As an artist early fall is a very busy time. Any artist who needs to make money to support their art is working diligently to create things that they hope will sell during the holiday season. There are studio tours, home shows, group shows, and art fairs going on. We all hope that people who are shopping for Christmas or Hanukkah gifts will attend our events and purchase our art!
So, as I am preparing for my upcoming studio tour with The Artists Along The Bitterroot, I am thinking about what people might want to buy and where I should concentrate my efforts. Small pieces with low price tags are not my most inspired and fulfilling art to create, but they are most likely to sell. Many artists who do shows with booth set-ups will show their larger, pricier art but also have cards, prints, or other small items to try to make those sales.
For several years I focused my fall efforts on making beaded ornaments that were very popular but for which I could not ask a price that made up for the time, effort, and expenses associated with them. They took a long time to make and were very beautiful, but if I put a price on them that I really thought they were worth they didn't sell.
I love these ornaments and many people who own them hang them year around. I intentionally did not make most of them "holiday" themed so they could be displayed any time. They might be too big for actual display on a tree, but in a window or a office wall or wherever there is a small wall space, these are very fun to live with.
But, time consuming. If I could sell them for $75 I'd be happy to do more. But at half that or even less I just burned out feeling I wasn't being rewarded for the effort--and they are a lot of effort. Maybe sometime I'll pick it up and make more. Right now I'm looking for the next best thing....
I have goals with my "art walk" that are sometimes conflicting. I want/need to sell things in order to continue producing and showing my work. Beads, fabric, sewing/quilting machines and all the other accoutrements necessary to produce my work all cost money to purchase, maintain and store. But, on the other hand I would love to create larger more dramatic work that might be suitable for the larger more prestigious art and fiber art venues across the country (world), including museums. Those venues are not always good places to sell work, but when you develop a reputation and are creating high end work that gets into those venues and is "seen", the buyers tend to find you and sales follow.
Not a year goes by that I don't have my work out in the world at galleries and quilt shows at both local and national levels. And I have had my work out there in national magazines that have published articles I have written. I seek to get to the next level with my art. More venues on a national level. More recognition in the fiber art world as an artist with work that is respected and admired. The ability to travel to shows and venues that are recognized as top level in the fiber art world and lecture or teach around the country (world) about my work and process. I love sharing what I do with others, but I also want others to see what I do as valuable and worthy.