A friend (erm… an acquaintance, more like) recently sent me an email that went something like this (paraphrased with typos and spelling issues corrected – also, used the Canadian/UK spellings as opposed to American spellings, because I’m nit-picky like that – my comments are the ones in brackets):
Hey Michelle!!!!!!!! How are you?? Happy new year! Hope school is going well!!!!! [Holy @#$%, overuse for exclamation marks, much?]
Anyways, you know how you make jewellery? [I do?!] I was hoping you could tell me what I would need to buy to make my own!!! [Why so many exclamation marks? I going to have to charge you $1 for each one you misuse. I think I’m up to $10+ now – my craft habit thanks you.] I only have $15 to spend and I’d really like to make whole sets since it’s so cheap to make – I want to sell them online [You and everyone else who’s ever made a pair of earrings.] So if you could give me a list of things that I would need, that’d be great! Could I also get some beads from you? I know you have a lot and you could probably spare some. I’d like them in different shades of the colour yellow.
Thanks! Love! [Again with the exclamation marks!]
*Name removed to protect the rather rude and pushy*
This made me face palm. Don’t worry, the person who sent this doesn’t read my blog (or my crafts site, for that matter).
Because, you know, the only purpose of me buying beads(and other materials) is to give them away to anyone who asks – right? Yeah… Sure. I mean I could spare some. If I a) liked the person and b) was willing to help the person out. But not after that disgustingly badly worded email.
Here was my reply:
*Name removed to protect the rather rude and pushy*
Happy new year. School’s going decently, I guess. It’s only been one week of the new term though, so I will wait and reserve judgment on my classes until after most of my midterms.
Anyways, for making jewellery, you’ll want to get a set of pliers (the kind for making jewellery – not the large types you find in hardware stores). You’ll want round nose, needle nose and flat nose pliers. All three alone, if you’re getting decent ones, will probably go for $10 each. You can get tubes of seed beads from $1-$5 per tube, you can also get strands of beads from $3-15 per strand. Sorry, I can’t afford to spare any beads right now – poor student and all. I’d suggest going to the store when there’s a sale or buying jewellery from thrift stores and reworking them into something different.
I really dislike people who think that making jewellery (or crafting anything) is a cheap hobby.
The only reason I don’t think of my hobbies as being “really” expensive is because I build my materials over a long period of time (been making jewellery since ~2000/2001 and seriously knitting & crocheting since ~2006). And while it can be inexpensive to make your own jewellery compared to commercially-available pieces that are mass-produced, it is still not a cheap hobby. I can going into my bead stash and pull out single beads that are several dollars each. I can pull out a pair of pliers that was over $20. If I were to sit down and do the math (which would probably make me ill from thinking about it), I probably have way more money invested in beads than I do in anything else in my house (including Blythe dolls, textbooks and my yarn stash).
I started off with inexpensive materials (i.e. a single pair of needle nose pliers, a bag of plastic beads, fishing line for stringing material*), but I grew out of all of that in order to move onto bigger and better things. If someone had told my 10-year-old self that I would one day have beads that cost more than $0.05/each, I probably would have laughed at the thought of it (however, I adore handmade lampwork beads and am willing to pay for them).
While I am willing to help out friends when they’re interested in the hobbies that I happen to do (i.e. making jewellery, crocheting, knitting, etc.) I am unlikely to be willing to help someone who actually straight out asks me to give them some of my stuff (like yellow beads? I just checked, I only have yellow beads in the form of Czech glass seed beads. And I’m keeping them). When one of my friends mentioned that she wanted to learn how to knit a scarf (simple ribbing for 6+ feet – she’s a crazy one), I offered to help because she confessed that she didn’t quite “get” it from the illustrations in a book. I was fine with helping her, she wasn’t asking me to give her a pair of needles and a ball or two of yarn – she didn’t even ask for help! (I don’t think she knew that I knitted at that point). But being asked, directly, to part with some of my crafting materials because I could “probably spare some”? Really?!
Yeah, I’m surprised that I even dignified them with a response.
* Ahem, don’t use fishing line for stringing material if you can help it. Nylon coated stainless steel wire is so much better (and also lasts longer). And please, for the love of all things good in the world, don’t use elastic unless it’s something for someone under the age of 10. It gets brittle, it snaps, it breaks, it easily gets cut by the inside of beads. Shall I go on?