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Rant: Remember what a hobby used to be?

October 25, 2013

We’ve forgotten what a hobby was.  It was sewing, crafting, drawing, for the pleasure of it alone.

Maybe once in awhile a friend or neighbour offered to buy our latest crochet project for a little money.  We made things in our spare time at our own tempo. We kept making stuff which got given away or sold for a charity or sold so we could buy more supplies. It was a natural cycle of enjoyment, energy invested and a kind of gentle return on that. Sometimes it involved money, but it was about appreciation as well, and exchanging new techniques or materials with others.

Now every human with two hands and a knitting needle has dollar signs in her eyes it seems. Our society’s obsession with business has invaded even this homely domain. Now our knitter makes a ‘product’. In order to sell, she needs a logo, a label, a website, an Etsy store. She needs to be a good photographer to take images of her work to promote it. She must work the social sites, keep up with her Etsy contacts to make sure her work gets featured on others’ blogs, keep up with her networking. She needs to fill orders, set up an online payment system. She needs to become a good postal worker and get her products in the mail on time. The administration has to be done well and regularly. And soon she has to face it- she isn’t a knitter anymore, she is a retailer or depending on the product, a wholesaler. Her arm is hurting from staying up doing all that knitting to fill orders. Should she hire someone to do the drudge work?

Good grief, people. Keep your hobbies hobbies!  Keep part of yourself off line and out of the marketplace.

Here is my latest creation from my hobby of crocheting- fully copied from delightful Lucie’s generously shared instructions.

And it is so not for sale.

Decorative birdie

Decorative birdie

Oh,  but if you are interested, let’s see, it took around 5 hours, at 35 euros an hour- that will be 175 euros, thanks.

And, no, I can’t make 12 more.

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14 Responses to “Rant: Remember what a hobby used to be?”

  1. Joline Frazier Says:

    Well said…..I am a quilter, knitter, crocheter and photographer….I do it for the love of it, if someone else enjoys it and wants to buy it, great. It is a treat, not an obligation. Hobbies keep my sanity intact and are priceless.

    • Sarah Zoutewelle Says:

      too right about hobbies keeping sanity in tact, Joline. Whereas the whole selling side as it’s done these days has the opposite effect!!Thanks.


  2. You’re absolutely right everyone seems to have their eyes on the main chance. But your little bird has inspired me to get cracking on some Christmas presents.

    • Sarah Zoutewelle Says:

      I just discovered a nice site via one of my followers- Folksy- a sort of British Etsy. I liked the feel a lot. Seemed less intensely about just selling than Etsy. Oh do make the birdie if you crochet, it is so pleasant to make and sucha little sweetie to have around. It inspired me to make some little felt bird brooches. (Those would be nice to sell, actually, but on my own terms, ie the ones I make are available, and I don’t take orders to make more.)

  3. sindel17 Says:

    I literally was just saying this same thing to my co-blogger the other day. I wouldn’t want to crochet for profit. I think it would take all the fun and relaxation out of it!


  4. if I produce something I like, I want to keep it! Reminds me of why I can’t ever run a book shop, I wouldn’t let anyone buy anything.

    • Sarah Zoutewelle Says:

      That’s really funny, reminds me of the series Black’s books, where the owner didn’t want people in his shop at all, let alone having them buy his books. But I know what you mean, I get quite attached to things I’ve put a lot of time and effort into. Especially if they turn out well.

  5. decorartuk Says:

    I absolutely love the last two sentences! and absolutely agree with everything you’ve said. If we concentrate on selling, there’s no time for hobbies or things that we simply enjoy doing. I also know how hard it is to let someone have something I’ve made (I guess that’s why I love photography, I can always own the moment I have captured, as long as I don’t deleted the digital file or lose the film).

    • Sarah Zoutewelle Says:

      I like that, ‘own the moment I have captured’. I always read with interest (and admittedly I used to feel a little envy too) stories about women who have successfully made their hobby into their business, but so often you see that all that gets left is the business. I wish there was a way around that. I have so much sweet stuff here that I could easily sell and part with. But why would I want to make 24 handbound pamphlet books, or felt brooches, crocheted birds, or a dozen cyu cyu books on demand? The fun would immediately go out of it. I think that is the key for me, I love making things as well as selling them. But only when I have time to do it at my leisure as part of a relaxing, fun process of discovery. Then I can let it go quite naturally….well depending on how much time went into it!


  6. I love what you’ve said, here. I have struggled with the title “artist” and realized that I attached being a “real artist” to making money from art. In reality I believe that an artis is a person who makes art. I feel it is my calling. I, too, make what I like and would rather gift art than sell it. We’ll see where the road leads, but for now I’m happily making happy art!


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