Monday, May 29, 2006

The Netherlands

Another journey almost over. I have done and seen a lot and am actually feeling quite tired , though I am looking forward to having my sewing machine within easy access and getting going on some projects which I want done before September and of course seeing my family.

The collage is of various views of Erve Brooks where Annelies Elburg, Laura Liebenberg and Hella Sluyters and I have had an exhibition this past week. We had lots of visitors which is great but few buyers of anything, including fabric and fabric prints- which is not so great. I did not cover the cost of this weeks portion of the airfare from Australia to the Netherlands( I portion my airfare off into weeks so that i can see what is viable and what isn't) and sadly this was a loss for me so I will not do this again. One reason I am telling you this is I did get lots of questions about how did I do this and that- people want information clearly , but somehow expect to get it for nothing. We received lots of compliments and also comments such as "I have seen some great ideas"- yes well, as Gertrude Stein said the problem with having a great idea is that someone always comes along and does it better . Right now I am in the mood for keeping my great ideas behind closed doors for awhile and pondering how to better sell my goods. And whilst we sat and answered questions we thought we should have a byline-" ideas cost time, energy and money!"

I know this is one aspect of the quilt world- this sharing, and I do share but sometimes it simply becomes ripping off- and when you spend a year creating and people do not buy a thing- not even a piece of fabric then i feel despondent.After all I have three kids at home who also need to be fed. This isn't just a social outing for me, it is a step in the process of earning an income. Posted by Picasa


Claire said...

Dijanne, your frustration is understandable. You promote your work, travel and teach more than any artist I know of and from where I am standing it all looks like hard, hard work.

I'm have been trying to write a comment which may give you some insight or comfort. But to be frank, I am probably just like those people who visited your show this week. I rarely buy art. I go to galleries (even commercial ones) more for education and entertainment than shopping. I have not made provision in my budget for art purchases even though I have been considering it for at least a year and to make matters worse, I am not an impulsive purchaser.

I have bought 4 pieces of art in my life. One from you, two from my sister and a beautiful ring (which I have since ruined). The reasons for these purchases were complicated and were not as a result of visiting a gallery (except the jewellery, but I intentionally visited that gallery because I wanted a ring and knew they might have something to my taste).

The main benefit I can see for exhibiting is to get your name/work known. Perhaps you wont sell the work today or next week, but maybe next year.... after the punter has had time to think. I suppose I see a bit of a problem with you exhibiting overseas because you aren't around to consolodate the good work you have done. I could be wrong about this, it is just a thought.

I really do wish you all the best


Anonymous said...

Dear Dijanne,

As we already said before: I think in Holland it is difficult to sell quilts. As I spoke yesterday afternoon with a older woman: (she makes classical stuff and things. she said - not these modern things ) If I want to have a quilt I make my own - people think textile art is easy to make and they don't see the many hours of thinking and then working out. There also was some one else who asked for patterns to buy: as I told her you and Annelies make originals, she did not understand or believed me, because patchwork is made from patterns, and she did not want to buy some fabrics because she always want to work with Paapje.

I understand you have to decide not do√Źng this anymore next year on this conditions but, and I am sure you already know, there will be a lot of people who are disappointed about it.

As always I love to see your works ( aswell as from Annelies ) and I admire your quilts etc.

I hope to be able to see you at a workshop next year somewhere around.

Have a good trip home.

Emmy said...

Hello Dijanne

I must say that I hade a very nice time on the workshop in the stofmeid .Two days of insperation it was very good .I loved to meet you in person and to see your wonderful work .

I can understand you for not doing this again .

have a good trip home
warm regards Emmy

Dijanne Cevaal said...

Hello Emmy and Ina

I like sharing in a workshop- after all that is part of the reason people come- it is the questioning that takes place at the exhibition that bothers me. Part of me wants to say- well come and do a workshop,but that sounds so well... rude so I don't. I enjoyed the workshops at the Stofmeid as well.

Marianne said...

Hi Dijanne, I don't know you or your work, but I found this blog through a link of a quilting forum and the fact that you had been visiting my country attracted my attention. I'm sorry to hear that the trip didn't bring you what you expected or hoped for and I understand that you want to re-think your strategies. So maybe some tips from someone that hasn't been there can contribute something. I think in order to sell your work you have to consider the location, not only geographycally but also in what exhibition/galery. I don't think that a quilt show is a good place to sell your art work because the main public will be quilters/crafters who quilt themselves and will be inspired but not likely to buy. An (big) art market or galery would better serve that purpose because people will come more with the purpose of purchasing art work. For fabric I think quilt exhibitions like the National Quilt Exhibition or the European Quilt Championship etc will be good places to sell, specially if you have something that is distinctive. For the part of your expertise I don't think it is rude at all to refer to your workhops! (It is typical Dutch though to want to get your expertice for free LOL). Honestly, does the baker explain us in the shop how we can make thse delicious cakes ourselves at home? You've invested in your skills and have the right to expect something in return. Maybe a combination with a more central location in a more populated area would have helped to attrack more people and potential buyers? In general it might be an idea to address also firms/banks/organisations etc. since they often have a budget to buy art for their buildings and in this way a lot of people can enjoy your work. Maybe this is all to obvious but I just thought to share my two pence. Good luck with it. Marianne

Intuitive Textile Journeys said...

Hello Dijanne,

The first step is to work out what business you are in. Perhaps, not the business of selling quilts after all.

Maybe instead you are in the business of selling Inspiration.

This is how it seems to me from reading this blog and the comments. If this is the case, then you need to charge enough to cover your costs. Quilters / crafters come to exhibitions as you say, not to purchase quilts, because they can make these themselves. Instead they come for inspiration.

Maybe we need to educate both exhibitors and entrants that they have come for the possiblity of inspiration and if they are so inspired that they purchase a piece, then their entry fee will be refunded. Veronicah

PaMdora said...

I don't blame you for wanting to pull back and not share information for a while. Someone once told me, to be truely human in this life, we all need to serve and to be served. Maybe now is your time to not share for a while. The energy drain of making art and promoting it can be enormous

Shelina said...

I don't know you or your work either, but will be browsing your blog in a minute. I just wanted to say sorry about your experience. I too am one of those people who will browse and be inspired but am too poor and too much of a cheapskate to actually buy much. Your work will likely be out of my price range. I really like making things more than owning them.
I haven't made much money quilting, so can't really provide you with any real advice, but one thing I noticed at the annual arts festival is that people will be willing to buy small things, like headbands, small prints, things that remind them and represent the bigger things at the show that they cannot afford. You've probably already done this, but having a variety of things to fit different price ranges will help.