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Okay.

 

So, I am struggling with a decision here, and I really hope you guys can help a guinea out.

 

My dear friend David and I were doing a little gallery trawl in downtown Coeur D'Alene, Idaho yesterday. My precious bunny girl, Malutka, was having her teeth checked for molar spurs at the vet, and since she would be there all day, we figured we could kill some time by looking for inspiration from other artists (he is an excellent linocut print artist).

 

So, we came to a gallery there that I've known about for ages called The Art Spirit. We are both diehard fans of Beth Cavener Stichter (she is a freaking GODDESS), and she has her work in that gallery a lot. But...I saw there were other really wonderful ceramic artists there, too, and...NONE of them work in lowfire. My gears began turning in my head...

 

I talked to the lady working there about possibly submitting my work for consideration. I was so shy and nervous, being surrounded by such magnificent artworks, but I showed her my rabbit bowl with the roses (on my phone) and she gasped. Ummm... yeah. I was really shocked by that reaction and she insisted on me contacting the curator immediately.

 

I am really intimidated by this. There were coffee mugs and wierd yunomi tornado things in there selling for $90. I sell my mugs of that size for like $35...and mine were every bit as good as those others. The onlydifference is that mine are in redart. I also know my sculptural work is really good (I get people screaming at me to sculpt more CONSTANTLY), and I want to find my talavera voice. I feel this is a really good opportunity.

 

Thing is...

 

I can't have my Etsy store anymore. That curator wants to focus on art with a capital "A," so to speak, and Etsy is too much of a "crafty" kinda thing. I haven't had my store up for a while, and have been meaning to get a website going...but...

 

I'm really nervous about getting accepted. Will that mean I'm not allowed to go to art shows anymore? I understand that maybe I have graduated beyond Etsy, but...I'm super scared to raise my prices. This is really tormenting me and...aw, geez...dangit, imma cry. I guess a part of me feels I don't deserve to be paid so much...

 

This is an example of a stoneware piece I made in college. Everyone just went batty over it...it's about 13" tall and weighs as much as a boat anchor. I don't really make a lot of super creepy pieces like this anymore, but I still enjoy this guy a lot.

 

What should I do..? Should I take that next step..? Arrgh... *pulls hair out*

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post-63665-0-65788000-1418515293_thumb.jpg

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I subscribe to the "if opportunity knocks, answer the door" philosophy, so I say go for it! What do you have to lose? Your etsy store is not active and you can still make a website, in fact you can focus upon your work as "an artist". You are worthy of whatever price they decide to charge for your work. And, most importantly, it isn't a matter of them accepting you. The question is whether or not you want to have your work at their gallery.  :) 

 

Give it a try.

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Remember the people are probably only getting 50% of the sale price. If you wan $35 then $70 is not far off what others are asking. Somebody wise on here said they don't look at other peoples prices. Charge what you think it is worth based on how much money you want to make.

 

That rabbit is cool, I don't think weight of sculptures really matter as you hardly move them.

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Sell your high end art pottery under your name; sell your low end pottery under a different name, like "Crappy Washington State Pottery". People buying high end want the maker's name on the work, not a company name like "Sitting Duck Pottery" (trying to make this up, hopefully no one is using that name). But, they are perfectly happy buying low end items from such an entity. And the curator need not know. You, however, will have to erect a tall wall between the two types of work and not let the work cross over. Once you put one item in one side, it can't move over. And, you'll not be the first to work under such an arrangement.

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I think you have to rethink this from a different perspective. You are looking at it as you have always approached your work, which is natural. This would be a different kind of focus, as you said, toward art not craft. You just have to align your thinking to match. It is a different market than what you are used to.  Shift your thinking from craftsman to artist.

 

BTW, I don't think you ever outgrow Etsy, you just evolve. I see a lot of art in the ceramic side of things on Etsy.

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A gallery should at no point hinder you from making your living. If etsy was a *significant* source of your income, you have the right as an artist to tell them "no". If it wasn't significant, I wouldn't worry about it too much, especially if they'll be earning you more money. And I know of at least one artist who uses Etsy to have occasional sales, but leave their shops otherwise empty most of the time. (Think holiday specials, or a virtual open house. Or maybe you only use it for long distance sales to your adoring audience in the sorta-far north :)

 

You've said in several of your posts that the audience you have in your immediate area isn't receptive. By all means look further abroad!! Just because your next door neighbour doesn't like your work doesn't mean people further out aren't going to be screaming for it. That fifty-mile-radius-around-your-home rule doesn't work for everyone.

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I am confused why can't you sell on etsy? There are plenty of artist who sell their beautiful work on etsy. It is just an outlet to make sales, that's like saying beautiful pieces of pottery don't get sold at auctions or something. 

 

Besides that, if there is no real risk I don't see why you wouldn't try, also make sure you mark your prices up to what you want to make, cause the gallery will probably take a big portion of your price. I have several friends who sell art in galleries, they all mark up 50% or more. 

 

Good luck and congrats.

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There are two things that you must keep in mind if you go this route: You aren't dealing with a hobby shop or a flea market mentality, so....

1)  you will need to set a retail price for your work that allows you to give up 50% or more (shipping costs come to mind in addition to the fact that some galleries want more than 50%, so you may need to retail a $35 piece at $80 in order to get $35 for it.)  You tell the gallery owner that your wholesale price on that mug (that you've been retailing at $35) is $35 or $40 or $45  Do not disclose that you've been having trouble selling your work for $35 retail!! That fact is irrelevant because she knows her market and what they will pay. HOWEVER, once you've announced that your mug's price is $40 wholesale, you can't go back to selling that mug at $35-$60 retail. It is a very difficult thing to do, to walk out of that gallery and double your prices for all other venues, especially if your work hasn't been dancing out the door at $35.  But gallery owners take a VERY dim view of artists undercutting them by selling the work for less in other venues.  Frankly, It seems only fair for a gallery owner to expect you to retail your work for prices close to if not matching the prices she'll be charging.  She isn't just selling a piece or two of your work, she is helping you to build a clientelle while creating an artificial "value" for your work (as all values are artificial),  To undercut the gallery is to announce that your work really isn't worth what the gallery says it's worth, and that would be very short-sighted.  Most gallery owners will drop you like a hot potato if they find you doing that. 

 

And yes, I sell my work at craft shows for the same thing that it sells for in a gallery.  At a craft show, I may pocket about 80% of the gross instead of the 50% i get at a gallery.  But that gallery is there every day working to promote me. And as painful as it is to give up 50%, in the end, that relationship pays off.   Jayne

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I just went on the Internet and looked at the Gallery ... which I hope others did before they replied ... And I gotta say this as loud as I can.

 

Up your game and go for it!!!

A gallery like this WANTS your work and you are worrying about sales on etsy??? What are you thinking?

 

It might be scary but this could be your start, the dream you have been wanting and afraid of.

Do as she says and get your work on those walls!!

Do it!

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You wrote "I guess a part of me feels I don't deserve to be paid so much." My 2-cents worth is that self-sabotage is poison, and that kind of defeatist thinking is bad ju-ju that will only contaminate your ability to look at the issues objectively, including objectively what your heart is saying when you are not busy drowning it out with self-doubt. (Said with the utmost empathy and no intention to be critical.)  I'm with Chris...go for it....why would you want to pass up an opportunity to show in a snazzy gallery like that one? 

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