L. P. Skeen on sun 21 oct 01
Now that I'm on "the other side" of the gallery owner/artist fence (ok, =
actually I'm sitting on the fence, but you get the idea), I have a whole =
new perspective of that relationship. Part of this will sound bitchy, =
but these are things I never thought of before I started taking other =
people's work to sell. =20
First of all, I have been amazed at the number of artists who have no =
concept of the consignment agreement, and don't even bring inventory =
sheets. They'll sign it because I require it, but most don't even read =
it first. I would never have learned about the consignment agreement if =
it weren't for Clayart, because only one gallery I show in has such a =
formal agreement. =20
Then there are the ones who show up with their work and take up =
residence and counter space pricing and tagging their work. I have =
been guilty of this in the past, but not recently. IMO, when you deliver =
your work, it should already be labelled with your artist code and the =
retail price, and each piece should be listed on an inventory sheet. Am =
I the only one who feels this way?
Trying to get bio information out of some people is like pulling teeth. =
I asked for photos of the artists for our grand opening, but very few of =
my artists would give me one. I myself need to get some brochures made, =
so I know how you feel, but please bring me some information about =
yourself, because the customers WILL ask, even if there are 3 people =
waiting behind them to be checked out.....
....and can I just say, if you're gonna take work to a gallery, please =
be so kind as to WASH THE DUST OFF IT FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =
The gallery folks are not your mother, and do not appreciate having to =
clean up after you. Ok, that WAS bitchy, but also true.
Last but not least, do not bring second quality work to a gallery even =
if it is located in Bumschmuck Egypt. Period, end of story. =20
L. P. Skeen www.living-tree.net
Living Tree Studios, Summerfield, NC
"Just because nobody understands you does NOT mean that you are an =
The election ain't over til your brother counts the votes.
Dannon Rhudy on mon 22 oct 01
At 02:39 PM 10/21/01 -0400, you wrote:
>Now that I'm on "the other side" of the gallery owner/artist
....a whole new perspective of that relationship.
... artists who have no concept of the consignment agreement,
>Then there are the ones who show up with their work and take up residence
and counter space pricing and tagging their work.
.....when you deliver your work, it should already be labelled with your
artist code and the retail price, and each piece should be listed on an
inventory sheet. ......
You are right on regarding the above. So, when you invite someone
to show work in your gallery, send them a list of what to do
first. If you're really feeling business-like, tell them you
can't accept work without code, tags, etc. If they can't be
professional, they shouldn't expect to be treated as though
There's nothing bitchy about requiring folks to clean
up before/after themselves if they want to place work
in your sales space. It is YOUR space, and you rule.
If they don't wish to accept your rules, they can sell
someplace else. That's just business. So make the
requirements clear, in writing, and your life will be
easier. And less dusty.
claybair on mon 22 oct 01
Forget it L.P..... I will never give you the honor of displaying my dusty,
food encrusted, ,S-cracked, unsigned scratchy foot ringed, under fired,
crazed, bloated, tag free & inventory free masterpieces... And to add
insult to injury you want a bio and photo... you ask way too
much.....Harrumph, so there !!!!!->
Thanks for the insight and the chuckle! I am finally coming to terms with
gallery commissions, wholesale pricing etc. from the viewpoint of the
"arteest". My ego has taken a sabbatical and I am looking at being more
Gayle Bair- loves "bitchy" send me more!
Bainbridge (Bumshmuck) Island, WA
L. P. Skeen wrote>>
Now that I'm on "the other side" of the gallery owner/artist fence (ok,
actually I'm sitting on the fence, but you get the idea), I have a whole new
perspective of that relationship. Part of this will sound bitchy, but these
are things I never thought of before I started taking other people's work to
First of all, I have been amazed at the number of artists who have no
concept of the consignment agreement, and don't even bring inventory sheets.
They'll sign it because I require it, but most don't even read it first. I
would never have learned about the consignment agreement if it weren't for
Clayart, because only one gallery I show in has such a formal agreement.
Then there are the ones who show up with their work and take up residence
and counter space pricing and tagging their work. I have been guilty of
this in the past, but not recently. IMO, when you deliver your work, it
should already be labelled with your artist code and the retail price, and
each piece should be listed on an inventory sheet. Am I the only one who
feels this way?
Trying to get bio information out of some people is like pulling teeth. I
asked for photos of the artists for our grand opening, but very few of my
artists would give me one. I myself need to get some brochures made, so I
know how you feel, but please bring me some information about yourself,
because the customers WILL ask, even if there are 3 people waiting behind
them to be checked out.....
