HOW TO EVALUATE FINE HANDMADE OBJECTS: THE PRODUCER OF THE ANNUAL 4th OF JULY WEEKEND BERKSHIRES ARTS FESTIVAL ENLIGHTENS
- GREAT BARRINGTON, Massachusetts
- June 08, 2022
150 exhibitors, entertainment, workshops, children's activities and demonstrations take place July 1,2,3 at Ski Butternut, Great Barrington, Mass. in the Festival's 21st year
Richard Rothbard, co-producer of the Berkshires Arts Festival, July 1,2,3 at Ski Butternut, Great Barrington, addresses what a fine craft artist considers when pricing an object. The proprietor of An American Craftsman Galleries, Lenox, Mass., noted that artists shoulder the same skyrocketing costs as any business. To exhibit their work at the Festival there's gas for hours-long trips via van and propane or oil to run a potter's kiln or glass blower's furnace 24/7. Just as the price of commercial construction supplies have increased, so have fine woods--some quadrupling.
The time to create one fine work precludes making a normal living, he said. Here's an example: "It can take six hours for a glass artist to fabricate a piece for which he charges $400. If there were no expenses--such as the purchase and maintenance of a furnace, shears, paddles, tweezers, blowpipe and raw material, not to mention marketing and insurance costs--the artisan would make less than $60/hour. And consider the years it took to perfect such a skill."
Rothbard observed that if artisans paid themselves what their customers make an hour, few could afford their work. According to comparably.com, the average salary of a crafter in the U.S. in 2018 was $33,572, the median $30,720 with ranges from $18,680 to $59,750. In the "Quality of Life" section of the website: "With a take-home pay of roughly $2,478/month, and the median 2BR apartment rental price of $2,506/mo., a crafter would pay 101.14% of their monthly take-home salary towards rent."
Some Festival exhibitors who use furnaces or kilns are Michael Radigan, Pittsford, N.Y., creator of fused glass plates, bowls, pendants and sculptures and stained glass artist Iva Kalikow, Fine Art in Glass, Beckett, Mass.; potters Lynne Puhalla, North Attleboro, Mass.; Jenna Cranna Cahalan, New Milford, Conn. and master potter Dan Bellows, Great Barrington as well as ceramist Gail Markkiewicz, Woodbridge, Conn.
At the Berkshires Arts Festival 150 exhibitors will join musicians, crafters demonstrating, entertainment and kid's activities. In addition to glass artists, potters and ceramists, the family-oriented festival, in its 21st year, will include artisans who design and create jewelry, photography, sculpture, furniture, painting, fashion and works in wood, metal, mixed media, leather and fiber.
Where: Ski Butternut, Rte. 23, 380 State Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230
Hours: Friday, July 1 and Saturday July 2, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Sunday, July 3, 10:00 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Tickets: Adults $14; Students $7.00; Weekend pass: $16. Children under 10 free. No pets.
J M Byington & Associates