Coffee in the Chicago skyline mug, "Snow" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers (hence referred to as the Chili Peppers--we're that chummy now). It's not cold enough here to snow yet, but I am still on my Chili Peppers kick. Today the post is all about the glass--or at least the glass from a business perspective (ostensibly the reason for this blog).
Yesterday I got the latest issue of Profitable Glass Quarterly. Loy Allen's orchids are on the cover and I feel smug as I suggested they do the studio profile on her. She is a North Dakota boro artist from whom I bought a praying mantis for Dave at the last February Buyer's Market--gorgeous work. The issue also contains an article I wrote on pricing work for the artist. Today I get to wrestle with and eventually reconcile all of the factors involved with pricing as I prepare for the Waldorf Artist Market this weekend. These factors include my expectation that this won't be a high dollar show and my desire to move one-of-a-kind, limited edition, and retired series work.
Let's not beat about the Bush (unless we're really lucky and we have a big stick and the secret service is conspicuously absent), the economy is tight. I anticipate that the majority of the shoppers will be parents who already pay private school tuition in the aforementioned tight economy and won't be up for big ticket glass art. Add that to the fact that it's the school/church variety holiday craft show--not a well-advertised established art show run by either professional promoters or a strong neighborhood volunteer network--and I do not think I'll break a $1,000 this show. I might not break $500. Heck, I might not break $250.
On the other hand, I am pretty prolific and have a lot of work hanging around the studio that I can't market to galleries because the shows I do are order shows--not cash and carry. That means I would have to take these pieces as samples and I either can't or don't want to do them again. I just want to get them out of the studio so I can free up room for current work. I would like to recoup a bit of the cost, but I'm not picky as long as they just Go Away.
Add together my expectations and my situation with an abundance of work to move and the temptation is great to offer everything at wholesale or even below. Is this a good idea? Probably not. In Art (Craft, whatever...) perception is everything. This will be the first time most of these people have seen my work. Do I wish to set in their minds a perceived value of it based on the price I am asking for these pieces? There is nothing wrong with them technically or artistically, I am just bored with them. We artists have tiny attention spans. We get bored, we move on, we don't need old work around to remind us of what we used to do.
Yes, I can put out signage telling people what a great steal of a deal they're getting and not to expect these prices Ever Again, but do people really read? Will they remember? Even if they acknowledge their bargain intellectually, viscerally are they going to think that's what my work is worth? I really, really, really want to sell these pieces--and I wouldn't mind a quick fix of Christmas cash. I don't have room for both the old work and the new (I am sharing three six foot by three foot tables with Jessie and another jeweler--Dee and Todd aren't able to do the show so there'll just be the three of us and I expect to fill almost two tables on my own). Am I shooting myself in the foot? Mox nix, I'm going to go for it and just weather any pricing fallout.
Jessie will probably be the big hit of the show. Her work is perfectly priced and gorgeous--and it has the advantage of having been designed and created by a seven year-old (with a bit of expert advice from Mom and Dee on glass and jewelry making). How could you resist rings for $4 and a pair of dichro earrings for $8? I'm setting her up to take care of me in my old age. Note to self: Do Not Become a Stage Mom.