Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Putting a Price on Art

"Wallflowers: #3"  
(available for sale on my web site)

At the Upstate Artists Guild show during April's First Friday celebration, a gentleman asked how long it took for me to "go from inspiration to expiration."  I told him that it was necessary to pass through perspiration along the way, and I pointed to "Wallflowers: #3" (pictured above), a 12" by 15" piece that had taken 29 hours to complete.  My larger pieces, measuring from 50" square to 60" square, have taken between 300 and 370 hours to create.  I've begun timing myself as I work on my quilts so I can develop a realistic formula for pricing them.  It does seem that many viewers tend to place a value on an artist's work commensurate with the amount of time it took to create it, rather than the quality of the work itself.

So, I pose this question to you, my readers: If you are selling your fiber art, how do you price your pieces?  Is the price based on a formula that includes the hours spent, or the size of the finished work, or both?  Please share your thoughts!

I thank you all for reading and commenting on my blog -- you send me little bits of inspiration to recharge my battery, and I am grateful.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Slowly Finding My Creative Process

"The creative process is an intelligence that knows where it has to go, and it is always a destination that never could have been known by me in advance."

Shaun McNiff

One of the best investments I ever made, as I started on my journey to become an art quilter, was an overhead projector.  I purchased it on sale for under $100 at Office Max; it's portable, so I've been able to take it to workshops.  I use it to enlarge my designs as follows:
  • I first sketch my drawing on copy paper and refine it as much as possible.
  • I either copy the drawing onto clear acetate using my copier or, if the design is too large for the copier, I trace it onto the acetate using an overhead marking pen.
  • After deciding how large I want the finished quilt to be, I pin large sheets of gridded paper onto my design wall, using a level to align it in both directions, and I mark the boundaries of the quilt.
  • I place the acetate on the projector and move the projector towards or away from the wall until the design fits within the boundaries I've marked (pictured above).
  • Using a pencil, I trace the design onto the gridded paper.

My lines are a little rough at this stage (click on the picture above), so now comes the part that gives my left brain even more pleasure: I use a flexible ruler and smooth all the curves so they're really pretty.  A circle template helps to make the circles nicely circular (click on the picture below). 

 When everything looks right to me, I darken in all the lines using a black marking pen.  This cartoon will be the basis for my pattern pieces.

The right brain will get its share of the fun during the next phases, when I start pulling fabric off the shelves to see which ones will play nicely together for this design.  This would be the part of the process that, as Dr.McNiff states, "could never have been known by me in advance."  I'll share more of this journey in future posts.

In the meantime, be sure to check out fiber artist Marilyn Rock's blog. She's giving away (yes -- giving away!) one of her beautiful collage creations -- just leave a comment on her post to be eligible for the drawing.  Have fun and enjoy this beautiful weather (and don't we deserve it?!)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Join me!

 . . .  for the First Annual Bloggers' Quilt Festival!  My post from yesterday (below) is my entry into this innovative celebration, the brain-child of Amy @ Park City Girl.  I hope you enjoy my latest quilt and that you'll come along for the ride.  Just click on the link above, and have fun!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

See what happens . . .

(available for sale on my website)

 . . . after a play date with quilt artists (and good friends) Joanna Monroe and Pat Spillane?  Your right brain opens wide and says "Aaahh."  I became inspired to do this piece after spending a most enjoyable and creative afternoon in Joanna's studio, where we painted on paper towels (I am not making this up) and on surfaces which had been heavily stitched, and basically took ourselves back to our kindergarten days.

This is the first art quilt I've ever done without drawing the design beforehand or creating pattern pieces.  The leaves were fused into place wherever they fell as I cut them out, and the moon was created from a piece of fabric that I had painted and considered a mistake.  Talk about embracing imperfection . . .

I've heard it said that, when you're creating a work of fiber art, the piece will talk to you and tell you what it needs, and I experienced this phenomenon as I completed the design.  Although the idea was percolating in my mind long before I started it, many of the elements asked to be included along the way.  As I worked on it, the beautiful song, "Aspenglow," by John Denver, kept returning to my thoughts.  And so the scene became reminiscent of autumn nights unfolding into winter, and the piece earned its title.

May we all continue to enjoy the end of winter nights and the promise of warm spring days.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What a Wonderful Surprise!

"Color My World"
(available for purchase on my web site)

The best surprise arrived in the mail yesterday: A copy of Quilt Art Engagement Calendar 2010 was delivered, and one of my quilts, "Color My World," has been chosen for it!  I'm a calendar girl! (Actually, since it's a weekly calendar, the quilt represents "Miss April 5th - 11th" . . .) It's quite exciting for me to see what the quilt looks like when it's been professionally photographed -- the experts obviously know how to do the job much better than I can ever do in my garage. I'm especially honored because my piece is in the company of many extraordinary art quilts.  You can pick up a copy of the calendar at many quilt shops or by ordering directly from American Quilter.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"Oh, What A Night . . ."

"Round Every Corner"
(available for sale on my website)

 . . . actually, there were two fun nights recently.  The first was Albany's First Friday at the Upstate Artists Guild on Lark Street, where works by several local fiber artists, including myself, were presented at the opening of a national exhibit called "Loose Threads" (click here for more photos taken at the event).  UAG Gallery Manager Rebecca Schoonmaker and her staff welcomed over 500 visitors to the exhibit with food, spirits, and music, and it appeared that guests were happy they ventured out on such a rainy night.  The show continues through April 24; please check the UAG site for directions and gallery hours, and stop in to see (and purchase) some colorful and diverse fiber art made by local hands.

On Saturday, the Broadway Art Center and adjoining arcade were alive with music, magic, and art at the gala benefit for the American Diabetes Association called "Bring on the MAGIC: Music and Art Giving In Search of a Cure."  The gallery and arcade were decorated in dozens of purple balloons and silver stars, and musicians played both popular and classical music while special guests, such as the Ice Queen (pictured), strolled among the visitors.  Champagne corks popped as people participated in the silent and live auctions, bidding on pieces of art and other gifts donated to the event.  

 The chairwomen of the gala, artists Jackie Watsky and Susan Rivers (pictured), along with CAL member Lorenz Worden and many others, worked tirelessly to create a magical and memorable evening.  The art exhibit continues April 17, so there's 
still time to stop in and 
purchase beautiful works in oil, pastels, photography, and fiber.  Go ahead -- treat yourself!


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