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#26 2008-07-28 15:30:59

antoniag
Member
From: Cambs, UK
Registered: 2006-06-10
Posts: 21

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

I hope you don’t mind my reviving this topic, but there was some discussion about how papier mâché is perceived and the difficulties of persuading the public that it is a valid art form.  (How are you getting on, Lesley?)  Having just finished 2 weekends of Open Studios I have a few comments to add by way of an update:

First, a big Thank You to all the posters on the thread – it really helped me to clarify my thoughts and successfully put some positive points across.   It also really helped to know that it wasn’t just me having difficulty, it’s a common problem! 

This website itself was very useful, partly  because quite a few visitors had already  found it and the range of work and technical discussions on here helped them to understand that there is a wide range of artists who choose to use this medium, it’s not just a few isolated papiermaniacs who haven’t managed to progress beyond what they did at school.

I also put notices up with the web address; this meant I didn’t have to get bogged down in detailed instructions but could refer them to a vast resource of expertise.  I’ve never heard a painter having to explain how to load colour onto a brush, but I have had, “what exactly do you mean, you tear the paper up?  ….   Big improvement!  (I don’t mind sharing some advice and experience, but I really don’t do Open Studios to give free lessons.  I'm absolutely with Sue on that one, although I realise everyone's got to start somewhere.)

Now, here’s a bit of a puzzle.  I completely agreed with the previous discussion about how to present papier mâché (ie, avoiding the dreaded P-M words altogether) which closely tied in with my own experience.   It came too late for my Studios guide entry (we have to write it all up in January);  I had described myself as a Papier Mâché Sculptor, although within the Mixed Media section, and I’ve been kicking myself for not being more imaginative.   

This year, however I had high proportion of visitors who homed in on the P-M itself as  an art form, not necessarily intending to get covered in glue and wrestle with chicken wire themselves (I live in the middle of almost-nowhere, so they had to be pretty keen to come and find me).  I had the best sales I’ve ever had at Open Studios, so I think I’d better give up on trying to second-guess the great British public and just get on with the next dog/hippo/elephant….   And try to ignore the very very large walrus that wants to get made.  You’ll have to wait until I’ve sold the big whale.

Antonia

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#27 2008-07-28 22:30:05

CatPerson
Moderator
From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1314

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

It's all quite an ongoing learning experience, isn't it?

Trying to second-guess people can make you beat your head against a wall!  Today, they don't know what you're talking about; tomorrow, they're asking complicated questions. PM is In today, Out tomorrow. Then it switches to the reverse.

Just keep trying, keep experimenting.

But the thing that makes me really grind my teeth is a prospective customer who wants your work for practically free, and when he/she can't, they say, "Well, I can make that myself". If they could, they would already. And if they could, they would know how much effort goes into each piece.

I suppose chasing them down the street with a bat wouldn't look so good.....

Sue

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#28 2008-09-13 16:12:14

butterbee
Member
From: Ontario, Canada
Registered: 2005-04-08
Posts: 208

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

CatPerson wrote:

But the thing that makes me really grind my teeth is a prospective customer who wants your work for practically free, and when he/she can't, they say, "Well, I can make that myself". If they could, they would already. And if they could, they would know how much effort goes into each piece.

I suppose chasing them down the street with a bat wouldn't look so good.....

It is so, so true Sue. It makes me grind my teeth too.

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#29 2008-09-14 17:50:10

Mischief
Member
From: Wales
Registered: 2004-04-27
Posts: 44
Website

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

Its not the media that is important when it comes to art, it is the context of the idea of the piece you've created. I work with news paper and cardboard because I feel strongly about recycling and using sustainable materials. I never have and never will allow anyone to put me in a possition where I feel I have to justify my choice of medium. I am proud to have chosen an ethical way to create art and maybe that is why my work is exhibited and represented by some well respected galleries.

I never try and anticipate what a buyer wants, I create what I do for me, what feels right, an extension of life experiences interpruted from personal observations.

Whether your work is art or craft is neither here nor there really, if you enjoy what you do, do it for you. Money can muddy the creative waters if you get caught up in soley doing it for financial gain, but if you want to sell your work be confident and happy in your work first before approaching galleries or craft shops. You can't expect others to have faith in what you do if you don't yourself.


~~*~~*~~
(AKA) Jilly T.

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#30 2008-09-21 02:22:10

burrumgirl
Member
From: Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2007-09-14
Posts: 90

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

Hi There, I am finally able to post a reply.  It has been awhile and I am pleased to see this topic is still getting attention.

There are clearly two trains of thought about PM not being taken seriously, one is to try to cater to the public and somehow disguise our media as something else more "classy", and the other is to point out it is art they are buying, the artists concept, technique and hard work, not just paper and glue.

