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What type wood turned pieces sell the best for me.

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Breck Whitworth, Dec 26, 2020.

  1. Breck Whitworth

    Breck Whitworth Sharp Dressed Woodturner

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    "Personally, I'd like to hear what you've learned about what sells, as that would tell me what people like in turned work. I'd like to be able to make gifts that friends and family will find pleasing, but the feedback I get is always politely favorable and therefore not educational."
    This was asked of me by a fellow woodturner recently so to answer his question I am posting this Thread.
    I will endeavor to cover as much info as I can in as few words as possible. Bowls are my best selling item always. I don't usually fool with anything less than 9 or 10 inches in diameter by 3" deep. Quality of work always matters, no tool marks, decent form, great finish. If all these are present even plain wood bowls will eventually sell. I always buff my bowls using the Beal buffing system. The few things I do different when buffing is, I never use Carnauba wax because of finger prints and water spots. I use a tiny dab of renaissance wax instead. Spalted wood is the Gold Standard for selling wood turned bowls for me. Almost any wood that is spalted will sell before non-spalted wood. Always sign your work, customers have told me if someone doesn't sign their work they don't want it. Don't be afraid to try different shaped bowls be creative or even unusual. It will surprise you how a customer will love one you think is weird or stupid looking. Utility bowls I only embellish marginally. A bead around the rim, or maybe a few beads around the outside of the upper 1/3 of the bowl to help someone grip a large bowl. For a utility bowl I always fill any small voids or non fatal cracks with 5 min. epoxy with a tiny bit of colored mica power mixed in. (pearl ex) I get mine from hobby lobby it comes in many different colors. I always go for a contrast color that shows up easily. Any tiny cracks or voids I just use saw dust and thin CA glue. For larger bowls I try to always have a slight undercut on the inside of the upper rim for the thumb to fit naturally when holding it. As I get older I realize gripping a large bowl can be hard if your hands are wet or just hurting that day. For Art type bowls natural voids can sell a piece, Natural edge bowls sell some, but never as often as a clean utility bowl if the customer is looking for a food use bowl.
    Art is what inspires me but it sells much less often than my bowls. I make salad tongs that are sought after and sell out quickly every year because they compliment my large salad bowls. I take a week every year and set up a series of stations or steps needed to make them. They are a lot of work but my customers love them. A customer asked me one day if I would like some advice on my salad tong sets, I didn't really, but I said sure. He said loose the fork and make two scoops. I asked him why, and he said so I can get the last crouton or good stuff from the bottom of the bowl. I've been making them that way ever since.
    I do make art type bowls and pieces to sell and to give as presents but again what most people come to me for is my utility bowls.
    My best selling wood is spalted sweetgum bowls they are stunning because of the incredible colors that develop. Any wood that is spalted has it's own beauty. Just finish turn it before it gets punky. salad tongs.jpg spalted sweetgum bowls.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020
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  2. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    That's a pretty wood, too bad it's not a MN tree. Nice work, and best wishes for healthy sales.

    Steve.
     
  3. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    So, when you're at a fair or show, as people come up to your booth, is there a particular item that people just immediately gravitate to?

    I have heard that it's important for the bowl to 'feel' right to people. When they pick it up and heft it, some are going to be lighter, some balanced slightly differently, some shaped differently. Is there a recipe to achieve the right 'feel'?

    I assume people next run their fingers down the inside wall and their hand around the outside of the bowl. What are they feeling for? What about that aspect of 'feel' is most desirable?

    What about wall thickness?

    When people finally select an item to purchase, what aspect of the piece seems to have been most persuasive in selling them on that particular one?

    Breck isn't the only one who has been successful at selling his work. What have the rest of you learned about what people like?
     
  4. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    "What have the rest of you learned about what people like?" I've mostly learned that the general public has no idea what to do with a wood bowl, and with that thought, they have no idea why they should spend over $50 for a nicknack. But there is the .1% that do appreciate the work and will buy. At least that's in my region. I have sold hundreds of $25 bird house ornaments in November and December only.
     
