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Re: [BKARTS] Book Artists Unite?

John: If I spend my time and materials in excess of what I am being paid is
fair?  A Union of Book Artists would protect us against such usury.

Myself:  If you're spending time and materials in excess of what you're
being paid, then there is something, indeed, wrong with that picture.  Is it
fair?...absolutely yes.  Everyday, artists everywhere are working for the
love of their art.  If their art fails to materialize into a form of income
substantial enough to support their art as their livelihood, then their art
is relegated to a hobby.  If one, no matter how hard they try, cannot turn a
dollar from their art, they are to be faced with the grim reality that their
art will not be their livelihood.  This is the way supply and demand works.
 On the other hand, those who generally "make it" in the art world, do so at
great expense and over a great period of time and personal sacrifice.
 Granted their are a few exceptions I'm sure.

I would NEVER want my livelihood as a book artist/conservator/binder to be
unionized.  Never.  I'm grateful every day that I'm able to make a good
living at what I love.  Our business has only grown over the past year
despite the economic downturn.  We have diversified and branched out into
new markets.  It has worked for us and we're still here.  That's not to say
that any one thing, if different, could have resulted in me digging ditches
for a living again.  If one cannot make a living within their profession,
they're in the wrong profession.  If one cannot cover their materials and
their time enough to make it profitable, their business will not survive.
 That's just business.

I've always told my family that I will do whatever I have to do to put food
on the table.  If that means digging ditches or cleaning out port-o-johns
for a living instead of binding and conserving books, so be it.  I'm
grateful that that's not the case.  I believe that Peter's response summed
up my feelings perfectly...

Michael Atha
Restoration Books
Bindery & Fine Press

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