Sunday, January 15, 2012


A few months ago, a  good friend sent me a copy of THE SABBATHDAY RIVER, by Jean Hanff Korelitz. Having glance at the back cover blurbs, I put it aside until the proper time, which only arrived last week. I will save a detailed post about the story for my book blog. However this is a good place to mention that plot and exquisite writing aside, Korelitz places her characters a very believable world where women artisan struggle for recognition and respect. "The work of women--the sewing bees and quilting circles and nights hooking rugs before the winter fires--has values," she writes. This is a topic I would like to explore with your help. 

Handcrafts  rarely command a fair price. Artisans of either sex  find it hard to make a living from their work. But when the artisan is a woman, the public quite often categorizes what she does as hobby and hobbyists have no claim on decent wages, health insurance or paid vacations. I think that it would be interesting to discuss how society ascribes value to work, but I do not intend to write a treaty on economics, a subject in which I am vastly illiterate. Rather, I  would like to know how  artisans earn the right to be called workers.
In my case, the work I love is often s enjoyable I tend not take it very seriously. It is all good fun. It is just a necklace, a silly sketch, an ordinary photo. No big deal.  Clients who buy my jewelry, note cards, embroidery see the value of what I do  through the filter of my nonchalance. That some have come buy new products or  commission new projects, disregard my attempts at self-sabotage. That I have a horror of puffed up braggarts is no excuse fr my unprofessional attitude. There is a space for me to stand between the self-proclaimed geniuses and the  barely competent.How about you? How strong is your confidence in your ability? What do you think you deserve for your work? Are you a full-fledged worker or a dilettante?

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