a bit heartbreaking to find yourself (I'm not this person you're speaking of, but just theoretically XD) being critiqued on here on the web for all to see very specifically but indirectly. Public forums about how to improve AA should be on overall trends and not on specific artists and tables, to be not only more helpful and beneficial to everyone who views, but also more kind to the artists who were in AA. <:

(I realize I'm critiquing a bit specifically too, and I apologize about that, but I figured this might be helpful to everyone who sees it? q A q If you're uncomfortable with this post just let me know and I'll edit it a bit)
« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 02:54:51 pm by chocuu »

Offline elisetrinh

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2013, 03:22:37 pm »
I have to say, never in 9 years of doing AAs have I ever seen as much whining and complaining as I have than in the aftermath of Kumoricon's AA reg. I'm still kind of shocked at the rudeness and immaturity in some posts directed towards artists and staff from other artists themselves.  :o  AA's have become highly competitive not just at kumori so it is common not to get a table at a convention and I don't know anyone who expects to be given a table just because they want one. I have friends at a few other cons who choose to do dealers because they don't want to deal with trying to get into AA, but for those of us who decide to stick with trying for AA we just accept that we may not always get in.


On the other topic.. I don't think it is ever good advice to tell someone to undersell themselves to make a buck. Wow!

Offline KingOfSassgard

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2013, 03:35:23 pm »
I have to say, never in 9 years of doing AAs have I ever seen as much whining and complaining as I have than in the aftermath of Kumoricon's AA reg. I'm still kind of shocked at the rudeness and immaturity in some posts directed towards artists and staff from other artists themselves.  :o  AA's have become highly competitive not just at kumori so it is common not to get a table at a convention and I don't know anyone who expects to be given a table just because they want one. I have friends at a few other cons who choose to do dealers because they don't want to deal with trying to get into AA, but for those of us who decide to stick with trying for AA we just accept that we may not always get in.


On the other topic.. I don't think it is ever good advice to tell someone to undersell themselves to make a buck. Wow!


I completely agree with your comment.


I actually liked having the artist alley where it was, it had more space to it. One thing I would change is that it felt like a maze, my friends and I would walk around questioning ourselves if we went this certain way before or not. :) Other than that, I have no complaints.
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Offline Acheron

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2013, 03:58:00 pm »
First off, I'm not whining. I'm saying that as a customer, their pricing was too high. From what i saw, she only sold three or four dolls, and I think the pricing was why. I'm offering an opinion, not being rude or whining. If I'm wrong in offering an opinion as a buyer, then I'm sorry.
As an artist, or even a baker, inventor, or builder of anything you wish to sell, sometimes you have to undersell the product to make a sale. Not always no, but sometimes yes. An artist has to be willing to lower their prices if someone thinks its too high, if that is the deciding factor in a sale or no sale. I'm not saying her quality was bad, it was actually really good, and I sat and talked with her both this year and last about her technique, as she does tighter work than I do. I was impressed by her work, but from a buyer point of view, a four inch doll is not worth $25.
And yes, you're right. Not every artist can do that. I do understand that. But when you aren't selling as many as you thought you would, you mark your price down to try and sell more. Artists have to be willing to do that to make a sale sometimes.

If the artist asked for your opinion on why she was not selling enough (and you don't even know she wasn't selling enough, you're just guessing), then you would be well within your rights to give her your honest opinion. However, you are offering unsolicited advice, which is what makes your opinion rude. Don't try to pass it off like you're just trying to be helpful; like chocuu said, if you were really interested in helping, you'd have PMed or emailed her directly and told her that you thought your prices were too high. You aren't helping - you're complaining behind her back.

As for the rest of your post, I'm simply stunned that someone who sells art would argue so strongly for underselling themselves to make a quick buck. If I may be blunt, it's that exact toxic attitude that can make it so difficult to sell art sometimes. If you are selling your art for less than a fair price, you are not only damaging everyone else around you, but yourself as well. Every person in an AA underselling their work makes it that much harder for the people who aren't to make money, which inevitably leads to a race to the bottom that no artist wins.
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Offline elisetrinh

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2013, 04:07:42 pm »
As for the rest of your post, I'm simply stunned that someone who sells art would argue so strongly for underselling themselves to make a quick buck. If I may be blunt, it's that exact toxic attitude that can make it so difficult to sell art sometimes. If you are selling your art for less than a fair price, you are not only damaging everyone else around you, but yourself as well. Every person in an AA underselling their work makes it that much harder for the people who aren't to make money, which inevitably leads to a race to the bottom that no artist wins.


My thoughts exactly.. thanks for putting it into words.

Offline TalaRedWolf33

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2013, 04:50:54 pm »
you know.. I'm sorry. you're all right, and I'm wrong. my opinion is wrong. i was being rude and mean and I'm sorry. it won't matter anyways, as i won't be in aa next year, won't be applying either. so its done. its over. sorry my opinion was wrong, and I'm done arguing and defending myself. you are all right. I'm wrong.

Offline Lysenis

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2013, 04:56:42 pm »
Settle down everyone, settle down.

I will play this by the numbers,

1) Everyone arguing about about the prices are both right and wrong here so cool it.

2) Tala has a point but it is tainted in bias. Let me explain. Tala has been doing this crocheting for 3 years, in that time she has developed, speed, dexterity, and skills that increase her weave time. That's is both the bias AND the point. Now I never talked to the one crocheting the works being criticized, but if he/she has near that level of expertise then Tala is on target. I personally only started my maille back in December. Bracelets that toome me an hours now take me at max one hour, I can crank out 6 small scale flowers in that hour as well. The point is that if your good enough to be on a AA table then you should have the speed to crank things out and still maintain quality.

3) Everyone should be ashamed. I stated in the very first sentence to use constructive criticism. Tala did this. She brought up a valid point and you all slammed her for it.

4) Simple rule, just because someone does something for con does not make it right or wrong. People jack prices up all the time and some drop them to increase sales. I for one follow the simple logic of, "If I am a con goer and I saw this what would I pay for this knowing I need food and stuff. . .". If i dont feel confortable with the price, i go over my Matt again and see why.

Now you all behave. Prices were high in all corners and and quality did not match those prices. There is a reason my Majestic Maille has the motto "Quality fit for royalty"
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Offline RoriLei

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2013, 05:31:00 pm »
Okay, this just got worse the further I read down. It started as a reasonable topic, and turned to ratting on one particular person who stated their opinion on a topic that is about stating their opinion!

Tala, nobody's opinion is wrong or right. It's just opinion.

Though it may have been rude to pick out a single person to critique on, it's also rude for a bunch of people to gang up on one person to state their opinion. And Tala definitely has a point. It seemed that there was a lot of people overcharging, and I feel like she was just using one example based on what she knows from her own experience.

This is the point that I wanted to make, and now I want this whole drama to end. So, to change it over to a positive note, I managed to track down Dancing Heron Illustration, whom I bought an amazing piece of art from last year, so that I could get an awesome birthday gift for my little brother! That was a very happy moment. And all of the artists that I talked to were very good natured.
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Offline JeffT

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Re: Opinions of Kumo 2013 Artist Alley
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2013, 07:48:46 pm »
This thread has been locked in favor of the new Artists Alley 2013 Rant and Rave thread.
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