Thursday, December 17, 2020

Greetings cards and Inventory Reduction

(Above:  Twenty dozen greeting cards made from artwork that was cut up over the weekend.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Although I don't always make specific New Year's resolutions, I am generally inclined to review the waning year in anticipation of the coming one.  This pandemic year has certainly been different, and next year promises to be unlike anything before it, largely a mystery due to so many circumstances that are still out of anyone's control. 

What is in my control is my studio art practice.  During 2020, I sort of went from being "productive" to being "super productive".  Most of what I made was shared here on my blog, on social media, and then went immediately into storage.  With galleries closed and no opportunities to show work, the issue of storage could no longer be ignored.  Something needed to happen ... sooner rather than later ... as a fitting ending to 2020 and a perfect way to start a new year.  So, this past weekend was all about "inventory reduction." 

(Above of the groups of a dozen greetings cards ... randomly selected for this photo.)

One might think lowering the price on older artwork is a great idea, but it really isn't.  If an artwork was priced at $200, it is supposed to be worth $200.  Slashing the price to $100 insults the value and cheats anyone who might have bought something similar for the original asking price.  Once upon a time during a monthly art walk, Steve and I bought a 6" x 6" mini canvas over which a young artist had poured dozens of layers of acrylic paint before carving into the thickness to expose the colors, a technique that resulted in a really sculptural surface, something like a geographic elevation map.  We paid $60.  The very next month, the young artist was moving from her studio.  She was selling everything 12" x 12" and smaller for $20 each.  Now, $60 isn't a lot of money but I felt totally cheated.  Besides, lowering the price doesn't necessarily mean I could move any of my older artwork.  What to do?

(Above:  Ernie the Cat helping to cut up older pieces in my African Series.)

Most of my older work is no longer framed.  Most has been shrink wrapped and sits in several rolling carts.  The carts are so full until this weekend it was difficult to even browse through the work.  I decided it was high time to simply "take them out of inventory" ... literally ... out of the shrink wrapping, out of the matting, and out of existence as part of that series.  The first series to go under my mat cutter was my African Series. (This link depicts two of the pieces.  Both were sold, not ones that got sliced up for greeting cards.)

(Above:  Ernie continuing to help by almost getting under the mat cutter himself!)

Once upon a time, there were at least twenty-two pieces in this series.  I only know this because I displayed that number in a show at USC-Aiken.  At the time, the press release read:
The Etherredge Center on the USC-Aiken campus will present an exhibition of mixed media work by Columbia artist Susan Lenz in its upper gallery from November 1 through 28, 2006. The exhibit, Masks and Markings, will feature twenty-two new works based on West African artifacts.

Susan Lenz’s interest in tribal art stems from travels to Kenya and has been fostered by visits to notable museum collections. She says, “I began working on this series as a result of a wonderful opportunity to photograph and sketch a truckload of African artifacts. I admire the craftsmanship of people who use materials in their midst, the notion that each tribal member is an artist in his own right, and the function of creativity in spiritual matters. I am seeking to interpret these images using the materials with which I have always worked, with the understanding that my lack of a formal arts education is not a deterrent but possibly a “tribal” bonus, and in the spirit of experimental creativity. Each piece provides an opportunity to try a different approach or application order.”

The work includes collaged polyester sheers and velvets, Expanda-paint, oil pastels and crayons, silk filaments, snippets of threads, and free-motion machine embroidery. Some also include hand stitching, beads, textural gels and paint. The series is on going.

(Above:  At least five or six pieces cut into 4 1/2" x 3 1/4" inch rectangles to be used for greeting cards.)

It was not hard to cut up these pieces. In fact, it was rather cool to see successful compositions in these small pieces.  It was so much fun that I tackled other, older work.  Almost everything that was left from the Sun and Sand show of 2012 was cut up.  Then, any of the remaining flower pounded paper pieces were ripped up to fit the cards.  Two of the PLAYA Series was next. An old experimental "In Box" piece was dissected into ten cards and another embroidery into ten more.  A series of nails rusted onto damask with dense running stitch worked out very well too, and there were a few odd pieces that became a few more cards.  Each piece was free-motion stitched to the front of a card.  I signed each one on the back of the artwork. 

(Above:  Cards, sorted into piles by the pieces cut up.)

More than fifty pieces were removed from inventory.  I stacked them by series or by the cut piece until I had more than a dozen different types.  Then, I randomly selected twelve different cards per group, tied a blue, wired ribbon around them (along with twelve appropriately sized envelops), and will now attempt to sell them.  Steve and I discussed a fair price.  Each group of twelve envelops and cards are $100 plus South Carolina sales tax (because South Carolina is one of those pesky states that insist on sales tax regardless of where they are going) but INCLUDING shipping inside the USA.  It's $20 more to ship to Canada.  It's $30 more to anywhere else in the world.  If you are reading this and want to make a purchase, just email me at with your mailing address.  I'll send a PayPal invoice.  You don't have to have a PayPal account to use their system.  If this works out, I'll be reducing more inventory in the future. 

1 comment:

Ann Scott said...

Great way to re-work art. A few years ago I was giving private sewing/fiber art lessons to a young person. Our favorite project was having him use different tools and mediums (including free-motion quilting) to add layers to a piece of fabric. He didn't know where we were going with the project until he floated a paper frame viewer over the piece to discover cool abstract "pictures" that would be cut and made into postcards. Really fun. Always glad to see Ernie helping you out.