I have a question for the crafters: Suppose I were to approach you and ask, 'Would you be interested in doing <commission>? What would you charge?' And after hearing the charge, I said, 'Oh my, I had no idea...I'm afraid I can't afford this right now'. Would you be offended by this exchange? I'm not saying that your time and skill aren't worth the price, more that I didn't know what that price was and now that I know, it's just out of my budget.
It would depend on your tone of voice, I think. (Assuming face-to-face interaction.) If I felt that you were trying to wheedle me down to substantially less than that, I might be offended.
Online, no. I've done just that scenario. Someone wanted a quilt for a California king bed and inquired if I'd take a commission. After he got told that the fabric would cost $X and the batting would be $Y, so the total for just supplies would be $Z, he apologized and said that it was more than he was thinking of.
I think that would be a perfectly polite interaction (bearing in mind tone, exact wording, etc.). I think the offense comes when someone draws back in horror at the suggested price and then says/implies that the work isn't actually worth that and the crafter must be inflating numbers, and says that their daughter's babysitter's mom's dog-walker could do it for less--or Wal-Mart.
Exactly. "You want HOW MUCH for a quilt? I can buy one at Walmart for $30!" Well, yes, you can. Some woman in China was probably grateful to get $.25 an hour for her work. But it won't be appliqued in the patterns that you want, with the fabrics that you choose.
I see lovely quilts at the Amish Market in Annapolis. And I think that $800 is too little
for their work.