Either way though I think a lot depends on where you are selling your work, (location, location, location), at a bargain venue ie market stalls school fetes etc or a more "upper class" venue such as a gift shop, art show or gallery.
 
Having said that I still think that if a buyer is attracted to and wants an item they will buy it no matter where you are selling or what it is made of, but as Jilly and others have said, we as artists must have faith in our work and materials and sell the item for the art that it is, regardless of what others may think.

Seems like it has all been said before, but it is great to be able to post again, don't know when I will be back again.  Not getting any PM done too busy working away from home. Bye for now,
Lesley.


Jill of all Crafts
Master of None.

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#31 2008-11-12 02:03:30

skwirl
Member
From: Oklahoma City, OK
Registered: 2008-11-12
Posts: 34

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

Hi guys! I was googling "how to make PM for a living" and came across this thread! Thank-you so much! I'm not way experienced in paper mache, but I don't feel I have to be as long as I follow my heart I can figure it out or come across places like this that teach me!
My creativity is neverending and I love the "challenge" of figuring out how to make something work and how to make that vision in my head a tangible reality. I love to find tips and tricks but ultimately I love just experimenting and figuring it out on my own no matter what vision pops into my head.

Ok, to get to the point of me posting on this particular thread in the first place.... I felt very strongly about those of you that have pointed out that it's most important that the work come from your heart and just flat out because you love to do it! Now THAT is a true artist! No matter what the public thinks! A true artist does it because it's in his/her heart and not because the public might like it or not. I mean look at all the famous "dead" artists now that people originally thought were crackpots and now people are competing to own their works!

Paper mache' or however you wanna spell it, is one of the most creative art mediums that we have available to us. I mean look at what you can make out of a simple little cardboard box and a bit of paper or wire or whatever else you wanna throw into the mix. There are NO limits! The only limit is your imagination! How freaking cool is that!!???

And the other thing I wanted to comment on was all of our "unfinished projects". Just because we are uninspired to finish them doesn't mean someone else won't be! Why not post your unfinished, or "temporarily inspired" projects for sale too? That is if you REALLY feel you are done with them. I can so relate to you guys when you say you started a project one way, and then whacked of parts of it to make something else lol! Start a project all motivated then it sits on a shelf or in a box for years. Just because we aren't inspired to finish it doesn't mean someone else wouldn't be. There are probably tons of peeps out there that are looking for some kind of inspiration and your unfinished projects could be just what they were looking for! HEY!! Stranger things have happened no? Just a thought.

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#32 2008-11-12 19:16:20

CatPerson
Moderator
From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1314

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

Skwirl, your post brings up an interesting idea.  Probably not feasible due to shipping costs, but...

Wouldn't it be interesting for one person to start a PM design, then send it on to another PM artist, and onward until it's finished? Photos of how it is evolving would be fascinating!

Just a crazy thought... one of many...
Sue

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#33 2008-11-16 09:58:41

saab_05
Member
Registered: 2008-11-16
Posts: 3

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

Hi. I have been doing this craft for almost about 10 years now, It started after I enjoyed making paper mache for a school project. I have over 100 items in my collection and I do not intend to sell them. My hobby is purely a hobby, I do not inend to make it as a business. smile




smile

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#34 2008-11-19 01:00:30

skwirl
Member
From: Oklahoma City, OK
Registered: 2008-11-12
Posts: 34

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

I dunno, you'd be surprised at what people will buy when they are inspired and a little extra for shipping couldn't be that much could it? Not as long as THEY are paying for it and not me anyway! LOL! I know the peices are light weight since they are made of paper but I think they charge extra for the size of a peice/box to ship? Not really sure. I used to make custom woodburned and painted toilet seats and people didn't care in the least the cost of the shipping when it hit them that they just had to have it.

I just love that idea Sue! Like a mass paper mache project! There ain't no tellin' what it would end up being, toooooo fun!

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#35 2008-11-19 17:53:15

CatPerson
Moderator
From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1314

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

One thing about shipping by USPS --- if you use their boxes, it costs a lot more than if you use a regular box and send it the cheapest way.   

Sue

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#36 2008-11-24 21:14:29

Folk Art By Connie
Member
From: Ohio USA
Registered: 2008-11-21
Posts: 22
Website

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

I consider any sculpture Art.
I often find that when i use paper pulp  or  Celluclay ,and add weight to the sculpture people who feel it for the first time  tend to think it's carved. when i say it's Paper Mache, they look at me like i don't know what i made it out of..They especially think it is carved when i add the pulp to driftwood or a walking stick..for some reason they don't connect it to paper mache. but it is paper mache.
connie


If you found me a stranger, may you soon be my friend...

