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The Economics of Art

2 min read

half finished oneys in the kiln being fired

I wish I could tell you all my pieces got driven only by passion. That I lived out my ideals even if that meant starving as an  artist and making the world my canvas.

As if the pursuit of art mattered more than anything else in the world.

Not for me. My two kids fill that role. So that means paying the bills.

Loving What You Hate

That means spending a few days making oneies.

In many ways I hate it. Feel like the rock musician stuck playing covers in the wedding band. You get home pick up your axe, but simply too tired to strum a tune.

Yet you get to rest easy knowing you have taken care of the family.

Economics influences any piece of art. We do not create free from constraint. Those few artists who can usually burn bright, but flame out quickly. Being free of reality ain't any easy road to travel.

I want to be here for the long haul. That means buckling down and making oney's (oneys, oneies, oney's?? I have no idea).

I have to keep a hundred one-hitters in stock at all times, I have thirteen. Most shops will order them in batches of fifty or a hundred. I sell three to four hundred myself on the summer circuit. 

Gotta make the donuts.

The margins are already slim. I sell one hitters  retail at $10.00 and wholesale anything over 25 pipes at $8.00. Probably a lead-loss, but it's not about the first pipe (though selling someone their first piece of art rocks), it's about the second and third. 

Almost every shop or person who buys a oney from me comes back for their next piece and they usually bring a friend.

So I love that which I hate.  I practice patience. Glass blowing is breath control. A constant meditation.   Making one hitters provides me an opportunity to focus on presence. You can crack the cheapest piece or most expensive.

You work tube to tube, piece by piece. 

In each breath I blow into the glass  I share my love for my wife and our children. Almost in these tiny pieces than in my grandiose work. I make one-hitters for love, not for art, and it is for that reason that become art.

Art that pays the bills. 

@kevoglassman