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Fly Free, Little Turkey Hat!

NO WAIT DON’T! Turkeys can’t flyyyyyy!

La Conner Turkey Hat

At any rate, yesterday I dropped my Turkey Hat off at the Museum of Northwest Art store, where it will be displayed for sale in the month of June.

This is for an event called Cash Cow Days, where artists’ themed work (cows and this year turkeys) is put on display in local stores. When they sell, the money is split 60/40 with the La Conner Kiwanis club – an organization that does a lot of good around here.

The hat is a work of art, in an art show, and it’s priced accordingly: $185, which is a fair price considering my time and experience. Still, I expect it to raise a few eyebrows.

So many threads to unpack, there.

Women and artists: two groups which often struggle with pricing their work fairly. We want to apologize, we don’t want to be too forward, we are enculturated to be self-deprecating. We glance away, we demur, we speak with deference. We are instructed not to rock the boat, to keep quiet unless we have something “nice” to say, to modulate our tone, to politely refuse the spotlight.

Then you bring in the line between “art” and “craft.” Most people are accustomed to thinking of anything hand-knit as a “craft.” As a culture, we don’t value the product of craft as highly as we value the product of art. Which is why a knit hat will run you $20 but an original oil painting can costs thousands – even hundreds of thousands – of dollars.

Even if the Turkey Hat doesn’t sell, I’ll feel good about having gotten it out there. Everyone who has seen it has laughed with delight, and any time you can get a reaction out of someone – especially a happy reaction – it means you’ve created something great. And if seeing the price tag – and seeing a hand-knit item in an art show – helps to adjust someone’s thinking about art versus craft, all the better.

Such heavy thoughts for such a silly hat.

(By the way, several people expressed surprise when they saw the final product, not realizing that the wings would serve as earflaps. I was surprised at their surprise. I assumed it was so manifestly self-evident that wings on a turkey hat would be earflaps, I didn’t even bother explaining it. That is what it is like, inside my head.)

16 comments to Fly Free, Little Turkey Hat!

  • Awesome hat. Fully worth the price.

  • Judith

    Amen Sister about what women are told. Love the hat.

  • Pretty durn cool. It is more than I would’ve guessed, but I nodded in agreement nonetheless–totally /agree.
    And yup, immediately thought about WKRP :)

  • Ana

    That hat turned out amazingly well! If it doesn’t sell, you have yourself a pretty sweet hat, but I do hope it sells.

  • Xeres

    Four flavours of awesome. Well done!

  • A hat that makes you laugh with delight is more than a hat.
    Love your turkey! (And I was one of the ones who was surprised about the earflaps, though when I first saw the finished hat I thought “Oh, of course!”)

  • Whoever pays $185 for that hat is getting a bargain. A bargain, I tell you. It is terrific and well worth the price. I love it!

  • tari

    Love the finished turkey. And the price is certainly right given the time, effort, love and creativity that went into it.

  • Northmoon

    After all these years of fighting for equality and this crap is still going on. It’s just more subtle now. Early in my career I was paid the compliment that I “thought like a man” – but they still paid me less than the guy who did my job before!

    I learned that men are more willing to change jobs than women, so I moved up by moving on so to speak, several times over my career. Now I’m in a union so I get paid what the guys do automatically.

    Pardon my rant, back to the subject of the post; the turkey hat is amazing, a unique work of art. Excellent.

  • Erika

    Aw, you know me – feminist rants are always welcome here!

    And an excellent reminder of how unions have been instrumental in improving working conditions in the States.

  • Definitely worth the price. Love the hat!

    I just went to Tuesday Morning to pick up a knitting book and some knitting needles so I could learn how to knit, but no knitting needles in sight! Oh well, I did find a really cool crocheting book that will keep me busy for a while :)

  • Erika

    That’s the problem with Tuesday Morning – ya get what ya get! You can always check one out from the library, of course! A lot of yarn shops also have “learn to knit” classes that are free or very cheap.

  • Yes, that would be awesome… If only I could find needles!

  • Oh, and what was funny was that they had tons of how to knit books! Here’s how you knit, even if you have no way to knit…