The art of the trade

When I was in grade school I remember trading all the time.  I would trade part of my lunch for part my friends lunch.  We would trade marbles, stickers, and candy with other kids at recess.  I made friendship bracelets (remember those) and hemp bracelets with carefully selected beads and charms to trade them with friends.  Trading was a social activity in grade school.


Traded away

I trade for lot of things, not just what I make.  I can trade a pound of freshly picked chanterelles for delicious jars of preserves or fresh fruit.  I can trade my time teaching someone how to bake for an over abundance of fresh ripe fruit.  I can trade my bookkeeping skills for 50 pounds of flash frozen, vacuumed packed fresh salmon.  I can trade my knit creatures for beautiful handmade pottery or gorgeous glass pieces.  

I rarely sell any of my work.  Almost all of the things that I make are gifted to friends and family or they are traded.  The reason that I don’t sell my work is that I don’t make things in production.  Each piece is usually one of a kind, unless I happen to need to create a large piece that has many parts or if I am making Christmas gifts for friends (each year I create a new series of pieces).  Another reason that I don’t often sell my work is that I am not good at pricing my pieces or my time.  So how do I get around that?  Yup!  You guessed it, the art of the trade.  Trading changes the way that people think about the value of items and time.  In my experience with trading I often get more value for my pieces than I would from someone offering to buy the same piece.  The key is to ask if they are interested in trading.

There are a lot of talented people out there in the world.  In fact I bet that you know a lot of them.