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  5. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

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    Natural edge bowls by far sell the most for me.
     
  6. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    Breck, agree with almost all your observations on what sells. It's also very hard to predict what will sell and can vary in different events around town. People often surprise me and will buy what I would not have suspected so I try not to make things that only appeal to me, or my wife. No one comes to shop for bowls with a pair of calipers to check wall thickness but, the bowl needs to feel "right" re weight and not be bottom heavy or clunky. They pick them up, feel that it's smooth inside. Big eye candy pieces are good to bring folks into your booth but really only sell at Christmas. I keep a few very big utility salad bowl style pieces on hand but hard to sell. They get picked up and admired many many times at an event but hard to sell. Variety helps - hollow forms, a few cutting boards, chopsticks, tongs, etc. Bowls dominate the inventory and event but a few other items scattered around help and do sell. I stick with walnut oil - it's a hand made wooden bowl. I want it to look and feel like a wooden bowl, not a plastic covered piece of wood. Very smooth and silky feel if wood allows but still wood. And yes, spalted sells much better. Darker sells better. Natural edge sells much better than traditional. I used to worry about losing the bark when turning. Doesn't really seem to make a lot of difference to folks.

    All that said - there is one thing I have found that really helps sell my stuff - make sure you tell them you made it, in your shop at home, by hand, from a log you got from the local area. Maybe even near where they live. The story of where it came from matters. People perk up and get interested when I tell them that. I've had folks walking buy and will mention that I make all that they see in my shop at home, very common for them to stop and come over, look and buy something. It's not made by others and sold by me. Meeting the person that made it, seeing them sign it, makes a difference.
     
  7. Dave Landers

    Dave Landers

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    I have a running joke with another local artist. When we're setting up for a show, he will ask "which one is it this time?" There is usually one piece that everyone picks up, but nobody buys. It's usually natural-edged burl bowl or a hollow form with natural voids or something similar. It has become "a thing" for me to place something like that in a prominent place to attract attention.
    And someone does eventually buy it, but it takes a while to find the right person.
     
  8. Chris Lawrence

    Chris Lawrence

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    I do the same thing normally a segmented hollow form or 2. I do not use tables in my booth i use wood shelving walls that i put in the back of my tent with a couple 3 tier pedestals that i stick near the entrance to boarder it. A couple high priced fancy items go on spots of the pedestals and a couple at eye level on the walls. This makes them look at my booth to start then walk in once they see the fancy things inside. Before i started doing this i noticed i would get alot of drive by glances. The new setup forces people in to take closer looks at everything. The expensive stuff rarely sells but a majority of the people that walk in leave with something $100 or less.
     
  9. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    Dave, I actually laughed out loud. My partner and I do the same thing. Which will get fondled today.? We've gone back to check the finish on a piece after it's been handled 50 times during the day. Twice I've put something out that is about as ugly a wood as you can get - we have some spalted persimmon that my wife can't bear to even look at. Makes her skin itchy feeling. Both times it has sold. Small "cereal bowl" style traditional bowls are hard to sell so at our last two events I stacked them up (I have a lot of them from my early days with a small lathe) on a bottom shelf and told people just to sort through them and find what you like - $15 to $20 each. They liked being able to rummage through the stacks and find 1 or 2 they liked. Not a great price but better than sitting in my storage cabinet at home.
     
