December 5, 2013
Oh-oh, a loaded subject. I can see eyes glazing over and thoughts of: do I have to??? I know I've blogged about business for artists before, in a lot of different ways but inventory deserves it's own space and time. It isn't that hard once you're set up for it. The advantages are knowing where your pieces are, what you priced them for, what sold or what didn't plus make it so much easier for a gallery or sales venue (and you, too) by having a together inventory. If you refer to the picture below of one of my past inventory sheets you'll see how it easy it is for the person making the sale to mark off which item sold. It helps to provide a small picture for them to identify the item at a glance so all they need do is mark it sold with the date or a check mark. Having this information is invaluable for me to match items to a particular sales venue. If something doesn't sell at one place it might at another so I increase my odds of making some money from my work. Plus it makes it simple for the venue to track my items.
For mixed media artists I suggest sitting down with everything you've made and categorize it. Create a table for each category. If you have paintings and collages then you would have one table for each. This makes it much easier to refer to the appropriate page for more information when a customer asks a question or for you to track items. I can't tell you how many artists show up at a gallery without an inventory much less an organized inventory of their work. The goal is to make it easy for you, a gallery or other sales venue to sell your wonderful work.
December 3, 2013
A couple of very impressive women have gotten together to create an online community called Pivot Place, (www.pivotedmonds.com) for our community. The idea is to provide a community website for what sorts of things are available or going on combined with an artists marketplace somewhat similar to Etsy. The concept makes sense and and the people behind it are really wonderful so of course I jumped in! I love participating in anything where vibrant, brilliant women are working on supporting a worthy goal and this is proving to be just that sort of an endeavor.
Pivot Place recently did a soft launch so you can see it grow before your very eyes. There is much going on behind the scenes to improve the interface, expand artist offerings, etc. It’s one of those labors of love for the principles, Kathy Coffey and Susie Beresford, at this point but I can see and feel their intent for this beautiful and worthy idea and support them wholeheartedly. Stay tuned as Pivot Place emerges further from concept to reality! This project is worth watching! It’s like a Kickstarter project without Kickstarter at this point. If nothing else, you can see a few of my limited one-of-a-kind pieces that are only available on Pivot Place right now.
December 1, 2013
When I was growing up it was okay to spend a lot of time making things. I could paint and draw, cut things out and paste to my hearts content. I find that I still want to do these things today. So every time Christmas rolls around I start mulling fun things to play with for my list.
About 14 years ago I spent every day from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas Day making things. Paper and fabric, sequins, beads and glitter were everywhere. I started making ornaments for everyone. It was the best Christmas ever – at least for me. Ever since then I try to come up with a new handmade ornament every year. I’m not successful at this every year because of time, but I do think about it. One person in my family puts my ornament gifts on their tree every year. I was delighted to see this and knew then how fun this is for others, too.
If you decide to do this here is a word to the wise: simple is better! Don’t make it too complicated. You’ll overwhelm yourself and fail to get everything done. Keep it simple and fun: wreaths made from metallic pipe cleaners, or white pipe cleaners with glitter glue on them can be used as napkin rings or for a tree decoration, for example. Don’t mind me. I LOVE LOVE LOVE glitter glue! And I love getting to be Santa, too.
November 30, 2013
Not the prettiest vegetable around but my Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without them. I know they’re a midWest thing: my father was from Indiana. The checker in the grocery asked my husband what they taste like. His explanation: you know how broccoli smells when you cook it? That’s what at rutabagas taste like…sort of. I was stumped to give him an answer other than to make mention of vague broccoli flavor… I couldn’t imagine not knowing rutabagas.
Now I’ve started asking people if they’ve ever had rutabagas after my good friend said she’s never tried them. She’s 80. I was so surprised that she had never had them that this comment opened a window in my mind (really? Because of rutabagas?). Yup.
What is something you have never tried? I started listing some things mentally and thought to myself: when I’m 80 (I should be so lucky), what is there that I will have wished I tried? Probably not pate de fois gras (ewwww, I don’t like innards) but certainly some sort of food in Istanbul…
November 28, 2013
Make sure to enjoy the people around you. Make a point to listen to them today and really look at them when they’re talking. Give them a few minutes of your undivided attention today. This is how they will know they’re important to you.
