Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hand Embroidery Versus Appliques

I love to embroider. It's like painting with threads. I can create images on a guitar strap that you just will not find anywhere else and that makes my customer and me both feel very special; however, in addition to being enormously gratifying, it's also time-consuming, detailed, and expensive. So, the balance I have to strike as an artist is this: I want a certain look; now, how do I achieve that and still keep my straps affordable? One thing I can do is forgo creating that look (which is not an acceptable solution to me) or I can look for the most cost-effective way to render that look. Sometimes, nothing will do but to hand embroider what I or my customer wants. But, sometimes, appliques will suffice and keep the strap within financial reach of my customers. My customer gets the look he/she wants at a reasonable price and I get a sale... everyone's happy and that's how all transactions should be.

So, when do I use appliques? I use them primarily when the look I want to create is technically beyond me. For example, here's a guitar strap with flower appliques only -- no handwork by me beyond stitching the strap together and making the leather tabs. As you can see, there's a lot of seamstress work required to create the gold flowers. If I tried to make these myself, I'm not sure they'd look as good and, even if they did, they would cost my customer quite a bit of money. I can buy these appliques for so much less than I can make them for that it's simply in my customer's best interest for me to do that. And who am I here to please? My customers!

Sometimes what I want to create simply can't be easily created without using appliques. For example, I have a guitar strap that is a combination of hand embroidery and appliques. While I could have embroidered the sunflowers without difficulty, I couldn't have extended them beyond the edge of the strap, which was my goal. The solution? Appliques.

Finally, monogramming... It's not cheap, especially if the customer wants some very ornate or large font. I have a strap that is one single letter, the customer had limited funds, and the solution was an applique, giving the customer a unique look for her strap without costing her more than she could afford.

Then, there are customers who want what they want and are willing and able to pay for it. The strap below is hand-embroidered lettering and cost the customer a substantial sum. But, that's what he wanted and that's what he got.

My point is this: my task is to create guitar straps that please my customers while staying within their budget. I gladly use whatever devices are available to me in order to accomplish that one single goal. If I can save my customer money while creating what they want, all the better. I want my customers to be happy. Thanks for reading! Terri