Friday, April 8, 2016

Made To Fail

Ever here of Planned Obsolescence?

It's a very bitter subject for me as an artisan. But many people don't have a clue of the existence of such a concept. 

Planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence in is a policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time. The rationale behind the strategy is to generate long-term sales volume by reducing the time between repeat purchases.

Producers that pursue this strategy believe that the additional sales revenue it creates more than offsets the additional costs of research and development and opportunity costs of existing product line cannibalization. In a competitive industry, this is a risky strategy because when consumers catch on to this, they may decide to buy from competitors instead.

The problem with this theory is that ordinary, everyday consumers have become complacent. Many choose brand over all else. I doubt they can take all the blame for it. These brands have more money behind them than they know what to do with. Endless money is put into advertising and packaging. But the construction of the product is always contracted to the "LOWEST BIDDER".

That means that the cheapest possible materials are often the ones used. The workforce may not be quite as skilled as they need to be. And you'll be spending more money on replacements because you wanted that deal than you would if you had just gone for quality in the first place. It may not always be the case. But think on it. Let it sink in.

As Artisans...

Me Making an Heraldic Crest
We put so much of ourselves in what we make. I talk about bleeding a bit with every piece I make. It's just about true. There aren't too many days I walk out of my workshop without shedding a little blood in the name of my craft. I'm also a bit of a clutz. That could be part of it.

But it means something to me when I know that people have put their love into making something. I would hope it means as much to the buyer as it does to the maker and vise versa. 

There is a great deal of satisfaction to be gained from making something well, of such superior quality that you know it is going to stand the test of time. It makes the hard work and the obsessing over each and every detail worth all the effort. That’s our reward. Being able to provide for our families couldn't hurt.

That being said...

...I'll see you on the Dark Side.

And now for something completely different... 

Some artists simply boggle the mind. That's the case with my friend Bev. I can tell you one thing.
This will blow your mind.

Here's a snippet from her own website:

Bev is one of those annoying creative types who is into everything. Once upon a time, that was called being a 'Renaissance Man' (or Woman, as the case may be), but these days she's just accused of having a short attention span, or alternatively, having ADD. Frankly, Bev has never met another artist who doesn't have ADD - too much creativity and too little time will do that to a brain. And when we say she's into everything, we pretty much mean it. Over the course of time, including grade school (hey, it counts!), she has done: painting (watercolor, oil, acrylic), drawing (crayon, pencil, colored pencil, ink, chalks, pastels, charcoal, etc.), sewing, costuming, beading, quilting, millinery, needlework (embroidery, cross-stitch, punch-needle, goldwork), leather work, metal work, wood work, faux-finishing, upholstery, gardening, herbology, floral arranging, cake decorating...the list goes on and on.
Amazing Pinup From Longfellows Designs

My favorite weapon in Bev's arsonal is her amazing talent for constructing miniatures. Her pinups are fantastic. Her pirates are amazing. What's not to like? She's brilliant. So is her work. It's the type of excellence that will last a lifetime.

Bev got into sculpting quite by accident, or maybe it was Fate, we're not sure. The only time she had tried sculpting before (not counting Play-Doh and the obligatory pinch-pot in third grade art class) was in art school. When the beginning level sculpting class began with subtractive method sculpting on a piece of
Dollhouse Mantle From Longfellows Designs
marble (basically, students were told 'go pick out a rock and start sculpting, and oh, don't forget to pay for your rock'), Bev, along with many others, dropped the class like the proverbial hot rock. She hadn't given a thought to sculpting since. Fast forward to October 2006, when she took a doll-making class and discovered Art Dolls, polymer clay, and a hidden talent. Although Bev had re-entered the world of cloth dolls in 2001, and was fairly happy in that world, the Art Doll world offered something extra, and she's been hooked ever since.

Wanna see what Bev's been up to? Me too. Go check it out.

Watches from DSC

You can never have too much time on your hands. Check out these watches from DSC's new Secret Stash. Tempus Fugit.
Why Wear Anything Else?