Professional Development Workshop

I’m running a professional development day for artist and makers at Llantarnam Grange Art Centre on Saturday 20th October. 10am-3pm. £20.

Join artist Ruth Singer to explore research-led craft making; about creating original work with a meaningful narrative behind it. Find out about Ruth’s research and development process; explore, develop and test your own ideas and take part in creative planning and group making activities. This workshop will also include ways of working with museums, heritage and archive collections. This session is designed for makers of all levels of practice who want to stretch their creative horizons and develop new ways of working. Ruth works predominantly in textiles but this session is suitable for all makers, whatever material or method you use.

The workshop runs alongside Suffrage exhibition which includes a newly commissioned piece made for this exhibition. The workshop is just £20 for the whole day 10am-3pm and can be booked online here. Please note: We regret that due due to the nature of our building the artists workshops will be taking place in our first floor workshops rooms which do not have disabled access.

 

Collaboration with Bethany Walker: work in progress

I’ve long been fascinated by Bethany’s combination of textiles and cement; the contrasting soft and hard materials, the transformation of cloth from malleable to solid objects and the potential her innovative techniques would hold for my kind of manipulated textiles.

Last year I applied to a-n’s collaboration bursary to fund our travel and expenses to develop a collaboration and we started working together in January 2014.

Our aim is to create work suitable for public art commissions, large-scale installations and projects. I wanted to explore Bethany’s techniques and she wanted to look at more organic forms, moving away from her usual square-format.

We started by simply setting a whole series of my textile and paper samples into cement to see how they worked and then moved on to making specific samples to test based on what worked best and looked most interesting.

 

Plenty was simply scrapped as uninteresting, or not sufficiently exciting to stand out. I wanted to make sure what I made was sufficiently different to Bethany’s existing work too. A new set of samples worked much better and gave us new avenues to explore.


At this stage I was struggling to find a theme which worked for me, beyond simply exploring interesting shapes. Our discussions lead to the idea of growth and renewal and eventually to mould, lichen, moss and fungus. We also worked on colour palettes; looking for something that contrasted well with the grey of the cement but would also work with my quite subtle-coloured work. We used Pinterest to share ideas, much like I did with my collaboration with Alys Power. Our palette became delicate pink. Bethany continued to work on new shapes and forms while I experimented with fungus-inspired growths made in textile using fabrics I dyed with elderberry.

Their success was limited but other pieces definitely worked and we have finally hit upon the perfect combination of form, textile structure, colour-palette, type of fabric and display concept which we are really happy with.

mosaic

The finished work is a series of smaller pieces; potentially a lot of small pieces, so we are busy making more and more. Our aim is to exhibit the work in 2015 and use it as a basis for joint application for projects and commissions.

 

 

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.