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  10. Breck Whitworth

    Breck Whitworth Sharp Dressed Woodturner

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    Dean wall thickness is somewhat important but like what Randy said it has to feel good in their hands. Having the same thickness through out the bowl is always important. I will say this thin walled bowls sell, but never as many or as quickly as a bowl with some heft to it. Customers have told me if they want something thin walled they can buy plastic, but that a wooden bowl should feel sturdy/strong and that it will last over the years even if dropped. The average wall thickness for my bowls is 1/2" or a little less depending on the wood. A light wood may need a thicker wall throughout in order to feel good to a customer than say a dense wood like Live Oak or hickory. The natural beauty and the form they find pleasing draws them to a bowl then the smoothness and feel sell it. I try to have something for everybody. Cutting boards, inexpensive art type bowls (square bowls etc.) In MS people are 80% of the time looking for a bowl to use for food more than eye candy. That is why spalted woods sell so well white oak, red oak, hickory, poplar, magnolia, it doesn't matter the natural beauty of the wood sells itself to a degree. I don't do craft fairs any more because people want something for nothing. I only do art festivals where the work is juried. At these events you get customers who come to spend money on art usually but what we do is a beautiful art form also. I sell quite a few large salad bowls at these type events 15" to 19, then more medium sized bowls say 12" to 14", Then plenty of my smaller bowls 8" to 11" for gifts or in a price range that young couples or singles can afford more easily. Ladies like a deal many times I will see a customer keep coming back to the same piece over and over but not buying because the price is too high. I can't tell you the number of times like that by giving them a special deal by knocking off $10 because they seem to love that piece has worked. It's just a piece of wood and I want my customers to leave happy with my work and their buy. I would say 40% of my sales are repeat customers every year. I always have a draw item like the others have stated that sell rarely but draws customers into my booth. Natural edge vases, highly pierced platters, My striped bowls that always sell. or hollow forms.
     

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  11. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    For us hollow forms and platters that were carved or stained.
    Lighter woods seemed a bit more popular.
    hollow ball Christmas ornaments went fast in November.

    everyone knows that location and buyers are important. Two shows highlighted this for us.
    Right after we retired we applied for the Naval Academy Christmas show since we were unable to do it while working. We also dis the quiet water arts show a couple weeks later. A friend of ours did both shows. Our friends boot is stocked with at least 20 different items made from kits - pens, bottle stoppers, bottle opener, scoops.........

    The bad,
    Naval academy show our friend’s booth was in site. He had line of people waiting to pay all day.
    We covered the booth fee and little more maybe $400 in sales for the one day show. Total waste of time.

    The good
    two weeks later our friend had a terrible show and we had sold over $2,000 in the first 20 minutes and had a terrific 2 day show.
     
  12. John Hicks

    John Hicks

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    Around where we live (hoodsport WA) There is not many that desire a well made bowl. They think it shouldn't be more than $20.00 for anything hand made. Mostly retired and low income folks around here. I tried etsy, but wow, there are gillions of bowls for sale that I cannot even figure out how they sell them for that price with free shipping?
    Most available wood is big leaf maple, as fir and hemlock make unremarkable turned vessels.
     
  13. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Daily use utilitarian bowls always sold best for me. I probably sold equal $ worth of personal sized bowls, plates, and platters, and 'family' sized bowls. 'Art' pieces never sold well for me, probably in part because I don't have the eye for form on them that I do on utilitarian pieces. Natural edge bowls and hollow forms never moved well. That may have been due to the fact that most of my booth was devoted to utility and not art. Outside of that, I would move boxes and rolling pins fairly well. If I had some of the 'olive' Ash, I couldn't keep that on the shelves. No cherry out here. The Pacific Madrone sold better than the Oregon Myrtle Wood, which is actually California Bay Laurel. Part of that may be that every one here turns the myrtle, but not as many work with the madrone. Black walnut would either can't keep it on the shelves, or can't give it away, no in between on that. The warped bowls always sell very well for me. With show business, you never know, from show to show, and from year to year....

    robo hippy
     
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  14. odie

    odie

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    @Breck Whitworth .....:D

    You might want to do a little exploring on Etsy.
    etsy.com

    Find shops you like, and click on their number of sales near the top of their shop. There, you can see a pic of everything they've sold. This will give you a good idea of what is selling.

    I'm a bit different, because I always make what I like, and am really not focused on what I think someone else may, or may not like. It always seemed like a compromise to be spending primary effort to make sales, rather than pursuing one's own personal artistic interests. I am feeling fortunate that what I like seems to be selling reasonably well.