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#37 2008-11-25 01:54:33

burrumgirl
Member
From: Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2007-09-14
Posts: 90

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

HI Connie, thanks for your interesting post.  Do you think it detracts from, or adds to the value (monetry and beauty wise) of the sculpture in their eyes when they know it's papier mache?  I have a feeling it would affect the thoughts of the viewer negatively, no matter how beautiful the work.  Do they still purchase it? (if it's for sale) Other contributers in this topic have had the value  of the work questioned, due to the "cheapness" of the media alone, nevermind the work and artistic input.  Thanks again.
Lesley

Last edited by burrumgirl (2008-11-25 01:55:39)


Jill of all Crafts
Master of None.

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#38 2008-11-25 21:05:15

Folk Art By Connie
Member
From: Ohio USA
Registered: 2008-11-21
Posts: 22
Website

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

Lesley,
It seems that people "assume" it's carved when they view it  or touch it..the weight seems to add something, . It doesn't seem to bother the sales..I mostly find that people look at me or even tell me that i'm wrong. they  insist they are carved.even argue ( they KNOW i made it). Acting like i'm joking with them.
at shows I tend to meet a lot of people who want them for their yards or outside and i have to tell them, they are  made of paper pulp, they are not carved. they still bought them.
i always feel saying "paper mache " tends to make people think they are lightweight and hollow..lighhtweight type sculpture.
I'd have to say that once people buy one, they have all seemed to collect them. my friend put me on ebay once, and I sold the first 11 Angels , several returned to buy 2 and anouther returned and bought 3 of the 11. I still have their comments on my e-bay page.
so i'd have to say i think the added weight adds a lot from my experience with pape mache.


If you found me a stranger, may you soon be my friend...

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#39 2008-11-26 01:14:58

burrumgirl
Member
From: Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2007-09-14
Posts: 90

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

Thats amazing Connie, just by adding weight it seems to improve the "reputation" of pm.  Thanks for that information it may help a lot of others, and keep up the good work and the sales.
Lesley.


Jill of all Crafts
Master of None.

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#40 2008-11-26 06:20:07

CatPerson
Moderator
From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1314

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

I'm not surprised that adding weight adds to the 'sum and substance' effect of how the piece is viewed.  A very nice observation, Connie!

Sue

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#41 2009-03-15 23:13:23

CatPerson
Moderator
From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1314

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

If you have a good product (like Farrar does), if you don't put a good price on it, you're wasting your time.

If you don't value it, most other people won't, either.

Sue

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#42 2009-03-16 01:38:24

burrumgirl
Member
From: Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2007-09-14
Posts: 90

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

Thanks Kev and Sue for your comments. 
What a great boost for PM to see David sell his work at such good prices.
I agree with Sue that if you dont value your work no one else will, and why should they.
For the PM artist who faces problems with the public it should be kept in mind that beauty, and as proven by David, value is in the eye of the beholder, one persons papier mache (that kids do at school) is another persons $10.000 art piece, and if he can do it so can we.  There are a lot of people out there with a lot of varied tastes, the knockers should be ignored, and perhaps seen as ignorant to the work that goes into the art, while the true customers should be nurtured and valued for their ability to know the difference between art and kids play.
I feel so much more confident for having read this topic on the forum and I thank Kev for posting David Farrar's site as an example of true faith in ones work.
Lesley.


Jill of all Crafts
Master of None.

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#43 2009-04-04 09:54:45

lizzie01
Member
Registered: 2009-04-04
Posts: 3

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

I am doing papier mache for a long time now. Never have I thought of selling them! I just so love them that I can't bear to give them away!

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#44 2009-04-05 00:11:08

burrumgirl
Member
From: Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2007-09-14
Posts: 90

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

Good for you Lizzie01, I fully appreciate your love of your work, but wouldn't it be nice to make a living out of your art, like some clever people do?
Lesley.


Jill of all Crafts
Master of None.

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#45 2009-04-06 13:14:30

Alasdair
Member
From: Scotland
Registered: 2009-01-26
Posts: 23
Website

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

lizzie01 wrote:

... Never have I thought of selling them! I just so love them that I can't bear to give them away!

There comes a point though where your house ceases to be a home and ends up as a storage facility for all the 'stuff' you've made!  That's essentially what's prompted the mrs and I to set up shop, as it were ... it gets rid of the completed pieces to hopefully good homes and clears space for newer (and hopefully better) pieces in the house.

Interesting what Connie says about the weight, must've missed it first reading, and it's something I've done in the base of some pieces to provide additional stability or simply to prevent them being too top heavy ... not great for postage (via online sales), but for craft fairs it's probably worth bearing in mind.

As to pricing, I'm working on the principal of £7 (c.$10) / hour plus 10% for materials and postage costs and whilst it can make the prices seem quite high (see the shop http://madestuffshop.etsy.com ) it accurately reflects the time and effort put in, if nothing else.

