Thursday 20 June 2013

Cheap vs Quality At A Nice Price

Hi again you People of the Blogosphere!

Hope you're all well, and lovely and coping with whatever weather extremes the universe is a-throwin' atcha. Ooooo it's hot here. Well - hot for Britain. We're a lovely lush but generally drizzly and damp country of temperate weatheryness....heat's a bit exotic and we're not awfully good at handling it well... There's a lot of people on show....things that need to be covered up.....or possibly quarantined....possibly put out of their (or everyone else's) misery...! Ugh. But aaaaaaah.....there's the lovely garden, the pretty tweety birds and the foofy squirrels...And the hayfever...

Ain't summer awesome?!? Here, have a butterfly...aaaaaah....pretty....

So right... I've run out of a few bits and pieces from my studio - things I consider pretty darned essential. Which is annoying, mainly because I'm having one of those 'low on funds' months which presents me with that always-fun-dilemma: which essential thing is the MOST essential thing? Can you prioritise 'essential'? Also annoyingly, it rules out any of those li'l new release crafty treats that we all love....'cos even though we all (hopefully) recycle, and hoard we so totally NEED all the preeeeeetty new things! oooooooooooo.

It'll all be sorted - eventually - but it got me thinking about my arts and crafts spend learning curve and the ongoing arty-crafty argument - Should I buy CHEAP stuff, or QUALITY stuff? Let's face it, most of us starving artists are on a fairly tight budget so it's tempting to buy cheaply because you seem to see value for money...what's that phrase - more bang for your buck? (oo-er) I've done it myself - standing in an art shop with lovely, gorgeous Golden Fluid acrylic paints costing a kidney on one side, and decoart or docrafts crafters acrylic on the other. Three teeny bottles of Golden vs 12 relatively large bottles of crafter's acrylic. It really does seem like a no-brainer. Cheap stuff wins, yeah?

What about all those lovely scrapbook papers, with their gorgeous designs and inspiring colours? Pricey - especially when they're new releases... But they're soooooooooo tempting! Are we ACTUALLY going to use them all though? Or hoard case? I sheepishly admit that I'd happily hoard a thousand times my own body weight in pretty papers IN CASE zombies attack and all the shops close and the internet explodes and THERE'S NO MORE PAPER!!! NIGHTMARE!!! Um..... It's my reality - leave me be dammit!!  ahaha. Yeah, but here's the weirdness - I have TONS of pretty paper....yet what do generally I use for my backgrounds and art journal pages and canvases and stuff? My own paper scraps, covered in paint and stamped image bits and such, old wrapping paper odds and ends, book pages, and magaziine images. Still the pretty paper calls to me......sweet, sweet paper.....*drools like Homer Simpson*


This same dilemma - pretty branded pretty vs cheap or free options - applies to pretty much every area of art and craft supplies. Realistically, we'll all buy what we wanna buy, buy when funds present an obstacle, here're my suggestions and musings and such.

1 - Enjoy what you already have.  You don't NEED (no, really) ALL those matching new releases to be a happy crafter. You don't NEED ALL the colours of paint, ALL the sizes of paper pads to be an artist. Art and craft should represent not only your imagination and skill, but your inventiveness in being creative. Look around your house at what you have - you undoubtedly have more than you think you do. Rummage round and find some stuff you've had for ages and forgotten about and CHALLENGE yourself to be individual with your design. Be inspired by others, don't copy -make your OWN art! Run out of pricey Prima alpha stickers? Go ransom note a magazine - cut out different text styles and glue them down! Print text from your computer...or even WRITE it yourself! Your handwriting makes you unique - it'll do the same for your art. When the cash is low and the need to make art is there, grab the opportunity to think outside the box - you'll be glad you did, I promise!

2 - Don't get caught in the Youtuber hype! What I mean to say is - just because some people video their hauls and stashes remember it's NOT A COMPETITION! Sometimes I think that the more stuff you have, the more you limit your creative self. You honestly don't need to hock your spleens to buy the latest releases in their entirety on day one. Be patient. Craft stores have sales - if you're careful and clever you'll pick things up eventually at a fraction of the price, and if you genuinely LIKE them, it won't matter if you have them the week they're released, or 6 months or a year later. Seriously....paper and embellishments, stamps and accessories - fashionable? Gimme a break. Be honest about your craft and your art - it's a reflection of you, not a reflection of superficial profiteering. Relax... remember that old saying - 'good things come to those who wait'.

3 - Weigh up your options. You'd LIKE the best quality all the time, right? Ok, Rockerfeller, knock yourself out. Back on planet Earth ... It's never an option for me - and that's ok. Trying new brands - even the cheapies - means I get to play with media that produces different effects and I like unpredictability in art so that's ok. When I need - or just plain WANT  - new supplies I weigh it up thusly: spend smart - buy quality on no-compromise items that are tried and tested favourites as and when I need, anything else, buy the best quality possible for the best price possible (yes, that includes generic as well as branded stuff!), even if it means spending some serious time comparing websites or ebay/etsy auctions. If it's not in budget, swear a bit and be grumpy, but make a nice cup of tea, have toast and jam, and be patient - it'll show up at the right price sooner or later (see point #2). Don't spend just for the sake of it - you'll end up with drawers full of shoddy tat you'll never use - that's not a saving....that's one hell of a waste!

To sum up: Art's about expression, not competition. We all search for validation, but it's our own security and self-worth that we should strive for and cherish the most. Creativity won't come from completist buying and peace of mind's fairly elusive when there's not a brass farthing left in the pot and two weeks till payday....pretty, expensive new-release stickers only get you so far. We are all WORTH MORE than the sum of our possessions. Enjoy what's there around you. Go look at that picture of the pretty butterfly again.

Much love as ever - Shroo :)x

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