Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wonders Never Cease!
(Elements in Blue, Angel. Click on image to enlarge. 10" x 8.25" unframed. I did the hand-stitching in my booth this past weekend. People really seemed to enjoy seeing embroidery being done.)
For the past two weeks I've been busy with CYBER FYBER and it is truly an amazing experience to be trading fiber postcards and ATCs, communicating with so many more fiber artist than I thought possible, and balancing this project with the rest of my life. I've got several other art projects going on...all at different phases of creation.
Madonna of the Blues too a gigantic leap forward. I really do appreciate all the wonderful comments that were left...especially the suggesting of adding "silver". She is turning into a "major" work, an icon. My peeling painted doors, rusted keys, and wrapped nails also made progress. My vision for this installation is becoming clearer. It is also a fun change to climb a step ladder with an electric drill. I used the perfectly rusted chain that my Dad fished out of his lake too! Lots of people have stopped into my studio just to see what it is that I'm building. It does look a bit like a construction zone.
Over the weekend I was in my "booth". Having already won a top place ribbon, I felt no pressure to sell anything...but I DID! I also learned some very, very valuable lessons from a good friend, Jackie Wukela. I spent Friday night at Jackie and Steve Wukela's lovely country house and we talked about art, selling, and life in general. I had to confess that I'm not very good at "closing the deal" with my own artwork. Even after nearly two decades of selling framing (which I'm excellent at doing), I'm just not comfortable selling my art. I can talk about it....just not sell it. Jackie gently told me how to suggest a purchase...in a way that suits me. It works. I sold art in my booth using her advice.
What was it? She told me that there is a moment in a conversation when a suggestion can be made...look for it in the customer's eyes. I've seen it often but always let it pass...let the person walk out of my studio, satisfied with our conversation but without thinking about buying anything. At that moment, Jackie taught me to say, "I'd love for you to have it!" It's that simple. It compliments the potential buyer, his or her tastes. Then, give the person some space...permission to walk away but an opening for a sale. It works. At least, it worked for me right away. I didn't feel like some used car dealer. I didn't feel like I was begging for money or desperately needing to sell something. It was comfortable and easy. I am grateful....and amazingly, the people who made purchases were really happy too!
Selling art is nice...but it really couldn't compare to the wonderful people I met. At least three or four women were members of the Swamp Fox quilt guild. A few came on Saturday but returned on Sunday. Above is a lovely lady, Peggy O'Quinn, who came back to show me the quilt she'd made in a workshop in Houston....using the embellisher. It's perfectly hand quilted. The back includes a hand dyed material she'd purchased in Tanzania! She's a blogger too.
The other "wonder" of the weekend was the number of people who instantly recognized my art! "Oh, you had a show at Francis Marion, didn't you?", I heard over and over again. Without a reception or much publicity, I really didn't think many people would see the show. I thought it was a "good line on my resume" but people did see it, liked it, and one of them bought In Box XXXIX, the award winner last Thursday night!
(Below, In Box XXXIX...premiere award winner in the Florence Regional Alliance juried show! Click on image to enlarge.)
Posted by Susan Lenz at 11:51 AM