Monday, March 5, 2012

getting back on track--making work that sells

Sometimes I swear I am my own worst enemy. After all, I know which quilts are most likely to sell--either out of my studio or at a craft show. And I will be doing the Paradise City Arts Festival in Marlborough March 16-18. Have you been to that show--such wonderful work. Big enough that you can find plenty of work to get amazed at--and small enough that you can actually see the entire show. You can even get discount tickets on their website--

Now I have made my quilt--rolling hills--before. Basically I think of it as a study of different scenes. Not sure if it is the same scene on different days or from different vantage points. Maybe it is even different scenes. In any case, each quilt I make is different just like each scene is different--almost like jazz riffs. After I start, I have to pay careful attention since I am never sure what will happen.

And let's face it--while we artists are not supposed to be working for money--still, to put it bluntly--money buys fabric and time to make more quilts. I mean, how lucky I am that I can actually support myself making quilts.

I hem. I haw. I drink more coffee. I even clean the studio. Then I start--and the quilt takes off. So quickly that I don't even have progress images. Still I love the colors. Wonderful blues. That hint of peach and salmon. I love how the darker colors accentuate the scenes. Cool, isn't it?

Then I realize what else I can do--how I can use this quilt to push my work even further. I have been thinking for some time that I should make my work almost as tableaus. After all, that is how I now do it in the studio. That is one of the good things that happened with the move.  And I think it would be a fun thing to do with my galleries. Help focus my work.  Let me try it.

Yes, this is interesting. Maybe I should even make a couple more pillows--add a bit more of that salmon in a pillow. Maybe a lighter blue. Perhaps a table runner. Hmmm--what do you think? Do you ever find it hard to make the obvious pieces--because they are too obvious? How do you keep your work fresh--how do you keep pushing yourself? Is it OK for an artist to make work that she knows is more likely to sell? What do you think?


  1. It is absolutely okay for artists to make work that is likely to sell, because artists have to eat. They also have to make art, which is often a result of NOT worrying about what will sell, which they need to find time for as well... and that's exactly what you were doing the first time you created the thing that sells well. There's also always tweaking, and that is perfecting your art -- Monet painted a lot of haystacks. They're all in the museum.

  2. Thanks Susan. How much I agree with you. And how much I enjoyed seeing your fabulous work again.

    I am now wondering how much did Monet's haystacks vary over time--does anyone know?

  3. You've posed a really interesting question about whether it's right to make work you know will sell. I think it is right to make anything as long as it is your own unique work. I think another question might be is it right or does it work for you? I sometimes make smaller pieces because I know they will sell, but also because smaller pieces have a faster reward. I can follow an idea without committing to something bigger. It makes me happy. i never make a piece for just one reason and I get too bored to reproduce the same thing twice.

    1. I agree--sometimes I use smaller projects as wind-ups for a larger project.