One of my favorite iPad apps is my PBS app. They offer a great craft series titled Craft in America that chronicles different artists, their backgrounds, their art (master craftsmanship) and its evolution. After watching the last episode that exposed talented, insightful and spiritual furniture makers and basket weavers, it struck me, again, how different we artists are. There are some that find a technique or material, connect and fall in love, and stick with it for years, tweaking and perfecting. While there are other Artists (yours truly included) that enjoy experimenting and dabbling with different materials. Either because we just haven’t found anything that engaged us enough to keep from moving around or because our personality stops us from working with the same materials for too long before we get antsy or interested in manipulating something else. An Artist has to realize that their preferred type of working will influence who they sell to and how they market their work.
A basket weaver who studies the Northeast American Indian technique of weaving using Sweet Grass and submerses herself into that time-honored technique will more typically become a specialist or an expert in that type of weaving. She will be known for certain patterns, images, coloring, weave structure and have ownership of certain retail markets with little ability to branch out without changing her art technique or materials. The buyers will always go to her for masterful and specific baskets but when they are looking for something “new” in the basket market, they will probably not look to this Artist.
On the other hand, an artist who dabbles; jewelry making, weaving, pottery, painting, glass blowing and so on will probably not become an expert in any one technique but will have greater knowledge of how different materials can be combined and will create more than one type of product for sale. This Artist can offer the buyer an array of products, in different price ranges, that may not have the same material content or may mix together a few of the different materials that she’s dabble in. Each collection will have the artist’s design aesthetic running through them as a bond. And although each collection may have slightly different material content and/or techniques, each will come from the artist’s heart because experimenting is their preferred method of working. As an example, an artist who weaves but also has experience in wood working or bench jewelry, can create wall hangings, sculptures, mobiles, clothing and accessories. They can be sold under the same brand and collection and will being the artist more clients because she offers items in different retail areas: fashion art and crafts.
You know which type of Creative you are – embrace it and MARKET it! Understanding how you work will help you speak to your clients, merchandise your line and grow it!
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