Friday, April 18, 2014

True to your Art, True to your Business or Both?

MaryAnn Carroll
What is the most important to you as an artist? I think most of us would say that it is that we remain true to ourselves, grow from our experiences and perfect our techniques. I agree.

On the other hand, there is an art of selling. With show times coming up for many or if you sell online, I think you need to ask yourself if there is a balance in what you do?  This has been an ongoing discussion with my husband Bill Perrine and me. He has been a ceramic artist for many, many years, but started to create wood-fired pottery in 2008. At the time, he was not going to "bend" from being the artist that he was. I respected that, but as time went on, I started to give my female perspective on his work. Although beautiful, much of what he created had a masculine feel to it. Don't get me wrong.... I love most of it!

Although, I love what he does and he is incredibly talented, we have had many discussions about who the buyers are.  I travel with him to shows and have my little section set up for jewelry. I have paid lots of attention to how people shop when they walk into your both.

I can assure you (I think I will actually tally it this year) that the majority of your buyers are women. Once again we found ourselves having the same discussion and he came up with a way to stay true to himself while thinking about his buying "audience".

Those are a few examples of what will be going into the wood-fire kiln in a couple of weeks. The beads that will be going in still remain in one big ball of clay sitting on the kitchen table......

So, this is my take on his sales. I know you are dying to know...... "what's my take on my sales?" Well, it is basically the same thing. I have learned that some of my best work often sits because of the price tag. I also learned that I have to learn the art of creating for my audience. I am in a small gallery in Cortland, NY called Cinch Art Space. It is a great little shop filled with art from over 40 vendors.

Being in Cinch has been a learning experience for me. I had to know the community (near SUNY Cortland) and think about who the other buyers are. With that said, I began designing a range of jewelry from simple to complex. When I create simple it allows me to keep the price down. On the flip side of that, I tend to get bored easily, so I have to balance simple and more complex.

There you have it. I would love to know what strategies work for you.

On a completely different note, we have a few other things going on. Staci is offering a fabulous pendant giveaway. You can click HERE to read her post and leave your comment. Please remember to comment on the blog so that you will be counted when drawing a name.

Karen's non-profit organization Rare Species Conservatory Foundation is currently going through some difficult times. If you have a passion for preserving wildlife and our environment, please go to her website to read about their very important mission. You can also get to it by clicking the link on our sidebar. Funding is always needed to keep organizations like hers going.

Lastly, for those of you that might know me through online friendships or "in real life", you probably know that I am a big advocate for political injustice, particularly for those who are in prisons all over the United States for crimes that they did not commit. My passion evolved from one of the worst experiences that changed my life forever. The case involves a loved one and since it is not completely closed (despite the fact that it is now in year 4), I am not going to go into any details, other to say that it was very close to ending up like so many others who did not end up as "fortunate" as we did with wrongful convictions. I know we do not like to believe that the corruption can sometimes be on the side of the "good guys", but it can be and it has been.  I am offering a sale/donation to help Charles Erickson. You might have heard about the case since it has been all over the media. If you would like to learn more about how you can make a purchase while donating at the same time, you can click HERE. There is also a link on our sidebar.

Today, I do not only want to thank-you for supporting artists who create handmade with handmade, but also thank-you for supporting causes that are there to right the wrong.



Shaiha said...

What your husband has ready to go into the kiln is gorgeous and definitely appeals to this woman. I haven't had the opportunity to sell yet so I haven't walked that tightwire.

Shel said...

First off, I love your posts - they always give me something to think about!! I believe the new items your husband has will sell well - they appeal to this woman for sure! (especially those mugs!) As for me, I figured out how to design for a group of women in an area where I have a trunk show a couple of times a year and it's always a success. I have however, found it a bit more difficult to pin-point specific designs/styles for other shows, galleries and various venues. Possibly because I not only know the demographics, but the also the psychographics, of my 'core' customers and not so much so for those I'm still trying to reach in other areas.

Erika said...

It's funny, but I love Bill's earthy stuff. I never thought of it as not being feminine. I am interested in seeing his painted pieces after they are fired. But I personally prefer the pieces that don't have a painted designs. I never have "fit in" with the demographics!

I also am VERY interested in what the lump of clay is going to turn in to. I hope you will list some of the wood fired beads in your shop! (I think I have hoarding issues;) )

mairedodd said...

i cannot wait to see these after firing - you know i have much bill and maryann ware in my home.

mairedodd said...

i cannot wait to see these after firing - you know i have much bill and maryann ware in my home.

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