Monday, August 20, 2018

Double Bind

Double Bind
32" x 42"

I am so happy to share with you that my quilt has been accepted to Quilts=Art=Quilts at the Schweinfurth Art Center, in Auburn, NY, October 27, 2018 to January 6, 2019.
I was inspired by patterns I saw while swimming laps at the pool.  I used four of those to make the fabrics for this quilt, along with some hand dyed solid fabrics. It has undergone a number of different compositions before settling on this one.  I guess that's why it didn't look good to me before, because it just wasn't finished yet.  And this one didn't really come together until I decided to add the swimmer in the lower corner and the text.  Now it really pops for me.  I love the graphics so much!
The emotional content of the quilt came from my father.  I have been thinking about him a lot lately.  He lives in an assisted living facility and fell.  He vividly remembers the pain, and the lack of balance and loss of control when walking.  So he decided not to walk again.   He is bedridden and doesn't really eat much either. And he is having memory deficits too. It is hard to watch the slow and inevitable decline.  It is hard to be so far away.  It is hard to have so many memories of things that didn't go quite right and trying to resolve them for myself.  Let me just say that for this one, the problem has been resolved.  I can go swimming now and I can get wet while doing it!
Notes for inquiring minds:
The swimmer and the fins are made using a paper laminate process. 
The text was made from a screen print with black fabric paint.
Both the swimmer and the text were fused on with Mistyfuse before quilting.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Days and Nights 2.0

Days and Nights 2.0
16" x 16"

This year I was invited to donate a small quilt to the International Quilt Association's annual auction in Houston.  I could say that I feel honored by the request and happy that there is something I can do to help an organization that I highly value. However, I have mixed feelings about donating my work. And this seems to be a problem for all types of artists as discussed in these links.

From the Huffington Post, Mat Gleason, The Career Benefits of Boycotting Charity Art Auctions
From the NY Times, Donating Work for Charity has a Down Side for Artists
Or this one From Art Career Experts: The argument against donating art to charity auctions
which my favorite quote is ………….I would love to hear the story of the artist whose career rocketed to success because he or she donated a work to a charity auction and this act alone tipped the first domino toward an avalanche of success coming his or her way. This narrative is always implied. I’ve never seen it happen.

The issues that concern me the most are:
1.  My textile works are incredibly time consuming to make. And, by donating my work, I do not get to set a minimum price for the work.  It could sell for a lot less than I would sell it.  This helps the buyer, but it drives down the market value of my work.
2.  The organization keeps 100% of the profits.
3.  For all the different charities to whom I have donated work, I have yet to even have my name or website associated with any marketing or promotional materials. And, this is such a great but missed opportunity for cross-promotion.
4.  It is rare, so very rare to receive any sales as a result of having my work in an auction.  To date, I have only had one small one, and I feel lucky to have gotten that one.
5.  Also, the tax code is written so that I can only write off a tax deduction for the price of the materials, which are minimal compared with the time I invested in making it.
6.  Also, for the charity asking for the donation, because there are so few upsides for the artist, they end up getting pieces donated that are not the highest standards.  There is no incentive to donate your very best work to an auction.  And, though I love this little piece that I am donating, I don't think it's my best work.
seeing the texture emerge, machine quilting and before the hand quilting
after the hand quilting
I like the suggestions offered by Maria Brophy in her blog post here. I haven't used it yet, but I am considering it for the next request I get.

Thank you for the opportunity to donate art to your organization.  I would be honored to have my artwork and name associated with yours and the great work you are doing.
Due to the extremely high volume of requests from many great charities, I have developed guidelines that enable me to donate artwork at less than retail cost.  These requirements also help me to reduce losses since current U.S. tax laws are unfavorable to artist donations.
Please consider offering these terms for all of your future artist donations, as your organization will benefit from it greatly by attracting top quality, high value artwork; and over time, will become known as the go-to-organization for unique and valuable art.
My donation guidelines are:
  • The organization agrees to split the proceeds from the sale or auction 50/50 (50% to the Artist and 50% to the organization).  I ask for payment within 7 business days of the sale.  The name, address, phone and e-mail of the buyer will be provided to me for my records.
  • A minimum or a reserve price will be set and will be designated by me.  (This is required to honor the value of the artwork for my existing collectors and partner galleries.)
  • In the event the artwork does not sell, it will be returned by the organization to me, at the organization’s expense, within seven (7) business days following the auction or sale.
If these guidelines are agreeable to you, please let me know and I’ll draw up a Consignment Agreement and send you photos of my donation for your consideration.
Artist Name Here.
And, yet, this time, I am sending a quilt and getting almost nothing in return. I ask myself why, and the answer is quite predictable.  This little piece was lying around in my closet, unfinished, unused, and unseen.  It took little time to quilt it and finish it, so off it's going, into the world.  The issues I raised here are real ones for me, but not always so simple when actually responding to these requests.  I usually say no.  Sometimes I say yes.  I ask you to consider that if you are willing to buy a piece at an auction, consider also buying a piece directly from the artist, or inquiring about having a small piece made just for you!

Thanks so much for stopping by!