Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How do I create enough inventory for a show or gallery?

     Hmmmm....a lot of us have posed this question at one time or another. I am always thinking that I never have enough, and as my husband gently reminds me that I think that all the time, and that I usually do. Still...(self-doubt creeping in)
     Here are a few things that I have found over the years that have helped me. I am happy to share them with all artists so that you will succeed:

1. Make a schedule.
     If you need "x" amount of product, take into account the last possible day for drying/curing, divide that number by the number of days you have to complete the project. If that seems too much to do in a day, re-asses your end goal. Give yourself a day off if you have to. No sense in working while you're tired. You might find yourself making mistakes. Break the day up by getting up and walking around. Sit back down after you've rested your eyes.

2. Limit the designs you offer.
     Yup. That's a hard one, when we as artists don't like to be confined to one thing. While making multiples is do-able for some people, I realize that some people cannot do this. My answer? Consider a series. For example: start with a theme. Draw out this theme with multiple versions, but sticking to that theme. Work the idea forwards and backwards, tweaking the design slightly each time. You have now saved yourself the time that it took to figure out one design and start on coming up with a whole other design. And each egg will still be unique and different. You will see an artist do this when they talk to you about doing a "series" of paintings. It means exploring that design idea until fruition. Catalog this design and retrieve/revisit the idea down the road again. This may spur another tangent to add to your repertoire.
3. Limit your color palette.
     Yup. Taking all the wind out of your sails again. Have some available with an amazing range. Price accordingly. Have some that are limited to two or three colors Price a little below your "ta-dah! stuff. You would be surprised how many of the simplified ones are snapped up. Monochromatic eggs are wonderful. I have done eggs with light blue, medium blue and a dark blue. These are quiet color combinations, and I can never make enough of these to keep them in stock.

4. Be fussy, but not too fussy, unless...
     You and you alone can asses your goals. If you can't bring yourself to "water" down your designs, finding a gallery to host you is your answer. You will be able to set a higher price and perhaps a little less volume is needed.  If you have the time, and inclination to do craft shows, be aware of price points and the amount of volume these endeavors take. Again, don't be hard on yourself,  just set yourself some realistic goals that met your creative and artistic needs. These goals are very different! Know which is which.

5. What do I do?
     I do some and all of the above. When I have high volumes to meet, I work in series, AND I limit the color palette and work in tandem. While one is drying, I am onto the next one, and so on and so forth, until I circle back around to the finish. Really gotta hand it to Ford....he really had something there. I will do paintings/eggs that I consider "Art" eggs and "Show or Gallery" paintings. This shows an artist's full range, and also feeds your soul. They aren't always for sale, or sell (price point might be out of reach for most), but it is important to do these things as well.

6. Be realistic about where/when you will accomplish things.
     Teaching is a wonderful profession, and sharing knowledge is a wonderful thing. Gathering like-minded people, going to gallery openings and making connections is also important for a creative person. Just be realistic about how much you might get done, and where you will be most productive. Don't be hard on yourself, just realize that you may only create a quarter of what you had intended.

7. Life sometimes has other plans for you.
     Boy, don't some of us know it. These are things you can't control. Again, responsibilities, children, aging parents, 9-5 full time jobs, and the list goes on. Sometimes your creative day will be chopped up. Use the time while you're sitting at a baseball game, in the Doctor's office, etc. to work out some sketches so when you get to sit at your bench, you've set the "bones" for your work. I will even sketch while the family and I are enjoying a show on TV, or use a speaker phone at my work bench so I am able to do business, or catch up with someone hands-free.

8. Running out of time- deadline looming? Is my booth full enough?
     Here are some things that might "fluff" out your display. Do you do other art that is related or similar to what you do (cross-over art)? If so- try and work some in on display panels, if your show panel/jury allows that. Price them for sale (showing your full range again)- and you just might sell one or two of those too. If you can take a day or two to print card of your artwork or photos of your creations, have them for sale at your table (especially if you have been photographing them all along). If you have a great archival printer, go one step further and offer some small prints too. Magnets and pins are also a wonderful little "pick me up!" as well. You will find that not everyone can afford the gorgeous work that you are selling, but will want to buy something small of yours to treasure. Having those small items sometimes really does pay off!
Have some of last year's eggs still kicking around? Make ornaments out of them, You may also offer to make them into ornaments, if asked. Charge for the work. Take commissions, if you feel up to it. Offer a printed gift certificate for people to buy if they just can't choose one out for that someone special. Art is very subjective, as we all know.

9. Lastly, get rid of that negativity that holds you back.
     I find that this might be the hardest advice of all. We are all, at one time, plagued with self-doubt. Letting in negativity only helps to perpetuate that endless cycle. While you are busy creating your body of work, put any negativity aside, whatever/whomever it is. Surround yourself with as much positive energy that you can and be a sponge, soaking it up. Let that carry you on your creative journey, and when you get a chance, pay it forward whenever you can. It will come back to you 10 fold, I promise!

I hope this has been somewhat helpful. I realize that to some of you, I might be preaching to the choir, for others, implement or take away as much as you need. I wish you all success!
If you have any questions, or want to talk shop, you can always message me on facebook, or email me through my website:


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