I was talking to my mom the other day and she was asking me if lots of people were buying my work. The answer is no. A few pieces have sold and I am super grateful for that. She was saying that the sentiment that she heard from people was, “if only I had a $100.” It bummed me out and I immediately made a list in my mind of all the beautiful supportive people who have followed this project and shown their appreciation for our work. Why should only the people who have $100 get to have a painting? My efforts are worth something, yes. But are they only worth money?
In my mom’s new novel she wrote about a place where dollars don’t have value:
As Sachi ushered Adam and Gertrude into her bakery new aromas overwhelmed his senses—cinnamon, yeast, nutmeg and something rich and warm like roasting garlic. His mouth started watering.
Sachi said, “Welcome to the Solas bakery. This is my contribution.”
Adam raised his eyebrows. “Contribution?”
“Yes, this is what I give to the community. Everyone here chooses a contribution when they turn 18.”
“You mean like a job?”
Sachi scowled at him. “I remember Meara telling me about jobs. They are not at all the same thing as contributions. Contributions are done with love.”
The bell above the door tinkled as a young woman with a long blonde braid and little girl entered the bakery. Sachi greeted them. The little girl peered at Adam and Gertrude from behind her mother’s skirts, her blue eyes round with astonishment. Sachi squatted down next to her. “This is my brother, Adam, and his friend Gertrude. They have come to stay with us.
The mother took a loaf of bread from the cooling rack by the door. “We’ll see you at the feast. Welcome to Solas.” Then she walked out the door.
Adam said, “She didn’t pay for the bread.”
Sachi said, “Pay?”
“You know with money.”
“Another thing Meara told me about—money. That’s little pieces of paper your people exchange for goods and services? What a strange thing that is. We exchange energy.”
“Energy? How does that work?
“Well, my contribution is baking. I put my energy into breads and pies and the like. The woman who just left is a weaver. She creates fabric. When I need fabric I go to her studio and pick out what I need. Her energy for mine.”
“And, that works out?’
“Of course it does. We do not get. We create. Is there a better way?”
When I wrote that I would not give away my artwork I immediately felt badly. Over anything else my desire is for my work to be valued by people. I want my artwork on the walls of people’s homes who will appreciate, it not just the ones who can afford it. My energy, creativity, and time are valuable and so are the time, creativity, and energy of everyone else.
We want to teach our kids that people and relationships are more important that money and stuff. When Jon and I were talking about this, Milo piped up and said, “I don’t need anything, I have everything I want.” I’ll give my artwork away. Love that boy. We want him to value his efforts and show value for others.
So here’s the new plan, you like it and it’s yours with a few caveats.
You are welcome to pay full price (I do have a mortgage, preschool tuition, college tuition, and health insurance bills that won’t take paintings as payment), you can pay what you can (minimum of $20/unframed and $50/framed to cover materials and shipping), or you can trade me or some combo of cash and trade. We spent the better part of the morning coming up with a list of big and small scale trades. I am happy to negotiate any type of trade and maintain the ability to say yes or no. Some things on our list are worth more than the cost of one framed work of art and we can chat on multiple works for services.
Visit the website and send me an email with the work of art you’d like and how you’d like to procure it and we’ll go from there. Don’t be shy. I am super excited to see how this all works out. I don’t want a stack of unlooked-at paintings. It’s time for my little babies to go into the world.
I’ll be posting about what trades go down.
I am also interested in the kids learning about bartering. So mamas and papas, Milo wants to trade your kid something for a custom work of art (hint: Milo likes other kid’s art).
Here’s the list (I’ve a few of you in mind specifically…)
- Ceramics (my favorite mug just broke, hint hint)
- Hand-made jewelry
- Pay off our student loans
- Cloth diapers/covers
- Car maintenance/repair
- Paint exterior of house
- Kitchen remodel
- 2, 14” wide bedside tables
- Wine glasses
- Shipping supplies or unlimited access to someone’s UPS account
- Closet organizers
- Size 8 or 9 boy shoes or slippers
- Cell phones and coverage
- A mountain bike
- Donate breast milk
- Donate 5 hours of your time at your neighborhood public school
- Kids bike trailer
- Contribution to kids’ college fund
- Bread machine
- Canned deliciousness
- Baked goods
- Virtual hugs (If your name is Jessica, this is all I need from you xoxo)
- Photo shoot
- Fresh flowers
- Business cards
- Web design
- Baby toys
- Children’s books
- Dress-ups for Milo
- Crocheted/knitted things
- Commemorative plates from states we’re not likely to ever visit
- Cool rusty stuff for Jon’s rust farm
- 3 plane tickets to:
o Southern California
o Northern California
- House cleaning
- Yoga classes
- Art supplies
- Wall space in your shop/gallery
- Dental care
- Mountain cabin/condo use
- Electroshock therapy for Jon (his choice)
- Beer (homemade or other)
- Wine (homemade or other)
- Whiskey (preferably not homemade, no one wants to go blind)
- Mead (preferably homemade)
- Sharpies for Milo
- Dinner at your restaurant
- Door installation
- Windows for our very chilly single-pained glass sunroom studio
- Good old fashioned cash money, what you can afford
- Worm compost set up
- Homemade bath and body sweetness
- Cloth napkins and kitchen towels
- Spanish lessons for me or Milo
- Vintage aprons
- Dog walking
Other things/services we have to barter:
- House/Dog sitting in Whittier
- Homemade organic baby food
- Art lessons for kids
- Brick repair
- Mending clothes
- 0-6 month baby boy clothes
- Handmade bibs, burp rags, and blankets
- Knit hats
- Mural painting
- Custom artwork and portraiture