Hand-painted, really?

This-is-me copyThis is not what I was going to blog about today, but I need to have a little, or not so little moan. This is how my morning started. Firstly, I received an email from a company asking me if I’d like to get my shop on the ‘1st page of Google’. That is, as you probably all already know, the first page listing web links when you do a Google search. Of course, naturally the listed websites depend on what you are searching for. I would be horrified if you were searching for ‘compost caddies’ and my webpage or image of one of my scarves appeared in front of you. Usually in the mysterious world of Google algorithms and SEO (search engine optimisation) simply typing in a few keywords is enough to generate the right useful links. As with much of life you are first hit with the ‘paid for’ advert links with Google and then, what Google call, the ‘organically’ generated links.

Just now I did a Google search to check if my shop was on the first page (I don’t pay for adverts). The search terms were ‘Hand painted silk UK’, results below.

Google-1st-pageThere aren’t many of us in the UK painting and selling one-off silk scarves and my shop is usually on the first if not second page along with other similar silk artists/painters. However, first thing this morning my search also threw up a link to the ‘Paul Smith’ international fashion business. It was the use of the words ‘hand painted’ I think that triggered the link.

PS1You can call me a nitpicking pedant for this comment, but here goes. The original design for this mass produced scarf  was ‘hand-painted’, but this scarf is a printed version of that hand painted work. It is most certainly NOT a one-off hand painted scarf.

Then there was this ‘Painted Garden’ silk scarf.

ps2I think calling this ‘Painted Garden’ is probably more acceptable especially as it is then described as a print silk square scarf. I guess what is happening is in these days with much textile design work being produced digitally that printing a design from an original hand-drawn or hand-painted artwork is now considered unusual enough to be a selling point.

However, I can’t help but feel that the marketing people are implying unique, one-off and hand painted in an attempt to make mass produced products somehow more wholesome and authentic and therefore deserve their ticket price of £110. You can tell this has annoyed me rather a lot. Genuine hand painted silk scarves take hours of work and every single scarf is unique. Sorry, rant over, but here is a photo of the real thing, an unrepeatable, hand-painted silk scarf. (Most certainly not licensed for digital printing either!)




Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

12 thoughts on “Hand-painted, really?”

  1. I am with you on this topic. I think the people who want to know the truth, they find it (truly handmade) and the others who don’t, would not care much even if they were told they were buying mass-produced in masquerade. In my tiny universe, people who want an original painting don’t look at prints, no matter how well-done, technologically, and the ones who are fine with the printed canvases, or whatever, don’t see any benefit to an original painting. I don’t like having the terms blurred, though, just as you say. I just keep reminding people – I’m one of a kind here! So is my work!

    1. Great comment – you are so right about the divide. Some people are simply not interested in having a ‘one only’, special piece and yet, as you say, the opposite group only want originals. I hadn’t really seen it so starkly before, but the more I’ve thought about it your point is very perceptive and correct.
      Thanks for the insight.

      1. I think all these years sitting in my booth at art fairs have developed my opinions on these matters. This is also why I think price does not matter in attracting someone to art work – the lowest price possible will not entice people who are not interested in an original, no matter what – and people who do want it, will buy according to their budget, of course, but not according to “getting a deal” or that kind of thing, and often they prioritize their discretionary spending for original art or craft items, whereas the other category of person never will.

  2. You’d think so wouldn’t you – the marketing people are simply grabbing at every opportunity these days. It’s tough times in retail again here in UK and I always know that because I (littlest minnow) get phone calls from the Ad/Sales Depts of some of the major fashion publishers trying to get me to buy outrageously priced ad space in their mags!!!!

    1. I get why the glossy mag ads don’t appeal. And is that the kind of places Paul Smith advertises?
      The challenge though is how to get the word out there that for the same price – and even less – the buyer can have a one-off hand-crafted item as opposed to the Paul Smith offering. I think you previously mentioned Etsy didn’t hit the mark? Your scarves are so special they strike me as the kind of thing a group of friends would club together to buy for a unique birthday present – do you offer gift certificates for those cases where they would prefer the recipient to choose colour and pattern? I wonder if there are marketing opportunities for that kind of target audience?

      1. Oh thanks for the gift certificate idea. I will investigate that as I know most of my sales have been as presents for somebody. And, as we all know, buying clothing for other people is very tricky. I do have an idea of my target audience and when I have made sales in real life those customers definitely fit what I expected.

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