Made in Leicestershire consultancy

Earlier this month Creative Leicestershire was awarded a grant from Arts Council England to enable us (me) to do more on my Made in Leicestershire development project. I’ve been working on research and consultation for Made in Leicetershire for about 18 months and this grant has allowed us to extend until the end of September and run some exciting new programmes for Leicestershire and Rutland visual artists and makers.

We are piloting peer mentoring for artists, beginning with training next week and then facilitated meetings over the next month. Those taking part will also have the chance to have a professional photo taken of them with their work and apply for a small professional development bursary. There’s still time to sign up to the peer mentoring programme which takes place on Monday 19th August.

We are also hosting a larger networking event on 24th September, where I’ll be launching a new printed report which will showcase some of the finest creative talent in the city and two counties. There will also be professional development talks and business support 1:1s for new and established artists. Tickets are just £5 and can be booked here.

I love working with artists and it is great to be able to provide development opportunities and work on ways to make the network stronger in the future. It would be great to be able to expand this area of my work into other counties and regions and to work with agencies to create support networks. Hopefully Made in Leicestershire will take flight in the next few years and be the brilliant showcase I want for this creative county.

 

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.

 

Makers In Museums Symposium

I’m running a symposium for textile artists and makers at Gawthorpe Hall, part of my Emotional Repair exhibition programme.

The event on Wednesday 6th June is designed for makers, particularly textile makers, who want to develop their work inspired by and in partnership with museums and heritage. Tickets for students and artists are just £12* including lunch! (*National Trust entry fee also payable, please bring cash on the day or your membership card).

Full details and booking on Eventbrite

 

 

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Cyanotype workshop with Hannah Lamb

I’m never quite sure if a day spent at a creative workshop counts as a day off or as work, when it is both enjoyable and professional development. Either way, I don’t do it enough and always resolve to do it more. A couple of weeks ago I spent a day experimenting with cyanotype under the guidance of textile artist Hannah Lamb at my favourite independent gallery, Unit Twelve.

 

My test pieces on paper worked well but the pieces on fabric weren’t the most successful. They got exposed to light before I had them ready and then they got rained on! I have ended up with a couple of pieces that I will use in my own work at some point, even though I don’t often work with blue. The hands pieces in the top left image will become part of a new series of Criminal Quilts and I have ideas to play with from the other pieces. It is a wonderful thing to spend a day experimenting with no particularly end, to simply to find out how things work and to stretch yourself to come up with new ideas, outside of the usual comfort zone.

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.