Friday, October 24, 2014

Another Paper Mosaic Mirror!

Back on June 25, I wrote about creating a paper mosaic mirror. That design featured paper strips that were one inch wide, and were composed mostly of blues, greens and purples.

The original paper mosaic mirror, completed back in June.

Earlier this week, I noticed I had amassed quite a few handpainted scraps left over from larger projects -- enough to make another mirror. But most of these scraps were really, really small --- nowhere near the size of those on mirror #1. Undeterred, I lightly sanded another Ikea mirror to give its surface some "tooth," and plunged in.

The five day mirror in its almost-done state. All that's necessary to finish it is a bit of trimming, then sealing and varnishing.

It soon became obvious this project was going to take more time than the first one. Much more time. The little papers were so much harder to pick up with my fingers or tweezers, and gluing each one down was equally tedious. But still it was an enjoyable process, though there were countless frustrating moments as a paper would escape my grasp and land -- fully loaded with glue -- someplace it wasn't supposed to.

Five Days and Counting...

Not including the time allowed for drying, this second mirror took five days to make. Insane, I know. Whenever someone asks me how long it takes me to make something I never know how to answer. There's the planning time, the prep time (painting and embellishing papers, preparing the substrate by applying multiple coats of gesso and sanding between each coat, etc. etc.)  But those tasks are usually just the tip of the iceberg.

Accounting for the Intangibles

Do we count the 3 a.m. brainstorm on a sleepless night that sends us rummaging through old journals, searching for an obscure entry that's essential to our project? Do we factor in the hours, months or years we've spent in classes and workshops honing our skills? Do we include the time we've invested surveying the work of other artists so that it can inform and inspire us? The time spent driving to and from the art supply store to buy our canvases and paints? How do we account for these and countless other factors that contribute to our making a finished piece of art?

I suspect the question is asked so that the inquirer can get some sense of how much the item will cost, and allow them to make a value determination. But there's really no way an artist can provide a concise answer because so much of what we artists do lies well outside the realm of timeclocks and 40 hour work weeks.

Coming up with a fair and reasonable price is like herding cats. It's possible, but it's not easy. After getting out my calculator and crunching the numbers, I learn I should be charging $5,345.00 for mirror #2. Sounds good to me! So step right up, my friends! All major credit cards accepted!

Text and images ©2014 Lynn Edwards

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