    Here's a link to what I've sold on Etsy:
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/EccentricOldGuy/sold

    Just keep in mind that there are thousands of successful shops on Etsy.....each with their own style. My personal contribution is very small, considering the whole. ;)

    Run a search on Etsy for "wood bowls", and you'll find a great range of turners to check out what they've sold.
    Whatever you do, make it your own, and not a copy of what others are doing. Currently, there are almost 50,000 wood bowls on Etsy. Click here:
    https://www.etsy.com/search?q=wood bowls

    -----odie-----
     
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  15. Richard Aldrich

    Richard Aldrich

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    Thank you for posting. Great information.
     
  16. Tom De Winter

    Tom De Winter

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    Beautiful pieces Odie
     
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  17. Steven Forrest

    Steven Forrest

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    As someone who has just started to seriously try to sell my work, I really appreciate this discussion. Would it be inappropriate to ask about pricing as well? I'm interested in both examples (12" utilitarian bowl with minimal decoration, 9" hollow form for display only, for example) and in principles (how do you set your hourly rate? How do you adjust for more sequences or difficult techniques?) What "decision points" do you use? I have gotten some good advice from local members, but I am interested in hearing from the broader community. I am finding it quite stressful to arrive at a price I think reasonably compensates me for my work, doesn't undercut the people who are making a living, and isn't wildly over or under the mark. Any and all thoughts gratefully entertained.
     
  18. Doug Rasmussen

    Doug Rasmussen

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    I intended to get into bowl turning in semi-retirement. Looking at what was in local galleries my guess is the turner is making almost nothing after the gallery's commission. Seeing bowls that must have taken half a day for 50 bucks was not encouraging. So I decided to do things others were not doing.

    Shown is an artichoke made as a top for a bedpost, 4 were done for a local furniture maker. The artichoke (which has since dried out and expanded) was scanned to create a 3D model. The model was conventionally rough turned leaving about 1/8" material on all surfaces. Then it was detail cut with a 1/8" round nose cutter.

    A little high tech, not expensive though. The scanning was done with photogrammetry. A digital camera took shots while I rotated the artichoke on a turntable in small angular increments. Open source (free) software creates the 3D model from the digital images. The cutting was done on my CNC mill, it could have been done on a CNC router under $2K from Woodcraft or Rockler.

    artichoke-gigapixel-scale-2_00x.JPG
     
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  19. Ed Davidson

    Ed Davidson

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    Wooden skill toys (yo-yos, finger-tops, throw-tops) is what I settled into after many years of turning other things. Gave up on regional consignment sales in 2008...too many oldsters retiring and taking up turning (competition), and commissions taking too much of a bite...as well as the hassles of having to constantly re-stock the shops and keep the owners honest about sales, theft and monthly payments. Had two consignment gigs close up and leave town without any notice, and steal all my stuff...that was enough for me.

    Switched to Etsy in 2008-2009 and was marginally successful...but when they changed the policy to allow mass production off-shore sales (and went public), I quit them as well. Been selling exclusively through Zibbet (Etsy clone with fixed annual fee & zero commissions) since 2014, and it's worked very well. About 80% of my sales are with repeat customers (collectors), and the remainder through word-of-mouth or social media postings (FaceBook, Pinterest and the like).

    226 throw-tops and 164 yo-yos made so far this year. About half were special orders. 80% plus of my revenue comes from exotic wood turnings with rose engine, inlays, color and other embellishments. That's my story...
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
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  20. Hugh

    Hugh

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    Years ago, I did a weekend show in the local Plaza. Had two tables full of "stuff". Had 20 hollow ball Christmas type of ornaments.
    First year.....sold 18 of the 20.
    Second year.....same show, same spot.....made a bunch of ornaments to make sure I had enough.......sold two.
    Can not figure out what people will purchase. Do not even try and figure it out anymore. Make what I want.
    If they buy it......great.
     
  21. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    I just like to try all aspects of turning. I sell at local craft shows and for me if I make booth fee it’s ok. Like Hugh, one time bowls will sell, net time lidded boxes, then something else. I don’t know if I will ever settle on just one type of turning.
     
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  22. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    This has been a great discussion. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

    i don't sell my work, so I'm not interested in 'what sells' for the sake of more sales. I make things for friends and family, who always say favorable things and therefore I have no real idea if what I'm making is pleasing or not. Those of you who sell your work get feedback, albeit sometimes hard to interpret.

