Artist / craft maker – is it a proper job?

I’m sure if you are a maker of art or craft you have probably heard the comment “it’s not a proper job”. I’ve even been guilty of saying this myself. So what makes a proper job?

Is it about money?

Is a proper job defined by earnings? Take a brain surgeon, I think we would all agree that his job is a ‘proper’ one, but then nurses are paid far less but they do just as valuable job, so the amount paid doesn’t constitute a proper job.

Is it about time?

Most people will work about 35 – 40 hours a week in full time employment.  I spend all my waking hours working, apart from a few hours a week shopping and doing housework. If I’m not making I’m doing one of the whole host of other tasks associated with being a designer maker selling online. It’s not just 5 days a week either, if a commission comes in I work on it over the weekend, and there’s trips to the post office, and keeping the books. Even when I do allow myself a trip out I’m looking for inspiration, and taking photo’s, it’s all part of the job. It’s a way of life really.

So is it about working from home?

I think I answered that in the question above, I do know if I went out to work my house would be a lot tidier  and my life would be easier.

Could it be about flexible working?

That could possibly have been so once upon a time but now lots of people work flexible hours, and even from home.

What else could it be then?

Could it be about job satisfaction and a feeling of worth that you get when you create beautiful items? If so then I have that in abundance, I love what I do and get an immense feeling of satisfaction from what I do.

So I’ve got to thinking maybe it comes down to a lack of understanding,  our work is unconventional, but so are we; as artist’s we strive to be different and find our own voice. So maybe when people say it’s not a ‘proper’ job what they really mean is that we have an unconventional one?

I’d love to hear your thoughts …………


About eganj1

Obsession making arts crafts, and all things creative
This entry was posted in kiln fired art. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Artist / craft maker – is it a proper job?

  1. Jolene says:

    A very interesting read Jill, yes, artist/crafter does seem to = not a proper job to many people I talk to and in a way I don’t feel like I have a “proper” job sometimes because I love what I do far too much 😀

  2. glassygear says:

    This is very tricky.
    I consider myself to be both, evolving from one into the other over the years, and here is why.
    There is a subtle difference in peoples perceptions when you use the word artist vs crafter. If you are a crafter, it is usually perceived to be a little hobby, that may bring in some pin money, and not really a proper job, whereas if you are an artist, you are producing something from a much deeper well of creativity, that deserves more recognition, and is worth more in value. It does not matter that you have to hone and perfect your skills in both instances.
    Surely loving what you do is best job satisfaction you can get. Each piece created is a little piece of art, and we do not always give ourselves credit. So yes, it is proper job. (Artists traditionally starved in garrets before gaining recognition and fame didnt they?, These are modern times so I’m doing my starving in a semi-detached house).

  3. I get that!…because you’re around, you’re expected to answer the door, phone, chores, shopping, emergency errands…etc….no different to being a Mother!!..;o)x

  4. Laney says:

    Ummm…my sis in law pops round from her ‘proper’ job, £12,000 a year to push bits of paper round and answer the phone, meanwhile she pays for someone to have her daughter after school, she does that five days a week 9-5. I work from the second I wake up, I take my kids where they need to go, I clean the house, walk the dogs, look after the chooks, mogs etc., run errands for everyone, am always available for last minute babysitting details and dog caring (sis in laws) always available during school holidays and weekends, meanwhile, I am busy away in my shed during every available spare moment between all of the above until I am ready to go to bed. If having a proper job means getting dressed up and leaving the house and my kids then no, I don’t do that, but I do work, I do earn a bit of money towards family/house expenses and I have raised my kids and I have never ‘booked’ time off work to do that. So when people drop round because ‘they know I wont be busy’ I do have to bite my tongue!

  5. katnewman says:

    This reminds me of that quote ‘If your job is doing something you love, you will never work another day’

    Perhaps its about perception of work, do we have to be miserable and downtrodden for it to qualify as ‘work’ – or is this bourne of other peoples jealousy because they have not found their ‘bliss’? Either way I say sod ’em!! Lol.

    Also rather tired of people deciding that Im not busy and at their beck and call during the work day but am getting better at standing up to them!

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