For artists and craftspeople, pricing your work can be somewhat awkward and subjective. I put much time and care into every piece, and while many are similar in form, each one is nevertheless a unique creation. In addition, transforming a freshly felled tree into attractive, useful woodenware involves many steps – beginning with cutting up the log with a chainsaw, and ending with up to six coats of hand-rubbed finish. When you consider the time it takes for the wood to dry, the entire process can take up to a year or more.
When I set about to devise a formula to price my work, I wanted to be:
- consistent and transparent;
- in line and competitive with peers who were selling comparable work;
- fair to my customers, but at the same time not undervaluing my time and efforts.
So I came up with the following Pricing Guide for bowls, plates, and platters based on their diameter as a starting point. This gives me a ballpark number that seems to be fair and competitive. Because it’s a graduated scale, the smaller pieces are not over-priced, and the larger work is not under-valued. From this starting point, I will adjust the price upward if I have embellished the piece with carving or pyrography, or if it is rare or highly figured wood. If there are minor cracks or other imperfections, I adjust the price down.
Less than 8″ = $8 per inch
8″ – 10″ = $10 per inch
>10″ – 12″ = $12 per inch
>12″ – 14″ = $14 per inch
>14″ – 16″ = $16 per inch
>16″ = $18 per inch
Plates / Platters:
Less than 10″ = $4 per inch
10″ – 12″ = $6 per inch
> 12″ = $8 per inch
18″ or more = $10 per inch
For Bowls, I also use another formula to quickly cross-check the price. For most of the bowls I make, both formulas will yield a price that is the same or very close. However for bowls that are taller than the typical 3-4 inches, this second formula will yield a higher price. The price for these “tall” bowls or vessels will be higher.
This second formula is simply: diameter x height x 3.5. (all measurements in inches)
Typical Bowl Sizes
A “normal” size salad or fruit bowl will be 12-13″ in diameter and 3.5-4″ high. This would be fine for a couple or even a small family. It will have a capacity of up to 4 quarts.
A large bowl that is 14-16″ in diameter and 4-5″ high would definitely make a statement. It will have a capacity of 8 quarts or more, and hold lots of salad! Bowls this size make great centerpieces or gifts.
A smaller cereal, rice, or snack bowl is typically 5-7″ in diameter and 2.5-3″ high. It will have a capacity of 2-4 cups.
And in between, a bowl that’s 8-12″ in diameter would work well as a serving bowl, a small fruit bowl, or a decorative display piece. The capacity would be 1.5-2.5 quarts.
Bowl price = diameter x height x 3.5