    And Odie, if I had any artistic sensibility, I would make what I wanted, too. But I don't, so I'm left trying to guess what people will like to own and try to make that.
     
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  23. Breck Whitworth

    Breck Whitworth Sharp Dressed Woodturner

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    I will add a little more to this thread. I turn bowls and make art pieces because I truly love doing this. I want to make every piece as well as I can and to make something even if simple so well I don't mind putting my name on it. In the beginning I couldn't afford a whole lot of fancy tools. As a retired high school teacher retirement was wonderful as far as time went but woodturning tools were hard to come by. Finally my sweet wife told me if I didn't sell some of my work we wouldn't have a single square inch of space in out house. When she told me that my reaction was do you really think anyone would buy any of the stuff I've made? She said most definitely they will. I was encouraged but still skeptical. I did my first art festival not having a clue as to how much to charge for my bowls and stuff. I sold large salad bowls for a little over a $100.00 , they sell for much more now, but I was amazed anyone would pay that much for my bowls. People called others out of town and told them to come get one of these large bowls before they were gone. They would say your prices are way to low maybe a hundred or more. I just told them enjoy the low prices then. It's just a piece of wood, but inside I was just so happy they loved my work. I give away a lot but an old woodturner from Belize told me something I will always remember. He said all the nice words about your work are fine and dandy but the greatest compliment someone can give your work is if they are willing to open their wallet or purse and buy it. Making money is wonderful but If I didn't really love doing this there is no way I would be doing it. No wood turner unless famous probably ever gets paid for all the time effort and supplies we put into it. But if you love what you do then sales are just a wonderful blessing on top of the joy we get from turning. If people have joy in receiving a gift we've made we've been paid that way. What we do is art in my opinion, a simple plain bowl done well especially like Odie makes is a true piece of art.
     
  24. odie

    odie

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    Breck...... As I read your post, there were several times I was struck that you said things that I had also felt! I'm sure your words ring true for a few other forum members, as well. Of course, most of us want to make a few sales, but there is something deeper and more meaningful to be creating something that a few others can find a little joy, especially those people who are a part of our lives......certainly this whole experience is "soul food", if you will! :D

    -----odie-----
    keep on turnin'.jpg
     
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  25. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

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    I was selling at a commission place, sold a few pieces but it wasn't much worth it. Now I just sell word of mouth and strangely enough at the meat shop my wife works at. They refuse to charge me (so I pay them with turnings)anything and things sold like crazy there this year. Ok well crazy for me. 20 some odd bowls and the 5 or 6 ornaments. I dont have a finished bowl left which is nice.
    I don't really want this to become a second job so i just sell what i turn i more than i turn to sell. Im going to be making this stuff anyway and if people other than my family want it that's awesome.
     
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  26. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Eventually, everything goes. No matter the price or the size. Someone above said the artist gets next to nothing from a gallery. I get a nice check every month from the art gallery where I sell a lot of my work. I do prefer to sell direct, all goes to me, LOL In Hawaii we are very lucky, we probably command the highest prices in the USA. Someone just asked me how much for a Koa blank. 14 inches wide, 7 tall. Average Koa, that would be about $150, with figure up to $300 or more depending on the curl. You already have $300 in wood, add that to about $500 for a common bowl. More if I carve some feet, or even more for a natural edge. If I have to say, my best sellers are Milo natural edge bowls. The last one sold the very same day I dropped it off.
     
  27. Tom Gall

    Tom Gall

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    Funny! I've had the same experience about 20 years ago with ornaments! I believe it was the first year I sold my disc-style ornaments - sold more than two dozen. Thought I better stock up for the following year .... sold one!!! I've found this predicament to be true with other items throughout all my years of doing shows. I've always said that art & craft shows are a CRAPSHOOT!!!
     
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  28. Ron Solfest

    Ron Solfest

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    I like what Breck and Odie have said. “Soul food” is a good way to think about turning for me.

