Thursday, March 31, 2011

Paper Images Good for Assemblage & Collage
American Photo
Edible Seattle
American Style
Real Simple 
Vanity Fair

Catalogs for Supplies
The Unemployed Philosophers Club
M & J Trimming
Fire Mountain Beads
Catholic Supply Company

Friday, March 18, 2011

How Do You Move a 2,400 Piece Glass Sculpture?

 My brother in law Tom is project manager for the glass artist Chihuly. He's the one at the end of this video. After more then 20 years of moving glass around the world, only a few pieces have been broken! When I was at the V&A in London last summer the hanging chandelier in the main lobby was by Chihuly; about as big as this one, but hanging DOWN from the ceiling instead of going up!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Essential Art

There are a few art items, aside from family photo's etc., that I probably WOULD grab if I could on my way out if my house caught fire. (My art studio did catch fire once by the way, but that's another story).

The following are two photos I've had for many years & put in ornate silver frames about 15 years ago. Yes, I get the dichotomy; oppressed people in fancy frames, but for me, it's stunningly  beautiful, strong oppressed people who are in beautiful frames. The first is a smiling family with a child showing off her (new?) clothes, prior to 'intervention' or resettlement reservations. It's any fleeting moment of happiness & any moment of time & I cherish it's humor & uplifting nature. It's also unfortunately before this family was obliterated by outside forces, who were somehow threatened by their uniqueness, customs & existence. The second photo, which I know even less about, is another moment in time, but what I imagine to be post happiness. She's hard to look at, yet I cannot look away from her strong stance & penetrating gaze.  There may have been external attempts to break her in some way, but her internal, centered strength is real, frightening, elusive & cannot be touched. (Please excuse glass glare; I didn't want to take them out of frames to better pics.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Selling on Etsy, E-Bay & Amazon

I decided to figure out for myself the pros and cons of selling on Etsy & Ebay, who both use Paypal to send and receive your money, & on Amazon who has their own system.  This took quite a bit of time, so thought I'd share it with you as well.

So, Etsy first. This is a worldwide selling site, primarily for handcrafted art & art supplies. It takes A LOT of work initially, not to set up the site, which is very user friendly, but to get people TO your site by making contacts & TAGGING your items correctly. This means when you list an item, it immediately goes up on Google, & those who are looking for say, flower supplies, will see you're selling them. They click on the link & it takes them right to your item.You have to sign up to buy & sell on Etsy which costs nothing, including signing up for Paypal. Once you're there, you can then key in 'flower supplies' again into the search engine & all flower supplies come up, usually the most recently listed first. You can also streamline your search to red flowers, stamen's, or just about anything to do with flowers that you want.

I've been selling on Etsy for about three months now & it's definitely paying off; I average at least a few sales every other day or so now, PLUS I've made some great friends & gotten a lot of selling support. I am in full control of my shop; flipping things around, editing prices, making deals or trades with other artists, PLUS my item stays up until it sells or I take it down.

My sales cost me about 3.5% & Paypal takes about the same, so it comes to around 7% on fees. It costs only 20 cents to list an item & Etsy only figures their fees on the sale itself, so shipping is not included. Paypal on the other hand takes their share from the whole amount. So if I sell an item for $90 + 10 for shipping, on Etsy, I'd net about 93.00. Your money goes right in to your Paypal account & can be used for shipping or withdrawn immediately.

E-Bay on the other hand probably reaches more people & also puts your item in to a specific category. It costs about $1.25 to list an item & you can choose to sell for a three, five, or seven day auction. If it doesn't sell, you then go back, pay $1.25 again, reduce the price & see if it sells, which it may or may not do. You can usually tell pretty soon if the item is going to sell on by how many are 'watching' it. Then at the end of the sale they start bidding against each other & drive the price up. That's why you have a 'Starting Bid' & 'Buy Now' option. If they really want it, they'll just pay the buy now amount instead of losing the auction.

Rare & Collectible items definitely sell the best on E-bay. I've sold a vintage Beatles lunchbox for $200, tiny Disney characters for $175 & just sold a plastic, (Bakelite), belt buckle & two buttons for $84. I figure out how much items will ship for & E-Bay takes 12%. So, the same $100 item would net me $88.00. E-Bay/Paypal won't pay you until you have shipped the item, so you box it up & pay up front for the shipping. If you're a new seller, they also might put a hold on your payment until it arrives to the buyer, & then you get paid.

Amazon is HUGE, sells worldwide & is largely used for selling books, while other items are sold as well. It too is free to sign up for buying & selling & they do their own bookkeeping. As a new seller last November, there was a lot of trial & error & not a lot of support when trying to figure out what to charge & what is truly worth selling to make a profit. I learned quite soon to not sell any book for less then $10 & to only mail lightweight books overseas. Some are willing to sell books for a $1 to get their positive feedback & selling numbers up. My goal was to keep my positive feedback at 100% & to sell fewer books, because when I go to buy a book, I look for the 100% positive seller myself & not at how many sales they've had.

