Do you make one-of-a-kind stained glass pieces? Unique original works of art? Or do you think of your work as generic and decorative? And what exactly is the difference?
I have always wondered about the "signed and numbered" phenomenon. Painters and photographers do this as a way of getting good prices for what are essentially copies of their work. It's an understood contract between buyer and seller that there are a set and limited number of copies and therefore each is worth more than just the cost of production plus profit; they have value as a "semi-unique" art work. But it's still a copy. So I've always thought there was something not quite right about that whole enterprise but I'm not exactly sure what it is.
Several years ago I decided that I was no longer an artisan but an artist. I naively thought that what this meant was I would do only signed, one-of-a-kind pieces and I advertised them as such on the website. I eventually sold them, not on our site but at art shows where I did not claim any one-of-a-kind status for them. But I kept the photos up on the web as examples of my work.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by someone who wanted one of the pieces on the web-page and I told her it had been sold. She asked me to make another one. Now, to be frank, this was our first possible commission in quite some time, so I agreed to draw up another pattern - I had thrown the original away - and recreate the piece. I felt that since the original buyer received no promise that I would never make a copy, I'm within my rights to do so. Or am I?
So...what would/do you do? Would you tell them that it's impossible, you can't recreate an original? Or do you consider every piece unique and one-of-a-kind in it's own way?