Having said all that though, I'm new to selling my stuff and whether or not any of it will actually sell is an entirely different matter!

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#46 2009-04-06 17:15:11

CatPerson
Moderator
From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1314

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

Alasdair, do you list the price of your work and the shipping/postage separately, or do you combine them and say 'free shipping'?

Sue

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#47 2009-04-07 00:04:59

burrumgirl
Member
From: Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2007-09-14
Posts: 90

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

I just visited Alasdair's site on etsy and he does a great job.  Shipping is free, and the work is interesting and beautiful.  Well done and the free postage is a great marketing idea. Love the carved wood pieces too.
Lesley.


Jill of all Crafts
Master of None.

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#48 2009-04-07 22:19:12

Alasdair
Member
From: Scotland
Registered: 2009-01-26
Posts: 23
Website

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

Hi Sue.   We list it as "free shipping", although obviously it's just included in the price ... having said that I've got a couple of larger pieces underway at the moment which will probably need to be either listed with an additional cost for postage or simply be UK only (I've yet to investigate the likely cost of shipping for large items).

Thanks Lesley, the encouragement is very very welcome!

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#49 2009-07-13 17:56:22

LaBoheme
Member
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 1

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

Yes, I would agree, this is a highly debatable and emotional subject, and one that is very personal for me. I will attempt to summarize my opinion on the subject, although I could probably write a book about it as so many factors come in to play.

I produce both art and craft. I am a professional artist, exhibiting in public and commercial galleries in my area. However, I also produce craft items, jewelry, accessories, and home wares that I sell at fairs and festivals.

I take great pride and care in the work that I do, both as an artist and a crafter, carefully selecting materials and putting in a lot of time and effort in to what I produce.

However, the main difference between the two, I believe, is PURPOSE.

The gallery exhibitions that I do are very intellectual, often emotionally charged pieces. I attempt to convey very deep ideas and express and open dialogue for very important subjects, politically, artistically, socially and psychologically. With my art, I aim to make you think. My sculptures are not merely a pair of earrings or a tablecloth.

However, it is just as important to me, to make my wares, my earrings and tablecloths. I like the idea that I can share my aesthetic creativity with everyday people in everyday life. Not all people take an interest in intellectual ideas. My earrings and tablecloths are not meant to be intellectual or emotional. They are meant to be pretty admired objects.

I think the charge comes to this issue because often professional artists have their purpose overlooked, misunderstood, or misinterpreted and the IDEA behind their art is often not given value or recognition. The word "art" has been turned into a very mutable word by the general public and often art and craft is lumped into the same basket, when in fact they are different things. I think the blur comes from the fact that often the same techniques and materials are used in both art and craft and to the passerby, the purpose is overlooked.

One more factor is that there are many people, operating either as artists or crafters who do not bring a high level of knowledge, care, or quality to the work that they do. This reflects poorly on all of us, both artists and crafters. These people can be likened to "quack" doctors who attempt to operate without degrees in the field of medicine.

Producing craftwork is not any less valid than producing artwork, however the purpose is very different, and many people are not aware of the difference.

For the sake of your profession, either as an artist or crafter, and for the sake of the entire "arts community" take pride in the work you do. Aim to use the highest quality, most appropriate material for the work you are creating and take the time to understand the composition and learn how to manipulate and work with those materials to the best of your ability. Give importance and value not only to the work you do, but recognize the care a value that other people bring to their work as well.

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#50 2009-07-13 18:57:31

CatPerson
Moderator
From: Washington State, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-01-09
Posts: 1314

Re: Does Anybody Sell Their Work as Art .

It may well be true that art is intellectual and craft is just a pretty object, but...

An artist may create a piece of art hoping to convey certain intellectual and emotional ideas, but all of those messages have been interpreted by the artist, a singular being who has had a lifetime of certain experiences that have built up to a visual (usually) form in their art.  Sometimes the message is very obvious.  Mostly, it's not.  Oh, it's there, certainly, totally visible to the artist, but not to anyone else.

I have to smile when I hear an artist (or their agent) 'explaining' a piece of art.  The more involved the explanation (imo), the murkier the message.  If the message has to be explained, the message is only visible to the artist, to whom it may be as clear as a written message.

But art is to be viewed and enjoyed (we shall leave investors out of this message), and the lifelong experiences of the viewers are always totally different from those of the artist, so what the artist had in mind, and what the viewer sees, can be two totally different concepts.

It would be very amusing to have access to a piece of art that only the artist has seen, then expose it to a dozen viewers individually and ask them to write down what they think the message of the piece is.  I'll bet you would get twelve different answers!

Art may be the idea of the artist, but as Lew Wallace once said, “Beauty is altogether in the eye of the beholder", and the message is, too.

Art or craft without quality is neither.

Sue

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