Friday, July 5, 2013

Why is cane (miniature mosaic glass) so expensive?

I do get asked this all the time so I took a minute this morning, while waiting for the kiln to ramp up and ran some numbers, which I hope will help to explain:
in the short of it:
by time it is finished I am out about $500 worth of expenses and up to 400 hours of work
in the long of it:
for franchini (shaded) style of large size (30-40 mm dia) portrait cane:

three tanks of propane $66
pounds of glass?
15 pounds color $100-150
10 pounds clear $60- 80
electricity bill goes up $150-$200/ month
(example: 4 consecutive days in the kiln for ONE large component only)
two dead oxygen concentrators (machinery depreciation) $ 600
cutting blade #35
felt belt $35
cerium oxide $25
tools in need of replacing ?

grand total low end : $541 (not counting the dead machinery, damaged tools )
Optimistic, ideal timeline:
engineering: research, drawings, breakdowns, strategic planing  7 days
component building (5-6, +couple of redos) 14 days
coldwork 1 day
component assembly 2-3 days
25 days @ 8 hours a day = 200 hours
25 days @ 10 hours a day = 250 hours
25 days @ 12 hours a day = 300 hours

final cutting and polishing
coldwork 5-7 days
aprox 60 hours
I do take my time, I like them to be detailed, to my liking, sometimes the work gets stretched over couple of years even.

last but not least:
-skill building for over ten years (for me)
-rarity of an image ( I work small = low edition / production numbers)
-artistry, esthetic, mojo, spirit, Lucie touch (as my dear husband calls it)
-ten ears of extensive classical art education / training
than there is also:
-minor and major burns (comes with the territory, do not mind those)
-agonizing pain in my hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders
 (this is very personal, and I am tough as nails, not a complainer kind)
-severe allergy to cerium oxide polishing compound (this one is really lame!)

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