What's the line between satisfactory for you, the maker, and decent for the buyer?
I find it's always do difficult to price my own work. I mean, that selfish part inside of me wants to set the highest value possible, while the more modest (or maybe realistic) part insists that no one in their right mind would buy anything from me (who is pretty much a nobody in the art world) unless it was dirt cheap. Finding that happy medium between the two has caused me a lot of dissonance. The battle between the greedy and the modest is constantly changing, as one day I'm justifying a high price, while maybe an hour or so later, the value drops tenfold. I make coil baskets out of pine needles, and a moderately-sized piece could take ten hours or more to make, but once it's finished, I start to wonder whether it is visually worth the compilation of materials, and minimum wage+(?) for time required to put it together?
With practice, and putting in the hours, I know I'll improve both the speed and quality of the things that I am making. But at the present, a relatively small pine needle coil basket (about the size of an apple or orange, for comparison) will take me roughly between seven and ten hours to complete. At the minimum wage in california ($8.00 per hour), the basket the size of an orange could run something between $49 to $72(or maybe more, if I calculated for complexity, design, broken sewing needles, that huge ugly man-callous building on the side of my forefinger, ect). There are some people out there who would be willing to pay that much (or more) for something like that, but I think there are so many more who either cannot afford that, or would not put the personal value of a basket that high. after all, it's just a little basket right? And they could just go to the dollar tree and buy a wicker basket that would hold all their fruit, produce, or become an adorable bed for their toy poodle for just over a dollar.
I'm not writing this because I am having trouble selling baskets (at the moment, I've sold all the ones I've made to sell), but rather because I'm struggling to find that division between selling myself too short, and thinking too highly of my work to justify higher prices.
So this is where I'm asking you: if you sell your own art, how do YOU place a value on it?
Do you base it on the materials? Or design? Intricacy?
Or the time it takes to turn your raw materials into something beautiful or useful, or that makes a statement?
Do you take in account the wealth of your area? Of yourself? Of the people who are considering your work?
Do you look at the demand and availability of your particular craft? Or even what sets yours apart from what other people are doing?
... So I guess it still boils down to: what is your hour worth?