Sunday, February 04, 2007

You're Invited!

Well, most of you are too far away to come, but today was the day I officially announced my Open House - Studio Tour. And if you happen to be in the vicinity on February 17th, I hope you'll stop by. What do you say, Nikki? Up for a road trip?

I made copies of this informal, down and dirty invitation to distribute at church today, and the response was enthusiastic. As I believe I mentioned before, this is a safe place for me to start with my first showing and a way to thank these people for so warmly embracing me upon my arrival as well as getting to know a few of them on a more personal level. I'll be sending out a more formal invitation to a few others I've met since arriving - like the gal who cuts my hair (an artist in her own right the way she wields those scissors!), my insurance agent, the property management rep who helped me find this rental and the potter who's work enticed me to add to my collection of bowls. But mostly this is a way to return the favor to the church community that has taken me in.

And since that is my primary audience, I wondered if it would be appropriate to have a list of works for sale with their prices. I figured a few people might ask if anything was for sale, but wondered if it was presumptuous of me to be so blatant about it. However, after I made my announcement, a lady asked me if anything I'd have displayed would be for sale and do I ever make work to order. So I decided I was worrying unnecessarily. Must be bold!

Lots to do then, in the next two weeks. Again, by having a specific event looming, I have booted myself into action. Business cards, bios and the like will get updated, that price list generated and who knows what else that I've been putting off.

Alyson B. Stanfield of ArtBizCoach.com recently had tips on editing, and they were not exclusive to the written word. Dang if I can find the reference now, but there was a comment somewhere alluding to the fact that a really good artist knows which works to present to the public, a different kind of editing. Then I've been following Thelma Smith's blog as she documented her steps as curator of an exhibit. She emphasized that every entry was worthy of inclusion, but she had to consider not only how the various quilts would work together, but also how they would work within a particular setting. She in fact curated two additional groups for inclusion in traveling exhibitions. Even the best work may not find a home.

I mention this because I've had lots of time to think about which works I want to display at my open house. I have limited room, of course, and must stay focused on my overall goal. As the date nears, I find my mind sorting and envisioning various groupings and themes to make sense of the variety of work I want to put out. A few traditional quilts keep sneaking in to my consciousness and I am undecided about showing them. I could have a "traditional work" room just to show a little historical context. But on the other hand, I might not want to send mixed messages since I'm not actively working in that style at the moment. No, I think I want to stick with quilts that show my more recent journey, the ones heavily drawing on nature and the experimental ones. Editing. Curating. Showing my best, most interesting work and placing it in a way that will create flow and continuity, impact without overwhelming. In this case, less is definitely more.

So I best get to work...

6 comments:

Nikki said...

Oh shoot! I promised AshLee I'd go to her track meet in Moscow that day. Hopefully I can schedule a private tour very soon?

I think you should definitely price things. It just says that you are professional. I've been looking at some art to buy recently and I don't even seriously look if there aren't prices - I want to know ahead of time if something is realistically in my price range.

Best of luck with the open house! And let me know when a good time would be - I'm definitely up for a drive!

Sally Bowker said...

Hi Sheila, I think you're right to just show your new
direction, and not the traditional quilts. You don't want to get pulled in the old direction with a commission request. You'll be focused and clear and enthusiastic about your work and that will give your guests a good idea of what you're about.

This sounds great, and I applaud you for doing it. I hope I do something similar after we move next fall or whenever.

Best of luck with your preparations.

Sally

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Bill said...

I want to come! Will the icicles still be there?

Bill

k baxter packwood said...

Congrats on your open house! Put those prices in a plastic sleeve in a folder, that is opened, on a table. Also to include in said folder are copies of your bio, artist statement and maybe one line that you do commissions.

If you want to go all out have some postcards on hand, next to the folder, and don't forget the business cards.

Felicity said...

Sounds amazing, good luck, I'm sure it will be fun!

Thanks for the link to the photos, you dog is lovely! Just wondering, and sorry to be picky, if you have any more without flash, as that gives quite a shine to the coat? Love the shape of her though, I'll give it a go, but can't promise anything great!