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Posts Tagged ‘Art’

Getting to the Sale

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

Early in my career as quiltmaker, I sold my work.

I took commissions, I did juried craft shows, and I was the only quilter in a fine arts co-op with a storefront.

I saw my share of objections to sales. I still see them today. And, today, with the coronavirus changing our sales process, you might even see more objections.

The price is too high. I need to talk to my spouse first. I can’t make a decision today. I need to look at other items. I need to touch the fabric or see it in person. I’m not sure I have space in my house.

I’m sure you’ve heard some of those and others.

Here are some ideas on how to get past buyer objections so you can get to the sale.

Anticipate objections

Whatever the objection, you can think of it as an opportunity to educate your buyer.

Look at the most common objections you get and address them early in the sales process.

For example, if you are often asked how to hang your art, talk about that before it comes up. If your sales are wholesale, explain your terms. If someone wants to see if your art fits in their space, let them know if this is/is not possible. If someone wants a different color, are you amenable to reproducing your work? You may even have written material that answers some of these questions with the display of your work at a show or gallery.

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Breaking Through Your Creative Blocks

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

I had a conversation last week with a client who was stressing about spending so much time on and in her business that she was feeling stuck. Claire told me how she used to love to create just for herself, without a business outcome involved. Only now, she just did not even have time to do that. And, she was suffering. She felt lost and was beginning to be “stuck” with the creating that was important to her business growth. I suggested that she schedule “Claire time” into her calendar for creativity and stick with it, no matter what. By allowing time for herself, I believe Claire would show up better in her business.

As we were talking about how to schedule that time, I remembered the  lecture Elizabeth Gilbert gave at the 2009 TED Conference entitled “A Different Way to Think About Creative Genius.” It was about nurturing creativity. I went back and listened to it again. What struck me then, as well as now, was when Elizabeth was having a hard time writing, she took time and just spoke out to the corner, to let genius come to her. If it didn’t, well, she showed up for her part of the job. Isn’t that what you do many times when you create? You just show up. Sometimes it is a wonderful effort; other times it’s just an effort. But you showed up.

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Can You Find Your Art Supplies?

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

I have been in a “cleaning out” mode lately.

We have talked about downsizing in the next year or so. I always joke that I am on a five-year plan for decluttering, and the time just keeps getting shorter.

Looking around at my studio, I realized that it could use a healthy cleaning. So I started sorting through books, fabrics, and art supplies.

Gosh, we quilters, sewists and artists certainly do accumulate a lot. I know I will appreciate the open space in which to create.

Here are some tips if you are facing that increasing pile, or piles, of stuff:

Start With a Plan

Start with a plan. As I started thinking about the decluttering process, I realized I was really curating my space — selecting, organizing, and presenting.

The first questions you could ask is what do you want your space to say and how do you want it to function for you.

If you are a fan of Marie Kondo and her Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you can use that as a guide.

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Biz lessons from the dentist

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

I had a dental visit last week. I have one every six months, like many people. I don’t actually mind these because  — knock on wood — I’ve been blessed with healthy teeth.

I was thinking about what I could learn and share about business as Julie, the hygienist, was cleaning my teeth. After all, you can’t exactly carry on your end of a conversation while this is going on.

Create relationships

Julie has been a dental hygienist in this small practice for nearly 40 years, and I’ve been going for at least half that time.

While she started her job because she loved cleaning teeth, Julie told me that for her it had not been about cleaning teeth for a long time.

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Creative Arts Inspiration: Make. Good. Art.

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art.” ~ Neil Gaimian

Book Review: Quotes Illustrated

Sunday, December 8th, 2013


Quotes Illustrated
Lesley Riley
Artist Success Press; $22.95

I love art, and I love quotes. Lesley Riley has celebrated both in this collection of 101 works of art inspired by quotes. The art – quilts, mixed-media, photography, watercolor, and more – is inspiring enough. I loved looking at the variety and detail in each work. Add to that the power of words, and you have a winning combination. It included many of my favorite quotes and some that were new to me. Just as soon as I had picked a favorite, I turned the page and found another. Treat yourself to this book; I picked it up as my Thanksgiving gift and use it as I planned to, opening it each morning randomly and letting it set the tone for my day.

Look for the book at your favorite book retailer. Here’s a link to if you would like to learn more about the book.


