What does it cost to hire top talent in fiber arts? I’m glad you asked.

Abby Franquemont
11 min readSep 2, 2016

#FairFiberWage and #FiberTeachersNeed are seeing some lively discussion on Twitter right now.

There have been a lot of conversations going around lately about what’s fair and reasonable in my line of work, which is “Fiber Arts Teacher.” What do I do? In brief, present hands-on workshops in how to spin yarn, weave, and assorted other yarn-related activities. I have also published extensively on the subject and am one of the most recognized names in the worldwide field.

People working in the fiber arts are often hesitant to talk about what they get paid, and the net result of that which I’m seeing is an increase in the rate at which some organizations are trying to push risk and the burden of expenses onto the instructors, or hope to get instructors to work for less than a living wage, or on terms that most people would define as exploitative.

There’s a lot of history and cultural baggage that is tied up in the question of what someone who does what I do is worth, or can get paid. I want to talk about those things, but there’s a lot to say and right now, I want to talk about what I need to make a living.

My baseline fee schedule for 2016 is $125USD/class hour, plus travel, meals, lodging, and there is a per-student materials fee for most classes. Each class hour usually means at least 2 prep hours, and time to develop a class ranges from 5 to 40 hours. This baseline fee nets out to $25–30USD an hour before taxes and not factoring in costs associated with simply being able to do the job.

I also reserve the right to quote a specific event or person a rate that differs from my baseline, for a variety of reasons. Most typically, I quote a reduced rate for individual reasons. I have never quoted a higher rate.

That $125 per class hour covers up to 20 students. Travel, hotel, and food expenses will vary, but I made a spreadsheet to show some of these calculations with expenses on the high side. All numbers shown are in US Dollars.

So here’s a ballpark for what it costs per student to bring in a teacher of my experience and reputation to teach a half day class at your fiber arts event:

In addition to these costs, though, an event will also have to pay for space, promoting the event, and is generally well-advised to compensate its organizers as well, because that’s also work. So I put in a few more…

--

--

Abby Franquemont

was bred by anthropologists to preserve textile lore and engage in written slapfights. http://patreon.com/abbysyarns http://abbysyarns.com