This Carved Butterfly Bowl platter is turned on the Lathe. Once I am happy with the form and it is the proper thickness for carving I draw in the butterflies. Then I remove all the negative space between the butterflies with a high speed dental drill. The goal is to have the bowl held together just by the tips of the butterfly wings touching each other. The next step is the tedious process of filing down rough spots and sanding each butterfly to accept paint. Finally each butterfly is hand painted.
How Long Did It Take You?
So you may be asking yourself, “How long did this Carved Butterfly Bowl take?” There are several ways to answer this question. If I had a timer running during the entire process I would know how long I work on the piece. It is not important to me how many hours something takes. I enjoy the process. If I was doing production then it would be important to keep a timesheet. OK, so I didn’t answer your question. I probably have 40 hours of time into this piece.
There is also another way for an artist to answer the question, “How long did it take?” A Maker has spent untold years developing his or her craft. This includes the cost of lessons, wasted materials, mistakes, tools, etc.
There is a story that a restaurant patron asked Picasso for his signature. Picasso quickly drew a small image and signed it. When the patron reached for it, Picasso pulled back and said, It will cost $500. The patron responded it took you 2 minutes. To which Picasso replied, “It took me 30 years”.
So the question is, How long did it really take? How does an artist establish a price for a piece? If artists charged for the actual hours it took to make a piece, art would be too expensive to purchase. Therefore, most artists do not earn money for their time or worth. One afternoon, I was with a well known artist and his artist wife. The wife designed incredible sculptures out of glass beads. I knew the price range and asked How many hours do you have in the piece. Her response was over two weeks. I did the math and said that she was not making minimum wage. Her artist husband responded that most artists don’t make minimum wage for their art. It was at that moment it became clear to me that most of us do not create for money. We create because we have to.
If you like this piece, take a look at my favorite piece from my studio in Montvale, NJ USA https://www.aaturning.com/2013/04/02/2_/