Search strings, voyeurism & the value of art

Is it voyeuristic to peek in at an old discussion thread in which you didn't participate and then tell your blog's readers about it ages later? That's just one of the questions on my mind this morning.

Peeking in at my stats that tell me how people have found my website, I noticed the search string "artist Jes MaHarry-website" which someone had searched through Yahoo.  My own site appears 12th on a list of 198 results. What caught my eye when I followed the link and led to the question of voyeurism, was #13. (Although likely the original searcher probably actually wanted to see Jes MaHarry's jewelry, and was looking for her site, which I love...I'm off in left field following my own internal tangent. Care to join me?)

The 13th result in that search takes us to a discussion at Art Jewelry Magazine's forum concerning the value and perceived value of handmade items. I won't rehash the entire exchange here, as you can read about it over there if you're interested. But reading someone else's exchange brought me back to what's been a theme in my life for such a long, long time. Whether determining the price to charge for my photography, pottery, jewelry...or anything else I've created over the years - even scarves, once I learned how to make those! - the question always emerges within my artist communities.

Just as more than one participant pointed out in the online discussion I've referenced, my college photography teacher, Susan Mullally reiterated all those years ago, people who value and buy art and handcrafted items know that they're not only paying for a simple photograph. Those buyers value, too, the years of training the artists have sought. They're paying for the knowledge that we'd gained in learning to "look for light" rather than just shooting the occasional quick snapshot here and there...the training to look at the world a little differently, always ready to capture with our cameras what others might miss. (I'm butchering Susie's words, no doubt, but there's a gist I hope I've hit, at least.)

Nowadays I'm not shooting many photos, unless they have my nephew in them, but so many of Susie's lessons remain with me, and have transferred over to my work in clay and metal and beads. I guess that's why that discussion concerning the designs of artisan jewelers like Jes MaHarry captured my attention. It occurs to me that there will always be those who "don't get" the value of artisan work. Which is fine, of course, since we can't all value the same things and have such an interesting world.

How to stop a Saturday morning post when you haven't really made any concrete points but merely threw out some tangentially related thoughts? Perhaps by just wishing the readers a great weekend and taking another sip of this yummilicious coffee. Cheers!