    I’ve done woodworking all my life, and enjoy it. When I got my first lathe 25+ yrs ago I found that I “play” when turning as opposed to making needed things when I do flat work. I enjoy them both, but clearly nourish my soul more on the lathe.

    My turning has been off and on with raising kids and a career. After retiring 7yrs ago I started turning more. And this past year with the pandemic has limited our traveling and socializing, so I’ve spent even more time in the shop.

    My relatives and friends have probably been gifted more bowls than many care about over the years. Fortunately my turning, and eye, have improved with time but still there are things I recognize I could have done better, or differently, on each piece. And I sand too much!

    While I enjoy every turning I do, and have a relationship with each piece and like them; but at some point there’s just not enough space in the house for more.

    I’m not interested in turning my joy into a business. We’re not rich, but clearly have more than we need when we look around. So this year I held a couple charity fundraisers exchanging my turnings for donations to a local food shelf, and another to a hospice. Most of my turnings are candy dishes and small plates. Some bowls from friends trees over the years (9-14 inches, some natural edge), but mostly pieced bowls and plates (remember I grew up with flat work and am not quite sure about edge grain gluing :), besides I really enjoy the arcs in a glued up pieced bowl).

    I priced things from $15-$45, with most pieced ~6” bowls at $35; all going to charity. I was gratified that both events went very well and we raised over $1k for each of the charities. Humbled that some donated more than I was asking, and others have called or asked to buy more. Gives me encouragement to turn more inventory to do it again, and keep attempting to make a piece that I don’t make mistakes on...fortunately I’m getting better at covering up those mistakes:)

    Sorry, I took this thread a little sideways, but Odies “soul food” comment inspired me...
     
  29. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Eugene, OR
    I always called myself a 'semi pro' which means I made enough money to support my habit, but not enough to make a living at. I love spending time making stuff with my hands.

    My small sized bowls go for 10 to 30 or so depending on size and the wood. The larger family sized ones go for 50 to 200 or so. I don't make any over about 14 inch diameter. Trying to figure out price/hour is difficult. In part, this is because when I started, an 8 by 3 inch bowl took me 45 minutes to an hour, and when I quit doing production work, I could turn a 3 by 10 inch bowl in about 5 minutes. When I did shows, I would go around to other booths and check out what others were selling their stuff for. This gives you a good idea of how to price your stuff. I also compared my quality to theirs. I tried to have stuff for every budget. including tops, rolling pins, boxes, spurtles, Irish potato mashers. Most of my stuff was made for daily use, and not 'artistic'.

    The biggest difference between selling at shows and selling at a gallery is your time. It takes a lot of time and effort, and some times travel expenses if you go to shows. If you sell through a gallery, they do all of that for you, but they charge you for that. Personally I liked the shows because I got to interact with the customers, and I did a lot of trading for presents, and food.... There is usually good food at shows, and I love good food. Taking your own plate to a food booth is good advertising.

    robo hippy
     
    Dean Center, odie and Ed Davidson like this.
  30. Timothy Hoyt

    Timothy Hoyt

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2018
    Messages:
    5
    Location (City & State):
    Clyde, North Carolina
    When I retired I sort of dreamed of selling my work. I made every mistake in the book and slowly became sort of good. I joined a "arts council" gallery and worked very hard to get several pieces in a show. I mean I worked very hard and long hours. One piece sold and I brought the rest home. Had a disagreement with the gallery and gave up making things to sell. I have said many times that making stuff to sell sucks all of the joy out of turning and I believe(d) it. Now I am at a point where all of my friends, relatives, neighbors, etc have plenty of my bowls and really don't need/want another one.
    So now I'm thinking about jumping back into the selling arena. Ha ha! Reading this thread closely!
     
    Emiliano Achaval and John Walls like this.
  31. John Walls

    John Walls

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2020
    Messages:
    171
    Location (City & State):
    Larimore, ND
    I agree 100% with that statement! When I retired I made decent $$ doing flatwork. I very quickly came to see it like a job.... now I rarely touch my tablesaw and other tools as it sucked the joy out of it. I give-away all my turnings but I don't think I will every get good enough to sell any. If I was to sell any of them.... I know from experience I would stop enjoying my hobby very fast and that would end my wood-turning pleasure. Some folks enjoy it and I am happy for them. For me, it's a hobby and will always stay as a hobby. I'm retired permanently, I earned it.
     