Book Review: Masters Art Quilts, Vol. 2

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Masters Art Quilts, Vol. 2
Martha Sielman, Curator
Lark Crafts; $24.95

A feast for the eyes, this second edition of Masters: Art Quilts features work by 40 of the leading contemporary international quilters. In curating the collection, Martha Sielman, executive director of Studio Art Quilt Associates, has selected approximately a dozen quilts from each artist, which are shown on ten pages per artist. Martha introduces us to each artist and then lets the work tell the story, with occasional quotes from the artist about his or her work. I loved both seeing work of artists I knew and learning about those I didn’t. If you are a fiber artist or have an interest in this medium, this is a wonderful addition to your library.

Look for the book at your favorite quilt shop or book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.

Book Review: Art + Quilt

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Art Quilt
Art + Quilt
Lyric Kinard
Interweave Press; $26.95

Lyric Kinard introduces her book by telling you it is not intended to teach you all you need to know about art. Rather her goal is to give you a solid foundation upon which to build your art. Lyric begins by introducing you to the elements of art: texture, shape, line, color and value. With each she includes ideas for gathering inspiration and then provides exercises to develop your skills. She follows the same format – information, gathering inspiration and working through exercises – as she tackles the principles of design: unity and variety, focal point, balance and symmetry, scale and proportion, depth and space, motion and rhythm. While understanding the basic concepts of art is key, ongoing practice is essential if you expect to develop as an artist, and Lyric offers a number of 30-minute challenges to get you on your way. What I found quite valuable was the discussion on evaluation and critique, whether self- or group-focused. If you want to work with others, Lyric offers guidelines for setting up a critique group and suggests elements to consider for a variety of quilts. She goes further to offer critiques of 17 of her own works. Understanding and practicing the concepts Lyric presents will help you improve the look of your quilts. You’ll also appreciate her easy-going, comfortable style and the hardcover, spiral binding so you can open the book flat while you work.

Look for the book at your favorite book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.

Jump Start Your Creativity

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

I heard from a number of readers after they viewed Elizabeth Gilbert’s lecture from the 2009 TED Conference entitled A diferent way to think about creative genius.” I like the concept that we all “have” genius in us. I loved that when she was having a difficult time writing, she took time and just spoke out to the corner, to let genius come to her; and if it didn’t, well, she showed up for her part of the job.

I’m sure you’ve had times where you’ve showed up for the job but been blocked creatively, whether it’s from pressures, fears, uncertainties or something else. Here are six ideas to jump start your creative juices:

  1. Fill the well. Look at other art, either surfing the Internet or visiting galleries. Go on an artist’s date, a la Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. And, be sure to step outside the quilt realm. Sometimes looking at other art is allit takes to get a new idea.
  2. Set a challenge or goal for yourself. I think the journal quilt idea is a great one here. Challenge yourself to create something small each day or week. Pick a theme. When I did the monthly journals, mine were all pears. Or focus on a particular bit of nature in your yard and follow it through the year. And, move outside your comfort zone. If traditional piecework is your thing, grab some paint sticks and let lose. If you are an art quilter, try a pieced block for a change.
  3. Create a daily ritual. Twyla Tharp writes about this idea in The Creative Habit. The daily ritual becomes so ingrained that it sets the pace for your day. She says, “It’s Pavlovian: follow the routine, get a creative payoff.” I liked her example of the chef who starts each day by tending the garden on the terrace of his Brooklyn home. This creative environment lets him putter, pick veggies or herbs, think about flavors. At this point, he heads off to the restaurant to begin creating. For me, I have a ritual of walking each weekday. The fresh air gets me going. What is your ritual?
  4. Take a class to learn a new skill. This could be a photography class, a water color painting class, a cooking class, acomputer class. Just being creative in some other area will translate into your quilt work.
  5. Keep an idea journal, if you don’t already. Fill it with things that inspire you from in and outside the quilt world. When you’re blocked, leave your studio and pull out your idea journal. Ideas will surface.
  6. Act as if you don’t have any blocks and then just jump in. One idea will lead to another. Remember that every piece of art you create doesn’t have to be perfect. One of the quotes I have tacked on my wall is “progress, not perfection.” If I waited for everything to be perfect, I’d still be waiting.

Here are two favorite quotes on creativity:

“In creating, the only hard thing’s to begin; A grass blade’s no easier to make than an oak.” James Russell Lowell

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Rather ask, What makes you come alive? Then go and do it! Because what the world needs is people who have come alive” Howard Thurman

So, get creating. Allah, Olé, Bravo!

The Winter issue of The Professional Quilter includes articles to help you grow your quilt business. If your subscription is not current and you need to renew, or you want to start a new subscription, here’s a link to our order page.

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