A moon, a flower and a choice

Sometimes it’s just nice to make a simple picture, nothing too complicated or meaningful.  I have a little cloth under way, making use of a woven moon I made some time ago with some tiny white scraps.

This is a very simple little pictorial cloth, unusually figurative given my recent foray into circles and squares. The foreground is made from bits of old clothing, some of which still had a buttonhole in place. What else would grow from a buttonhole but a flower-shaped button?

Like I said, sometimes simple is very satisfying. This cloth should be finished tomorrow, when there will be a small shop update. I still have quite a bit of work that I want to finish, so have decided to extend the shop opening until the end of September. After that date I’ll review what I sell where. I’m thinking of returning to etsy, since they seem to have effected some changes since I was last there, making things easier for UK sellers. Big cartel is good in that you don’t have to become a member of anything in order to make a purchase, and their fees are very reasonable. Etsy probably gets more passing trade and a larger audience, which might be helpful, but is so big that a seller could get lost in there. Decisions, decisions!

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18 Responses to A moon, a flower and a choice

  1. maggi21 says:

    A lovely little piece. It must be difficult knowing which outlet is best for your work. Good luck with the decision making.

  2. serenapotter says:

    i went more with my mantra than my needs.

    my overall goal is to get traditional, template patchwork hand piecing and quilting accepted as art and appreciated within the quilting realm again, as well as priced appropriately.

    etsy would probably grant a larger audience for just selling but i’m worried of the message it sends asking to be taken seriously as an artist and then lumping my quilts with
    rocks, old boxes, hangers and half broken trinkets….i think etsy would have retained their artistic base had they simply done an off shoot site of flea market items instead of allowing the whole vintage category to run amok.

    i go there now for a good deal not necessarily artistic pieces, though there are still plenty on there…can’t wait to read everyone’s responses.

    • Karen Turner says:

      Yes – I understand entirely, and that’s partly my concern too – all the non-art on etsy. However, the present arrangement isn’t entirely successful because the only viable route to my bigcartel shop is via the blog. People don’t find the shop ‘by accident’, they are directed there from here. And I know that my blog has a tiny audience and is read mostly by other makers, not buyers. I know that makers do buy as well, but you know what I mean. It all comes down to whether I can make a living or not, and if not, then it will be goodbye to all this and hello to a regular job. Not my ideal choice. I hope for more responses too. Thanks, Serena.

      • Interesting reading today. understand how you feel about making and selling..difficult for most of us l think.xxsorry not much to say tonight..been travelling all day and a bit knackeredxxlynda

      • serenapotter says:

        yeah same here. i have way way less of a readership than you do. i advertised, cheaply, locally, and it boosted my big cartel views….didn’t bother with sending them to the blog,

        but think that locally people aren’t buying moreso because it’s a luxury good.

        i agree with helen that aiming for publication makes a lot of sense in your shoes…..you’re not trying to get your work established, you’re an artist, period, it’s really only advertisement you need. i’d work on befriending and asking friends who they know in the publishing sector….the favor is only holding the door open….you’ll get the attention with your own work!

        but you can always quietly start an etsy shop and see what happens….if things sell equally to your big cartel sales than i would kill it off. if they sky rocket drop the big cartel and promote the heck out of the etsy. i would just try to think more creatively than just either etsy or big cartel.

        i think you do fabulous work and understand the desire to make money off a passion, but personally i like always having a little something else not related to what i enjoy….i don’t mind super part time secretarial work because it lets my head be in another realm for a little bit…that coupled with my kids makes me a happier person when i come back to quilting….i’m hoping more people weigh in because i think it’s an interesting topic that rarely gets the attention it deserves.

        • serenapotter says:

          ps. have you tried any of these other sites…not the esty.


          • Karen Turner says:

            Yes, I have a page on textilearts.net – in fact the lady who runs the site actually offered to make me a ‘featured artist’ page without my having to ask for it, which was nice. I find that having a job is detrimental to my art work. I tried a few years ago working part time as a secretary and trying to make art the rest of the time, and it just didn’t work for me so I stopped the paid work to go full time with the art. If only I didn’t need money life would be just fine! I’m considering using etsy to sell handmade supplies – hand-dyed fabrics and threads, handmade embellishments, maybe some kits, etc. I don’t know, I need to think it all through better. Thanks for being here and cheering me on, it does make such a difference x

  3. helen salo says:

    Karen, I agree with Serena on the whole etsy thing. The only advantage is I can see U.S. dollars. But that is hardly a real advantage. I think the only way to really go is the big cartel shop from your site and try to suttley plug yourself through other sites you visit and then perhaps link up with some galleries or magazines dedicated to art and submit work, articles, etc. You seem like a very good writer as well as a textile artist and by submitting articles (ex: your whole peace series, how, why, etc.) It would surely give exposure. I personally think your work is way too good to get mixed up with etsy as it does have alot of people from the trash to treasure craft movement of late.There are just a handful of people I consider extemely good textile artist and you are definately one of them, so what ever you do, don’t “dummy” your work down by etsy. I do not have a personal blog, but if there is anything I can do to promote you, let me know. And remember :
    regular jobs suck if it doesn’t involve your passion.Ha!

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thank you, Helen. You and Serena have really helped to brighten a dark day. I actually have an article coming out (if all goes according to plan) in the winter issue of Sew Somerset, and a couple of quilts going to a national exhibition next month, so I intend to sit tight for the time being, see what happens (if anything) as a result of those things, and do a full review early next year. It actually hadn’t occurred to me to write about the peace series; I’ll give that some thought. I think most artists don’t enjoy the self-promotion side of their work, but obviously it is a necessary evil. And I’m totally with you on the passionless regular job! Thanks.

  4. Rachel says:

    I think you need to do more writing. I hesitate to say so, because it’s not what you want to do, and it will be hard to find the right places to write (most of the magazines you might write for are also bought by other makers, rather than buyers), but it is another way to drive traffic both to the blog and to the shop.

  5. Rachel says:

    And – finally – start to think about how you will cope if it becomes successful. You can’t really produce your work any faster than a certain rate, so you will only ever be able to achieve a certain level of sales. Are you charging enough?

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thanks, Rachel, I hadn’t considered some of that. No, I don’t charge anywhere near enough, but art is only worth what someone else is prepared to pay for it. And I’m still a nobody, which makes it worth even less. Makes me think of the (Mark Twain?) quotation: ‘all my life I wanted to be somebody. Now I see I should have been more specific.’ I wonder about putting some little packs of hand-dyed fabrics together… but still lots of options to consider. Thanks for your input.

      • serenapotter says:

        hahaha. i love that quote.

        see i actual find making the business plans for small endeavors fun, but my mom and dad ran a successful business for ten years. me and nakia helped name it and we always discussed jobs and decisions as a family.
        and i’ve also worked some with non profits on the fund raising side.

        money to live is annoying, money to invest and tinker with is pure fun. lots of love to you and if i find or read anything i’ll be sure to send it your way.

  6. helen salo says:

    Karen, I love the idea of selling “components” for the audience that stitches. Alot of times one loves to produce “like” someone (not copy) but may have difficulty in selecting or obtaining the elements. There is alot of extra money to be made in selling supplies and it still gives you a creative outlet for what your passion is by putting together packets, for instance. I probably sound rambley,but I love to help people promote their work. I took some marketing classes in college (a long time ago) and find it a sort of “high” coming up with ideas and then (on occasion, HA!) seeing those ideas work for someone.
    Love the idea of “Sew Somerset”, and the national exhibit, I think you’re on the right track, Saturate the market until you become a household name in the textile art field.

    • Karen Turner says:

      Thanks, Helen. I’ll be working on this idea until I come up with something that might work; I think it could be nice to share some of my fabrics. It makes sense that if most of my readers are makers, then I might give them something to make with. The idea of marketing classes fills me with dread, though I acknowledge it’s probably something I need to look at. I need an agent!

  7. Janice says:

    Not that I’ve looked into this – but I’ve also seen Folksy, which I got the impression was a UK version of Etsy? And there’s also UK Handmade, which I think Karen R is part of. You can raise your profile by trying to get articles into online and paper journals. There’s also Artful Blogging. Google it and see what you think. I do so understand – self promotion is SO difficult. Good luck!

    • Karen Turner says:

      Yes, I investigated Artful Blogging a while ago and the editor directed me to Sew Somerset and invited me to write something for them, so that turned out very well. Haven’t really looked at Folksy yet, though I have heard of it. The problem with etsy (and folksy and UK Handmade) is that I don’t really have ‘a product’ as such. I think I need a better definition of what I am before I launch into something like that. I may still use etsy for selling supplies. Thanks for the ideas, I have lots to think about..

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