Friday, 30 October 2009

Graphics Fairy - Shameless Promotion

The Graphics Fairy has an image to suit your every need.
"The Graphics Fairy is an Angel Company. You are free to use all clip art and photos, with the exception of the banner, in any of your projects created for resale or pleasure. Please do not use more than 4 of the graphic images within any one project, or withing a single page of a blog or website. A link to the Graphics Fairy is very much appreciated, when including clipart on your blog or website."

Visit The Background Fairy Here

Visit Fleurish here

Graphics Fairy on Etsy

Monday, 26 October 2009

Copyright Free

The law regarding copyright of images is simple - don't copy! However, some businesses do offer copyright-free images for either personal or business use. Dover Bookshop is a good example of this. A really good on-line resource for vintage images is The Graphics Fairy. Here Karen tells us about her blog and the images.

"I started my blog in the Fall of 2007. I initially came up with the idea after my hard drive crashed twice, the year before and I lost all of my favorite images on my computer, both times! (and no nothing was backed up). I thought storing my images online would be a safer option and then I came up with the idea of sharing them. At the time nobody was really doing this, many were selling the images but they were not offered for free. (Not that there's anything wrong with selling them!)
I already had a blog for my shop Fleurish so, it was a natural progression to add a second blog. That's how the Graphics Fairy began. Too date, I have over 800 images that my readers can use in their artwork or on their blogs. They are all free and can be used in projects for resale as well, providing that no more than 4 images are used in any one project or web/blog page. I've been an antique dealer for over 18 years and have always loved old paper items. I have loads of paper in my collection and I'm always out looking for more images. Many of my friends are in the antique business as well and they often lend me pieces to add to my site. You'll find a variety of graphics on my blog including, antique postcards, early sheet music, old ephemera, antique flourishes from early Spencerian pages, old children's book illustrations etc. I offer a combination of color and black and white pieces. I try very hard to only include pieces that fall under "Public Domain" laws and as far as I know all of my images are safe to use.
It's an absolute joy for me to see how my readers reinterpret these images into their artwork. I have seen my graphics used in jewelry design, card making, web design, decoupage, home decor items, even quilts!"

Sunday, 18 October 2009

On Vacation.....

Back on 26th October with a new post about Copyright Free Images. Don't miss it!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

In the Studio (Part 4)

"In the Studio" is a regular feature showing artists' studios. Whether you work in a purpose-built studio, a shed, an attic or at the kitchen table, we are interested in seeing where you create your art. If you would like to be featured "In the Studio" contact Artists in Business via the email link at the bottom of the page and prepare a short write up and four jpegs too.

Danni of Nelli D

"Well, here we have it, my humble little studio, at the bottom of the garden with the birds and the bees! Stuffed full to the brim, with supplies, boxes of fabric and spiders, I just love it. Everything has its place and is relatively organised, well I know where it all is anyway! I'd like to give the inside a lick of paint but so far I haven't had a spare minute so it will have to wait for now.
I intended to do everything on the big table, but I just cant help myself...I have things drying here there and everywhere and I always end up doing my sewing on a tiny little tv table that is just about big enough ....oh well it works for me. I love the idea of it being like an old sweetshop/antiques shop. I am a bit of an old romantic at heart and being squirrelled away at the bottom of the garden inspires my creations. It is especially great when it is raining because it is amazingly warm in there. I keep all of my beads in recycled jam jars and I am obsessed with old suitcases which I fill with different craft bits and bobs. I recently found a lovely old wooden tool box at a car boot sale for £1 which is totally gorgeous, which is now home to lots of beads.
When I am working I have a trusty side kick...Bub who always agrees that my creations are lovely. She is a lovely old dog who enjoys nothing more than just being with you. So that's it, the nelli D hub!"

Nelli D on Folksy

Leigh Shepherd Designs.

"Both my husband and I work from home so our living space has to be multifunctional and with two small children in the mix its a busy place! I have appropriated part of our dining room as a workspace. It is a light airy room with doors onto the garden making it ideal for working in
and its easy to move outside when I need to prepare wood for my
Tiny Tile Paintings. As my
business is growing I find that I need more and more storage space. My craft fair gear takes up a lot of room, I keep it packed up in the corner ready for the next event. I use a thrifted display cabinet as a packaging station, this allows me to keep everything to hand. The cabinet also houses my resins, glues, varnishes, and larger tools.
The resin I use on my paintings is too hazardous to pour in the house so I do this in the garage. I have an old bakery bread tray to keep the work contained and I cover it with a sheet of cardboard to protect from dust as the tiles dry. My set up is fairly basic but it suits me just fine!"

Leigh Shepherd Blog

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Made -IT (Shameless Promotion)

"Our aim is to bring craft fairs up to date, making them appeal to everyone of all ages.
We feature a fabulous selection of modern craft, made by hand and sold by the maker. We offer a wide range of beautiful and original gifts for you, your friends and your home to suit all budgets. To our stallholders we want to offer a good deal. We will try our very best to advertise widely, have great venues and offer some exclusivity. So whether you are a customer or a stallholder, we promise a warm welcome and hopefully many successful craft fairs."