....and can I just say, if you're gonna take work to a gallery, please be so
kind as to WASH THE DUST OFF IT FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The gallery
folks are not your mother, and do not appreciate having to clean up after
you. Ok, that WAS bitchy, but also true.
Last but not least, do not bring second quality work to a gallery even if it
is located in Bumschmuck Egypt. Period, end of story.
L. P. Skeen www.living-tree.net
Living Tree Studios, Summerfield, NC
"Just because nobody understands you does NOT mean that you are an artist."
The election ain't over til your brother counts the votes.
william schran on mon 22 oct 01
LP - Been there, done that. Had a fine craft (bought at ACC & Buyer's
Market shows in addition to local work) and original art gallery for
10 years. Slowly moved from all consignment, to consigning fine art
and a few select craft folks, and buying vast majority of all the
crafts (clay, glass, wood, jewelry, etc). We also grew tired of
these "professional" dragging in stuff they couldn't sell at shows,
showing up at the most inconvenient times, nothing labeled, no list
and wanting us to do the work!
Finally just started saying: "sorry don't want your work anymore".
When we started buying what we felt was quality and our clients would
like, sales doubled in the first 6 months!
Wade Blocker on mon 22 oct 01
I was interested in your letter re gallery management. I would have been
laughed out of the galleries in California, had I not come in with an
invoice and every item priced and labelled.
Since coming to Albuquerque I am a rarity my gallery owners love. I have
duplicate invoices and everything priced. Apparently local artists behave
much the way you described in your E mail. I think that it shows a lack of
professionalism. I hate to do invoices and would consider it presumptious
to expect the gallery owner to spend time doing this. I am grateful that
they display my work attractively and sell it.
A long time ago, when I met Beatrice Wood in her Ojai studio, she told
me of her first museum show. The curator asked for an invoice. She replied
that she was an artist and could not be bothered. Whereupon the curator sat
her down and showed her what was needed. From that day on her invoices were
models of perfection! Mia in ABQ
L. P. Skeen on mon 22 oct 01
>>Finally just started saying: "sorry, don't want your work anymore".
What is a good way to say that? I feel like, having done street festivals
for several years, that I have a pretty good handle on what will and won't
sell. Generally speaking (and in my experience!), short, squatty pots don't
sell no matter WHAT you glaze 'em with. Heavy, lumpy pots don't sell unless
priced at fire sale level. And, I'm SO sorry, but tobacco spit brown on a
plain, ugly pot is just plain ugly, I don't give a damn WHAT is selling at
the bloody furniture market. (I generally hate brown glaze, unless it's got
some interesting characteristic to it or it's on a really good pot.)
> When we started buying what we felt was quality and our clients would
> like, sales doubled in the first 6 months!
Wow, I will definitely keep that in mind. I have bought a few things when I
couldn't find them locally or through friends <<>>,
but have been criticized for doing so. "You shouldn't buy that when you can
make it yourself." Well, if there were 400 hours in a day maybe.........
I have my fingers in several pies. I make pots and have since '95. I make
handmade soaps, powders, lip balm and lotion sticks, and have since '96. I
also do handpainting on silk and sterling silver jewelry and I sell all of
the above. I actually dont' have enough time to do all the above any more
and have stopped the silk painting for awhile now.....definitely can't start
doing ONE MORE DANG THING!!!
When I do buy work, I try to stay within North Carolina, but it's hard to do
that when you can't find folks who make what you want to sell. For example,
I have talked to everyone I know, and can't find anyone local doing handmade
paper. I bought that from TwistedLimb paperworks in Indiana
(www.twistedlimbpaper.com ). I also want to carry all handmade work, or
work that only has pre-made parts incidental to the whole, such as the
burner and globe on an oil lamp. Wish I could find those parts made in USA
myself, but I think AFtosa has cornered the market on buying from the
Jeremy McLeod on tue 23 oct 01
In light of this thread I find the requirements on one local gallery
to be even more impressive than when I first heard of them.
The owner doesn't consider an artist's work unless we provide
1) an artist's statement
2) a bound book (can be looseleaf) of quality photos of our work
3) a sufficient body of work to make a pleasing display
I can't imagine (or don't want to) the response should I try
to bring in something that's schmutzed in some way,
be it simple housedust or raku remains!
And all this from a gallery that isn't particulary shee-shee
in the foo-foo! Just a gallery that takes itself, it's artists,
and it's customers seriously.