It is also important to know that Amazon sets their own shipping rates allowance. They allow $3.99 for standard shipping which is great if the shipping only costs $3.99! Media rates are lower, but before I knew what I was doing I sent a book to Italy that I had sold for $20. Guess what? It cost $18.00 to send it! On the other hand, I have sold books for a decent price in the states & it only cost $2.50 to send, so I saved $1.50. On a $100 sale plus the shipping credit, you start out with 103.99 for standard shipping. Amazon take 15% off the top as their commission for selling the book, then $1.35 to 'close' the sale, so the net equals about $87.00.

So, there it is. Pros & Cons for all & about a $7.00 difference between Etsy & Amazon / E-Bay. If you know what you're doing, all three are worthwhile options, depending on what you want to sell!

Monday, March 14, 2011

You Fill in the Blanks

"If I see one more image/picture/painting/of ________________  I'm going to, a) throw up b) jump c) scream"
A woman who carries my art in town told me she wants to, a) throw up, regarding Frida Kahlo. (Note to self: no Frida there!) I disagree with her 100% about Frida, but can think of a few I'd probably pick c) scream & I honor her frankness & spunk. She sells my art pieces like a house on fire & only takes 20%, so I'm not going to ask her to stare at Frida all day. I kind of got that way about Georgia O'Keefe, God forbid! An old boyfriend bought me a stunning framed print of hers & I faithfully put it on a wall in every house until I got to this house. Although it's in the back of a closet somewhere, it's not that I don't still admire HER spunk, individuality & cranky attitude, it's just not 'it' for me right now. The huge entirely black painting in the black frame called BLACK in a prominent place in any museum? a, b, & c!! I don't care WHO you are.

Frida, on the other hand, illicits MUCH stronger reactions from me & others I know, from hero worship, to horror, to pity, to anger, to shame, to right on!, to awe, to disgust, to tears....... &  I'd bet that's why she's seared into our minds. Who else had, (has), the guts to paint her own image over & over, spread her legs on the bloody table to show us the horror of her miscarriage & to live with crippling pain while still creating miraculous art? To openly acknowledge her beauty, dress in suits & hang a mirror over her bed to paint instead of, b) Jumping? Cindy Sherman comes to mind & ....... &....... ? Exactly.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Paper & Copyright

I'm going to start putting part of my 10 year collection of paper on to my Etsy site from my teaching days & want to say a few things about paper in general. For those of you who are already collage experts, this might or might not be helpful. A bad piece of paper can ruin EVERYTHING you've put so much effort in to; believe me I've learned from MANY MANY mistakes! 

My best images come from postcards, high quality magazines, old books, catalogs, flyer's, calendars, greeting, playing & holy cards & just about anything else I can get my hands on. You already know how expertly collage artists gravitate towards images they like, (they're the ones whose eyes are always scanning anything paper  wherever they are), & the best can almost always be found for free. TELL folks to save anything they think you might be interested in; they'll be glad to get it off their hands & you can always throw it in your recycling bin. Don't forget to tell them what you CAN'T use & to say when to STOP! : /

My rule of thumb for most images is it must be mostly white on the other side, thick enough not to see through & a flat finish. Shiny & thin are the most tricky & frankly I find National Geographic to be the worst. It's shiny, looks like stock images & that it came from NG. There are some images that are ruined immediately by contacting glue & no matter what you do, you can't get rid of streaks.

 The following pics are of canvas blocks with multiple layering of  various thickness & some well placed shiny images which add to the overall effect. Thin ribbons of writing work o.k. because they are only glued in a few places. If I remember, I coat these pieces front & back with modge podge like you would with newspaper in paper mache' & let them dry. They are then bendy but sturdy & won't rip as easily. I use some HEAVY embellishments like glass & jewelry; remember these have to be just about super glue anchored on to well secured images, or they will just rip right off. It's HARD for people NOT touch interesting work % these pieces are meant to be displayed on Columns so they can be walked around. I had to really think about the paper so it can stand the test of time.

A few words about copyright. I'm sure you recognize quite a few images on these pieces like Esher & Curtis & we all see some popular images of  Frida Kahlo used over & over on Etsy. As long as you are using an image in a UNIQUE way ONCE & it will not be repeated or mass produced, you are usually o.k. There are some artists you see less then others. Georgia O'Keefe's estate for example has VERY tight reins on her copyright. Elvis too. : >

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Model For Matisse

 The first thing I'm going to say is, Etsy is A  LOT of work & not for the faint of heart! It's scary initially to take the step to put yourself out there, but quickly becomes enjoyable, a great place to meet other artists & see their work, form good friendships, (Donna : > ) get great help & guidance, (Shayla : >) & marvel at how many talented people there are in the world!

I mention this because one of the ways I relax late at night, (such a night owl! ), is to watch movies & lately I've been very drawn to art themes. Netflix is a great place to seek out titles I might not find otherwise. I came across A Model for Matisse & wanted to share it;

"This charming documentary explores the friendship between artist Henri Matisse and the woman who inspired him to create some of his best-loved works, Dominican nun Sister Jacques-Marie. The 83-year-old nun discusses her days as a model and muse for Matisse, including her role in what he considered his life's masterpiece: the paintings and stained-glass windows of the Chapel of the Rosary in the French Mediterranean village of Vence."

I'm not Catholic & I don't attend church, but if I was to go, this would be the place for me! It's absolutely stunning!