    Ron Solfest likes this.
  32. Donovan Bailey

    Donovan Bailey

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2017
    Messages:
    212
    Location (City & State):
    Gainesville, VA
    Tablesaw? What is a tablesaw?
     
    John Walls likes this.
  33. robo hippy

    robo hippy

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,048
    Location (City & State):
    Eugene, OR
    Being retired, which means I get to spend more time in the shop, means that I am playing rather than working. I only have one show I will do, and it was cancelled last year, and probably this coming year due to the virus. With a gallery, they do the work of selling for you. Some are better than others. With a show, you do the work of selling, and I always found that fun. The problem with shows is that you never know what will sell and what won't, and which are worth the effort. I was lucky to have a very strong Saturday Market with years of being in the same place. A great start. It was hooked up with the local Farmer's Market so there was always a crowd. Still, every day down there seemed to be some one's best day, and some one else's worst day. That's show business.... I did get a lot of leads on 'wood' for bowls...

    robo hippy
     
  34. Philip Rose

    Philip Rose

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2016
    Messages:
    22
    Location (City & State):
    Sodus, New York
    Home Page:
    It's that big metal table in the shop holding all of the turnings in process ... lol

     
  35. John Hicks

    John Hicks

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2020
    Messages:
    257
    Location (City & State):
    Hoodsport, Washington
    This COVID-19 thing has decreased sales for many, increased sales for others. The local art store here in Hoodsport Wa, has a 35% commission. No complaint from me because I know it costs them to keep the store running. Of course it also pushes my prices up so high that very few will buy a bowl or vessel, unless it’s very small or under $50.00.
    So thinking I was going to do real well; I was shocked to be making about 1/3 of the rate I charged in the 90’s for furniture and the few turnings I made then.
    I cannot bring myself to “speed up” production, as that just makes it miserable.
    I think I’ll start selling salad bowls made from fir, ugly, but useful?
     
  36. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2017
    Messages:
    681
    Location (City & State):
    Jasper, Alabama
    I was in Pen production work for five years and I was selling on Etsy and Galleries, Company's and word to mouth. I did not have time to do craft shows. Yes, I made a good profit..........enough to buy supplies and put a little $ in the bank. :)

    After 5 years of turning just pens I was getting burnt out and it began to be more work and less enjoyment............:( so I shut down my pen production work. I still wonted to turn simply for the enjoyment and relaxation. So I started turning bowls, platters and and vases. I'm having so much now I don't even look back!! :D
     
  37. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    Messages:
    2,327
    Location (City & State):
    Maui, Hawaii
    Home Page:
    I disagree. There is no better joy than counting 20 $100 Dollar bills that a happy customer hands you for a nice Koa Calabash. Then you get invited to the retirement luncheon and they have you there to talk story with the retired CEO about the piece. My biggest motivation is the talk at the end of the year with my Tax guy, what a great year you had! Puts a smile on my face. I have had the let down of a Gallery telling me a few years ago that my work did not have a wow factor, I was not invited, LOL
     
  38. robo hippy

    robo hippy

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,048
    Location (City & State):
    Eugene, OR
    A story I like to tell involved a ceramic artist. I could tell he was trying to be polite and not offend. "All of your pieces are so utilitarian." Yup. I don't have the eye for 'art' type pieces, though I do put a few more curves in some of them now. I don't think I have ever sold, or had any bowls that could go for $2000..... Well, maybe in New York or LA. Have one friend who has a gallery in LA and he was happy to pay my retail prices because he could double them in LA. The Market you are selling can make a huge difference, just like the type of show you are selling in can make a huge difference. I found it very difficult to sell solid wood furniture to people who wanted Ikea prices, and Ikea wasn't around back then.... Do what ever makes you happy...

    robo hippy
     

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