Craig Martell on tue 23 oct 01
> >>Finally just started saying: "sorry, don't want your work anymore".
>What is a good way to say that?
Depending on the artist you're talking to, there may or may not be an
acceptable way (to them) of telling that person you are going to pass on
We have owned a gallery here in Oregon since last April and we've been
dealing with this a lot. The clay stuff is easy. We have about 55
artists/crafts people in the gallery. About 1/3 are potters and ceramic
artists. When people ask if we want their stuff they are usually told that
we have the clay pretty well covered at the moment but we would consider
them at a later date. This is not BS, we mean that. If their work isn't
going to sell, or it's not what we want to show, we are upfront about it
but try to say something positive about their work too. I've been given
the Bum's Rush enough times in my career that I'm not in a big hurry to
piss someone off or say unkind things about their work. Those people may
develop into artists/potters that you'd grovel for later and you don't want
to discourage anyone. But, if they aren't ready to sell in a gallery or
shop and you think their work is not the kind you will be able to sell,
tell them. It doesn't do anyone justice to only provide a storage space
for pots and art.
Another thing is that having too many potters or other media dilutes the
income of a lot of the artists in your gallery. Some will always sell very
well but, for some, it's more of a task. I sold at a gallery years ago
that kept adding artists and potters until none of us were doing that well
from month to month. So, I guess there is an end point that you don't want
to reach with too many people in your shop.
As nice as you are, and as fair as you can be, there will always be people
that go away mad and you really can't worry about it. In a related area, I
juried an art fair a couple of years ago in Portland. It's a small show
with about 110 available spaces. The most applied for craft was clay. 94
clay applications. When I figured it out, that was about 8 potters
applying for a booth. This was based on the number of spaces that were
filled by clay folks when all was said and done. I was just ONE of 5
jurors and I wasn't given extra scoring for my area. So I scored a point
higher than I would have given otherwise. My point is that this was a very
tough show to get into and I did everything I could to be fair to everyone
I juried. Without asking me about my approach or the logistical
possibilities of getting into the show, there were some folks that didn't
get into the show that are still pissed off at me. It'll be the same thing
with the gallery stuff. You can bend over backwards to be fair and honest
with people and there will always be some that go away in a huff.
hope all goes well, Craig Martell in Oregon
Janet Kaiser on tue 23 oct 01
Oh, Lisa! Welcome to the joys of being a Gallery! We
will be able to whinge in unison! :-)
But dust is nothing, dear... Wait for the first
uncleaned Raku work to dump carbon and bits of charcoal
onto your pristine, white shelving, before you know
anything about "unclean"!
Another problem you have not mentioned yet: ceramics
which have scratchy bottoms and lamps which leak... A
catastrophe, unless you like and encourage engraved
circular lines on display surfaces or oily patches on
And not to forget the first artist who claims they
delivered XYZ pieces "sometime in August", but you know
damned fine they did not... Delivery and inventory
lists? Ha! You are joking!!!? Eckhard does our
book-keeping, which includes countless scraps of paper
which I have scribbled lists onto whilst sitting on the
artist/maker to make sure they do not bolt out before
they have signed... He is not impressed by "Oh, I trust
you" and I get mad at "Oh, you know what my work is
worth/sell for Janet... Put what you think is best on
Contracts and consignment agreements? We are regarded
with the DEEPEST SUSPICION by new/prospective
exhibitors because we insist... They are not aware it
is to protect themselves and their work as much as
As for promotional material... Photographs? Although we
are all active in the Visual Arts, very few have decent
images of recent work... You will be told you should
pay for it yourself! "What do I pay my commission for?"
is the stock reply to any request to some
artists/makers for anything... We even had one artist
demand royalty payments on (free) catalogues promoting
their work and another who did not want their work
included or sent for publication and/or promotion to
In short Lisa, be prepared for ANYTHING and
But try to enjoy yourself too... Working with artists
and makers is great fun, even if you see a side of the
average Creative Person which may be infuriating and/or
obnoxious, it is nevertheless a very rewarding
occupation. All those wonderful ideas, techniques,
approaches and influences... A beautiful, never-ending
parade of creativity and form which can honestly take
your breath away.
And all that, before the first client even crosses the
The Chapel of Art . Capel Celfyddyd
HOME OF THE INTERNATIONAL POTTERS' PATH
Criccieth LL52 0EA, GB-Wales Tel: (01766) 523570