October 30, 2013
Gosh, I looked up and it was the end of October… How does that happen? It kinda feels like when I’m in the studio. You know the feeling of just doing something for half an hour but when you actually look at a clock it’s 4 hours later? That was October for me. I think I put my head down or put the blinkers on because I hate it when summer is over. I’m never ready for the sun to go and the rain, cold and clammy to show up. That’s when I think I need to move to a sunnier place but once the weather has transitioned I find I’m ready to hunker down with a rich cup of lemon tea and some art supplies.
Anyway, Happy Halloween!
October 8, 2013
I see that I haven’t posted since March. Like most bloggers my intentions were for better than that but life gets busy and takes priority – as it should! I have been focusing on learning how to be home. After years of traveling every 6-8 weeks it has taken quite a bit to get used to! I didn’t realize how conditioned I was to the rhythm of shopping for airfare, hotels, transportation, ordering supplies for the next round of classes, submitting proposals, creating new samples, getting photography of samples, creating PR pieces, writing class descriptions, packing, inventorying, unpacking, re packing…submitting samples, on and on.
I found that hanging out at home was hard. I thought I needed to be doing something all the time or that I should be leaving. I kept saying to myself: oh so this is how normal people relax… I used to know this! But of course I always find things to fill my time but I have that relaxation thing down now though it won’t last, of course. I would probably not know what to do with myself.
Maybe I’ll have something interesting to say and will blog again…we’ll see. I do have some new adventures in felting coming up! I’ll try to post the results soon.
March 8, 2013
Big topic for a Friday! As an artist's coach, speaker and teacher in the business of art I know this is a hot topic. Artists struggle with pricing their work more than anything. Why? Because it's so close to home. Being intimately familiar with the creation of their work makes it hard to be objective about pricing that work. How do you price your soul? There is also the extra added feature of anxiety: 'am I that good?'. Somehow pricing our work gets tangled up in our self worth issues (everybody has those – not just artists!). This is where things go really sideways just about every time.
I know we all hear about pricing formulas such as: cost of materials + time = cost of goods but this really over simplifies the whole equation. The cost of overhead isn't really in that formula. Okay I see your eyes glazing over… Here is what it costs you to paint a picture, shoot a photograph or make a thing:
Equipment (brushes, camera/computer/memory cards or tools)
Space to compose what you're making (studio, office, etc.)
Education (art school, school of hard knocks, workshops, seminars, books, magazines, late fees at the library, etc.)
Health (shelter, food, clothes, shoes, vitamins, coffee, etc.)
Transportation (car, bus, bicycle, teleportation device)
This is all besides your time. And you thought it was going to be hard to figure out what your time is worth, didn't you? If it were that simple then pricing wouldn't be such a hot topic. Everything that brought you to this moment, to this point to create this work of art comes into play in the piece you've created. You had to eat, have shelter and transportation, gain experience, and stay healthy to get to this moment to create this piece. All of these things are costs and someone paid for it. A healthy business recoups these initial investment costs. There isn't any existential self worth issues involved. It's a matter of business survival. If a business charged exactly what it cost to make a thing then all these associated costs wouldn't be covered. Heat, rent, lights, insurance and other things need to be paid so charge something for it.
Next time: Pricing Part 2!
February 25, 2013
It's been awhile since I've posted anything about Sharky Shark but I want to tell you that's not for lack of Sharky adventures. Nope. Sharky is alive and well, still hungry and wiggling his way around day to day life just like the rest of us!
It seems that sharks have become very popular of late – or so Sharky tells me or shows me. It's getting pretty incredible what sorts of things a shark has to dream about now. Not such things as iPads or paintbrushes (ahem, that would be me actually) but there is plenty of fodder for Sharky's dreams out there. Here are some:
February 17, 2013
Artists like to create in a solo environment typically. I know I do. It's treasured time when I get to revel in my own process and I can do that so much more thoroughly when I'm alone. As a teacher I am either subject to others process or helping others find their process or incorporating their process with a new medium all the time. It's rare that I get to just be in my own space. However, I find there is more opportunity when I am creating with others like in an open studio environment. There are expanded options and new avenues that I might not have found when on my own. It's the same when you're associated with a group or organization. Opportunities may be offered to a group before it's offered to you alone. This is true with group shows and organizational events. I've found that the more I'm not going 'solo' in my every day practice the more my opportunities expand.
Investing into an artists group or even a group of friends regularly provides a trustworthy sounding board, a safe place for critique, and multiplies avenues of resources for everything from supplies to techniques which provides a lot of benefits for when you are working solo. This is one of the biggest challenges I see for artists in general. They have a difficult time consistently investing in being a part of a group. Just remember: there is power in numbers!