Sunday, February 2, 2020
Is saleability important?
As artists we are driven to make work....but what to do with it once it's made?
Like many fiber artists I have a storage unit piled high with work...
of course all the "pretty" ones, like the one above...do sell fairly quickly.
But that leaves everything else...if you can't sell it, do you
make it into something else?
give it away?
hang it in your own home?
or if all else fails:
Recently I was asked if, when I was a juror for a well known quilt show, I chose work that I knew would sell. Well I don't know what the other jurors had in mind, of course, but the saleability of a work was the very last thing in my mind, never even considered it. And, of course, when we make work (unless we are being VERY commercially minded!) we're not thinking about a sale. Rather we have in mind making strong and beautiful work, that conveys the message, the idea, the thought, the feeling that inspired us.
As a juror I looked for work that was well designed and composed, was beautiful in how the separate elements were arranged, that attracted my attention - and held it (much harder!)...and which would, I thought, stand the test of time. To attract attention, work needs to be strong and fresh, intriguing and novel. To stand the test of time, it needs to be solidly and cleanly and surely put together - both visually and literally.
So no, I didn't consider saleability either of others' work, or of my own when making it....because whether or not something will sell depends to some extent on factors other than the above. and it was those things that were always my goal.
but then.....you have a cupboard full of quilts...or even a whole basement!!
What I have noticed, and I have sold quite a lot of work over the years...but there are still about 40 or 50 pieces languishing at the back of the studio! unobserved and unloved!...
what I have noticed is that commercial places buy work that fits in with their interior designer's concept...so a hospital looks for something calming and soothing and optimistic. (yes we do have to overlook some perfect dreadful art that appears in doctor's offices!!! that could drive an artist to madness if viewed for very long!), the library wanted something that was energetic, the community center something that conveyed a sense of place...and so on.
The private buyer buys something that resonates with them in some way. You can hear this when they tell you why they're buying a piece, the story they see about that piece and how it relates to them. I remember one very spare piece being sold because the buyer said "it's for my wife, she loves the beach in winter".
A sense of place is a common reason for buying.
Another is the color...a piece was chosen recently because "I love orange and pink together on blue".
Sometimes a memory....
or, the mood or ambience created by the piece.
but that still leaves an awful lot of work to be disposed of!!!
so...tell me your ideas!
because I'm determined to get my pile down to less than ten before I make another quilt!!!!
If you have been, thanks for reading. and please please comment...I need your answers!!!
PS...if you're still actually making quilts ! consider a modern/improv quilt...my Mod meets Improv class starts next Friday at www.academyofquilting.com
Modern quilts are elegant, and pretty quick to make! especially using free cutting and improv techniques...and facing instead of binding..... think about it!!!!