Autumn/winter programme of events:
Wetherby Town Hall, Wetherby, West Yorkshire 17 October 2009 10am - 4.30pm
Wesley Chapel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire 14 November 10am - 4.30pm
Wetherby Town Hall, Wetherby, West Yorkshire 21 November 2009 10am - 4.30pm
Wetherby Town Hall, Wetherby, West Yorkshire 5 December 2009 10am - 4.30pm
Wesley Chapel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire 11 December 2009 10am - 4.30pm
Wesley Chapel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire 12 December 2009 10am - 4.30pm

Contact Made - it for further details.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Craft Fairs and Arts Markets

One of the most satisfying ways to sell your art is direct to the public and the most popular way is through craft fairs and art markets. Craft fair organiser Deborah de Brunner shares some details of her life as a promoter of artists and artisans in Yorkshire, UK.

"What is better than making something you dreamt up and someone wants to buy it? Or you see someone in the street carrying your handbag, the one made with your own fair hands? I have only been doing it a year and hope that that thrill won’t go away. But of course if you make things you need somewhere to sell them so you can start all over again.

"I enthusiastically turned up at my first craft fair, spent ages arranging and pricing and finally looked around to see mass-produced goods and some handmade things but handmade in the Philippines! I was so disappointed and that led to a discussion with a friend, which led to us setting up our craft fair business “made-it”.

"Our philosophy is to run “real” craft fairs strictly with only handmade goods which are sold by the maker. We also aim to look after our stallholders by offering friendly, efficient service with some level of exclusivity (who wants to turn up and find 5 similar stalls?). The quality of goods on sale and a good mix of stalls are important to us. We also make coffees, carry bags and do whatever we can to make it an enjoyable day. We even put ourselves on to the streets with a sign to drum up trade and put up with the same jokes and occasional rude comments from passers by. How devoted to our stallholders are we?!

"If I had to give advice to exhibitors I would say to really consider the presentation of their goods, use different heights, lighting, a good background cloth and make their prices obvious. People wander by and need something attractive to make them stop. Notice where people tend to look first and put your strongest product there or even a product that makes people smile and can lead to conversation. I would also exhibit at the same venue a few times to build up relationships with regular customers and to get a feel for what sells best there. The strongest advice though is to “sell” your things…our stallholders who put in the most usually gain the most. It can make you feel a bit self-conscious at first but you’ll soon enjoy it. Smile, chat and be enthusiastic about your craft.

"At the moment we are doing fairs in Harrogate and Wetherby but hope to spread our wings further a field soon. You can find out more about us or contact us at Made-it".

Monday, 5 October 2009

Taking a Pound of Flesh....

In my previous post Artist/Gallery Agreements I talked about the gallery precentage on sales. This can vary from 20% to above 50%. How does this affect you as the artist?

Whoever sells your work for you deserves to get paid for doing it. Whether they are acting as an agent or a bricks and mortar gallery/shop they will need to be recompensed for their services. This usually takes the form of a percentage of the sales cost. Percentages can vary wildly and you may feel a bit shocked at the gallery who adds 60% onto your wholesale price. This may take your £25 print up to a whopping £ !

Is this fair? well yes and no (but mostly yes)
Forget about the percentage at the moment. If you are selling your work through a gallery you need to sell it at the right price - enough to cover your materials, overheads and make a small profit - enough to make it worth the gallery adding a percentage without overpricing the item. If a gallery asks you to reduce your costs so that they can add their % and still be able to sell the item then this is not the gallery for you. (Pricing your work is a subject that will be discussed in the future).

So, you are happy to sell your hand pressed lino prints at £80 a print and the gallery is adding 50% to the price - retailing your print at £160.
If your reaction to this is "I could sell this for that price myself!" then the bald answer is "Go on then - why are you wasting the gallery's time?"
If your reaction to this is "that's way overpriced, they'll never sell it!" you need to ask the gallery the following:
  • Does the gallery think that this is a competitive price for your print?
  • What type of customer buys this style of art?
  • Are they confident that they can help you to raise your profile as an artist and bring sales?

It's not in the interest of a gallery to make the work overpriced and unsaleable. They know their customers and their tastes, they know the value of art and they are not in the busoiness of ripping people off.

Why take a percentage? Everyone has to eat. Galleries have their own overheads, publicity costs, staff wages and maintenance charges to pay.

When taking a percentage doesn't work.

  • When your work is selling at another local gallery for a lower price. Undercutting a gallery that could possibly bring you more sales is like shooting yourself in the foot. Better to choose WHICH of the galleries you would prefer to sell through.
  • When you agree to sell your art to someone who has seen it in the gallery but doesn't want to pay the percentage, thus depriving the gallery of the opportunity to broker a sale and, consequently their fee. You have had their services of displaying your work in their gallery for free and they didn't get any payment for it.

If you are unhappy with a gallery because they can't sell your work at their retail price then don't do business with them. Simple As.