Well, I finished up my workshops today with Kathleen Amt's. My brain
feels like spaghetti and I'm going to sleep until noon tomorrow. Then I'm
going to (over the next three days):
1. Find a vacant studio and finish the projects that there was no time to
finish during the workshops. The studios, with the instructors, are open
from 7PM to midnight, but us older folk can't hack it and go to our rooms
to become turnips. Besides, there are talks/slide shows until about 10PM.
2. Visit the shops in Gatlinburg that don't have neon signs. From what I
hear there is a terrific *** stamp shop. The pc'ers have so thoroughly
decimated their stock that they put in a special order to be FedExed to
them tomorrow. I'm sure the poor people had no clue that a polymer clay
conference would produce any business for them!!!! That reminds me that
Lynne Wardrop told me that there is such a thing as a list of "Angel Stamp
Companies". These are *** stamp companies that recognize that crafters
use their products for commercial sales, and don't have a problem with
copyright infringement. If anyone has a current list, I'd appreciate it if
you would e-mail it to me or post it. I'm limited in my 'net access
because I have to use AOL's 800 number for which there is a per-minute
charge, plus the ***y motel charges 50 cents a call for 800 calls. If
someone wants to be really ambitious, there is a rec.crafts.***-stamp
(not sure of the hyphen) newsgroup.
3. Drive around the National Park if we ever have an un-smoky day.
Sunday and Monday were hazy; Tuesday and today were cloudy and rainy.
As my brain clears out, I'll be able to impart some tips and techniques.
But aside from the workshop stuff there is one very important thing I
learned. And I'm going to yell because it's importance CANNOT be stressed
Polymer clay doesn't require a very large investment in tools and
supplies, but can, and does, require an investment of your time. I
consider my time priceless. So, invest some money into the one thing that
will improve your chances of getting into a juried show or gallery:
GET A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAHER TO TAKE YOUR SLIDES. HAVE HIM/HER TAKE
SLIDES OF 5 OF YOUR BEST PIECES. HAVE THE PHOTOGRAPHER BRACKET THE SLIDES
(ONE UNDEREXPOSED, ONE OVEREXPOSED AND ONE PERFECT). DO THIS EVEN IF IT
COSTS YOU $500-$1,000. If sending to a gallery, also send a photograph
because they often don't bother to use a slide projector, but hold the
slide up to the light.
In a jury situation with multiple jurors and hundreds of slides, the
slides are projected very quickly, with only a few seconds in between.
Sometimes, multiple slides are projected at the same time. During the
first run through, choices are made for the next projection and so on until
the final choices are made. The consensus among those who have served on
juries (Kathleen Dustin and Pier Voulkos among them) is that the slides
that show the piece off to best advantage are the ones that catch the
jurors eye. It seems to be a combination of the human visual process
(drawn to good compostion) and the perhaps subconscious realization that a
professional presentation represents a professional artist. Then the jury
will take the time at a later stage to carefully consider the piece itself.
There could be magnificent pieces, poorly photographed, that don't get a
moment's consideration. You don't have to display the pieces on the slides
at the show/gallery, just pieces in the same medium, with the same quality
of work. So, one set of slides can be used multiple times over several
years unless your technique/product changes or improves. If you consider
the jury fee for shows you don't get into, getting into one show because of
good slides will pay for the photographer. And the rest is gravy.
The reason for bracketing the exposures is that the underexposed one can
often produce a dark, '***' image; the underexposed one is submitted for
all printing uses (business cards, magazine layouts) because the second
printer's ink hits an image, it darkens measurably.
All the information about the slides comes from Wendy Rosen of the Rosen
Group whose sole business is to help bring together galleries, wholesalers
and craftspeople. She wrote "Crafting as a Business" which is a very
worthwhile investment, IMHO. Hers was the third book I bought here after
swearing that I was NEVER going to buy another craft book!!! The other two
are Maureen Carlson's and another book on figures by Susanna Oroyan. Wendy
was on a panel with Kathleen Dustin, Pier Voulkos, Laura Balombini and
Merrie Buchsbaum where all this was shared and also gave a slide talk the
following night about trends. She will be a big help to pc in general
because, until Arrowmont, she was totally unaware of the breadth and
artistry of the work being done. Her group publishes AmericanStyle and
Niche magazines and she is going to have the AS editor plan a pc issue!!!
There is still a need for a lot of public and industry education!!
Kathleen Dustin shared a neat marketing technique. On a board titled
something like "How this is made", she has put a blob of raw clay and then
illustrated the whole process with more clay pieces showing every stage.
She says the men love it, and once they understand what's involved, will
often purchase a piece over their wife's objections! She says men need to
know how something is done, and the technique also eliminates the "is this
painted?" question. BTW, she only does about four shows a year, but when
two of them are the Smithsonian and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, who
needs many more?
Contrary to the statement I made in Tuesday's report, I have Kathleen
Amt's permission to share her papermaking technique. Sometime after I get
home (the17th) and recover, I will post her handout verbatim. If my
halfheimer's kicks in, someone please remind me.