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Worked Hard for Free

March 1st, 2010 at 08:26 pm

For the past 3 years as a member of the local art association I contributed the norm, maybe a little more, including the required volunteer hours and membership fees.

The return on the time and money investment has been good, and I received a regular modest check from sales of jewelry in the gallery retail area.

As is probably the case with anyone starting a new endeavor, once I got to know the players and the game, I upped the stakes. Why? Partly for selfish reasons, ie the more I put into improving the group and its resources, the more I could receive in sales from my own work being a member. However, alot of the reasoning behind upping the stakes is indirect and less conscious.

For example, I feel good helping the organization succeed. Whether I personally steer new customers to an individual artist, or promote the group to the community at large in a more general way, it keeps the association strong and long lived.

So this year I volunteered as chairman of the retail shop which is resulting in an increase of hours and dollars on my end.

For one, I am responsible for display aesthetics, (a couple other members join me in this effort). The good news is I get to move things around by placing things more (or less) prominently on shelving and in display cases. In other words, play interior decorator! The bad news is I have a strong desire to make the place look great and end up spending my own money on props and helpful tools. Being of a thrifty nature, I am trying to create great displays on a shoestring but it is exhausting! This past weekend I made the first big changes to the 'shop' like this:

1. Used one of my never used vintage white lace tablecloth in a glass case to increase light reflection and as a backdrop for jewelry work. COST: $0

2. Purchased red/black/white felt squares for geometric backgrounds of other jewelry work in the glass case and surrounding shelves. COST: $5

3. Purchased under the counter lights for inside the glass case (it is an old case and desperately needs better lighting). COST: $30

4. Purchased artificial flowers and greens for accenting displays in a simple and classic manner. Scoured the craft store for great deals and cut the florals apart to stretch their use. COST: $20

Whew. That's enough out of pocket for now.

Then on Saturday I spent 5 hours putting up the new look. It's an improvement, but minor changes will be needed every month or so to keep the displays fresh and attractive. However, there's enough breathing room now to to think up and obtain no-cost items (such as baskets) before the next change.

And, yes, I have placed a few of my own (more expensive) items very prominently in the shop. I deserve it.

Thanks for reading!

Almond Candy Earrings

New work in 14K GF and natural stone. The shape and color of these classic earrings remind me of the wedding favors candy - Jordan Almonds. Available at the Harbor Village Gallery (Ventura) or as a custom order.

2 Responses to “Worked Hard for Free”

  1. fern Says:

    That sounds great! Probably no one else wants to put in the work, but they don't realize all the untold benefits. Good for you!

  2. monkeymama Says:


    He is looking for Esty sellers to interview.

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