What’s in Your Shed? Exhibition at Snibston

This week I finally got to see my work Tool Shed on exhibition at Snibston, a museum a few miles away from me. Apparently this work inspired the whole exhibition project, which is really nice to know. My work is exhibited in a purpose-built shed, inside the giant museum shed-style building. It’s great that my dad was able to come and see the work too and remember his dad, and those amazing sheds!

These pieces are based on the household and garden tools from my Grandad’s shed. He was a professional gardener from the age of 14 and carried on growing his own vegetables until his death in 2012 at the age of 96. His numerous sheds contained years of carefully-maintained and well-used tools and the essence of him. This collection uses outlines of his gardening and DIY tools stitched into his handkerchiefs, found neatly ironed and folded in the airing cupboard after his death. You can find out more here.

 

The show also includes two other artist sheds, rather different in character! Flights of fancy is a pigeon fancier’s fantasy shed by the wonderfully surreal team Mrs Smith who have a thing for both sheds and pigeons! The same artists created Tales of the Unfinishable which has been touring around the UK in the last year or two.

 

Core Shed is pretty hard to get your head round. I have read a little about it, so I was able to make some sense of it, but it has no text explanation at all, which is a huge mistake in a family-oriented, mostly science/engineering museum environment. In a fine art gallery visitors might engage with it more easily, but in this space it is adrift and pretty impenetrable. However, despite my misgivings about the appropriateness and interpretation, it is full of interesting bits and pieces which make nice photos.

 

 

The exhibition continues until 26th September.

Christmas Shopping at Makers’ Yard

Make it a handmade Christmas and come shopping at my studio building, Makers’ Yard, where you can buy from the other tenants in the studio building as well as me. I’ll have a lot of samples for sale (cushions, bags, scarves, brooches etc), as well as discounts on books, fabrics, sewing tools and gift vouchers for sewing enthusiasts.

Please come along to the exclusive evening event with mince pies and mulled wine on Friday 15th 6-9pm or any time on Saturday 16th November 10-4pm when there will be additional artists and makers selling their work too.

 

MakersYard_Web copy

Selling craft in the fine art market

I recently attended “Making it in the fine art market” a Cockpit Arts Making It seminar and made the following notes.

Event chaired by Susan Mumford Be Smart About Art, with panel including  and Sarah Myerscough.

Katharine Morling

Katharine Morling

Breaking into the fine art market
Clear, consistent body of work, suitable for the market. Pricing should reflect fine art market not craft market (considerably higher)
Work on a strategy and research your potential gallery market. Where do you want to sell? Which galleries suit your work best? What about outside of London, where can work for you?

Create a broader strategy / plan of where you want your work to be, what museum collections do you want to be in, what countries might you do well in.
Before considering overseas markets, establish yourself in your own and your gallery might well introduce you to overseas galleries.
Collect is a key event for selling in the fine art market, therefore getting into a gallery which show at Collect would be a key target in strategy.

No problem to approach galleries direct but be very targeted and only approach ones that really show your type of work. Ask for feedback if rejected and keep in touch with them. Things change and they might find your new work suitable for them.

Getting your work seen is vital. Top tip is to apply for all sorts of opportunities (that are relevant) where your images will be seen by a selection panel. Even if not selected for the opportunity, your work is seen by influential people who will remember it next time.

Market
New and established collectors are happily spending thousands of pounds buying art online (degreeart.com). More traditional galleries prefer to market to bring people into the gallery and buy in person. Two distinct markets. The art-buying market are particularly interested in small editions (around 10) and exclusive works. (not applicable to objects which are one-off anyway).

Amelia May's Quilt

Amelia May’s Quilt, Ruth Singer 2012.

Being represented by a gallery
Usually an artist is represented by just one gallery in a city or area, particularly only one in London
Gallery will take work for specific exhibitions and art fairs, potentially internationally
Commission is usually 50% of retail price. Give galleries retail price and negotiate commission. Ensure consistent market price wherever you are selling. You must not undercut gallery price.
Out-of-gallery sales. If someone buys direct from you after seeing you at a gallery, the gallery has the right to demand commission. Openness and communication with your gallery are essential to create a supportive relationship. Important to find out where your buyers have found you.Nowadays many artists have an exclusive body of work represented by each gallery rather than an exclusive relationship with just one gallery.
Artist needs to work as a team with gallery to avoid mixed messages and confusing buyers
Role of galleries: to put work in context, give credibility, to expose your work to the right buyers. Your commission helps them do more marketing.
Keep your gallery informed of everything you are doing, even with other galleries. This helps with their marketing of your work and helps build a productive relationship.