This week's blog was written by painter, Jennie O'Connor. Jennie interviewed glass artist Kandyse Whitney of Blue Fox Glass. You can see Kandyse's exquisite works at Artistic Portland Monday-Saturday from 10-6 and Sunday from noon to 5.
How long have you been a part of Artistic Portland, and what appealed to you about joining the Co-op?
I joined Artistic Portland in February 2014. I had recently moved back to the Portland area and was looking for places to sell my work. I enjoy being part of a community of artists who inspire each other.
What’s your background?
For the most part my non-creative work has been typical 9-5 office work providing administrative support.
Why do you do what you do?
Glass fascinates me because of its wide range of colors and what you can create with it. I love that artists can work with it in both liquid and solid states. Recently, I have also been working with recycled glass, turning it into functional bowls, decorative starfish, and unique pendants.
Where do you create?
I turned one of our extra bedrooms into a studio where all the designing, cutting, and assembling takes place. The kilns (I have two) are in the garage. Another bedroom is where I photograph my items and package them for shipping.
What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever created?
I think my favorite piece is from when I was working in stained glass. I made a clown wearing patchwork pants sitting in the rain with a ribbon umbrella. Maybe someday I’ll recreate it in fused glass.
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new artistic skill, what would it be?
Probably the ability to see things in abstract. There are times when my left brain is too rigid for the vision of how I want a piece to look.
What do you like to do when you're not creating?
Reading a book or spending too much time on Facebook.
This week's blog post was written by fiber artist Sherry Bingaman of Nueva Vida.
This poster was all over Facebook recently, and it caught my attention for a variety of reasons. I generally agreed with it upon my first glance and felt it was a version of the “power of positive thinking” thing. After closer examination, I saw more of a blend from both the green side and the red side as a truer reality. I don’t call myself a “thriving artist” but I am pleased with the state of my art and believe there are many aspects to my happiness with my artistic life. For example:
Working to be a “thriving artist” consists of the same things needed to be a “thriving human”!
This week's blog post was written by mosaic artist Colleen Patricia Williams.
A cooperative art gallery is a notion that has been around for a while, but here in Portland, it has really taken hold! Artistic Portland is one of these cooperative art galleries that I have been a member of. As I go on hiatus, I offer this blog post to give some of my thoughts on this gallery that I’m a part of.
With the advent of the internet combined with the economic crash of 2007 that our nation still hasn’t fully recovered from, artists have had to get creative about the way that they sell their work. In the case of our gallery, the cooperative gallery survived where many other traditional galleries did not.
The combination of different artists, artisans and crafters, allowed the survival of artists in a tough economic time. The other plus to the cooperative gallery is the sharing of ideas, as well as the exchange of art supplies combined with the expertise of one’s colleagues when another head is needed to figure out a tough problem.
The sense of community that occurs with a cooperative gallery is one that is unique and that is valuable; many artists, including myself, find that the cooperative experience is one that we treasure. The nature of a cooperative gallery is such that all of the artists put in time, leading to a socialization that many of us do not get from our time in our studios, as art is often a singular process that is, by nature, often a lonely thing.
The other plus to a cooperative gallery is the many varied works made by our artists and artisans are all handcrafted; nothing is made in a factory! Our people put in the time to make each piece unique, each piece may have elements in common with pieces, such as the body of work of a particular artist, such as a painter or a sculptor or a photographer. Each artist has a unique talent that they bring to the gallery, which not only sells the work of that artist, but also gives exposure to the other artists in the cooperative.
One of the other ways in which membership in our cooperative is a benefit to the artist is the ability to creatively sell artwork, allowing the more expensive pieces to be put on a layaway plan, or with a deposit, to hold the artwork for a collector/customer. This is a benefit to the consumer as it allows them to be able to access art they love and might otherwise not be able to afford, making this a win-win situation for all concerned!
The other part of the membership benefit is the special events where the artists can interact with the customer, to answer questions, sometimes to see demonstrations and for First Thursday, extra refreshments for both adults and kids.
I’m going to miss my colleagues at the gallery during my three months away, and I’ll miss our friends and customers that come in to see us during our shifts at the gallery. Have a wonderful Autumn season, everyone and I’ll see you again near the holidays!
This week's blog post is written by fiber artist Sherry Bingaman of Nueva Vida.
I have been selling my artwork since I was nine years old when I began hawking my handmade cross stitched aprons door to door to my neighbors. Selling my art was a thrill then, and it is still a thrill now.
I started doing art fairs around 1975 when I lived in my home town of Kenosha, Wisconsin. I began with small local shows and expanded to fairs in Chicago and Milwaukee—Kenosha was smack dab between these two large cities. In 1980, my husband, Jim, and I moved to rural Missouri with our daughter, Kate, where we made our living doing art fairs all over the country for the next 15 years, and it was a fun and crazy time. Another daughter, Kory, was born in 1984, and after ten more years of full-time art fair life, I went into teaching art and gifted, while Jim pursued his passion for computer technology. I still did summer art fairs because I just had to!
Today my passion is selling my fiber art at the Portland Saturday Market and at Artistic Portland. I love meeting the people who buy my work and talking to people who love and appreciate fine art and craft. It has never been a chore to me but rather tons of fun….most of the time. I will say that while the vast majority of comments from the public are wonderful to hear, there are always those few comments that make you cringe—“I am going to ask my aunt to make something like this for me” or “Why does this cost so much? I could make that for a lot less.” You have to have a sense of humor when you hear comments like these because smiling and saying nothing is better for you in the long run than giving in to the temptation to punch their faces.
Over the years, I have learned some tips to consider when selling your art to the public:
Keep a smile on your face: People want to buy something that makes them happier than they are now. They don’t just want your art, they want your happiness. Spread that sunshine!
Don’t think it because they can hear it: They can hear your thoughts, because you are sending out your vibes even when you don’t realize it. Any negative thought you have about yourself or your customer gets communicated to them without saying a word. Give them your peace and make customers feel happy and comfortable around you.
Be prepared with healthy food and snacks: Steady energy and stamina are important to staying positive. It’s hard to be present and positive when you are tired or have low blood sugar. Bring high protein snacks (hard boiled eggs, cheese, nuts) and fruit for some sweets. Don’t forget water! I also must have a small amount of chocolate to keep my mental health at peak performance!
Why YES you love what you make, and “No, it’s not on sale:" You have a passion for your work and no one else is quite like you. Your skills are valuable. Your art is special. This all should not come cheap. If you don’t value your work, how can you expect others to? It is not uncommon for someone to ask for a discount, but you can politely decline with a smile. Don’t get angry or insulted, and let the customer save face. Many artists play the discount game, so you can’t blame them for asking. You don’t have to play this game unless you want to. Just be polite about it.
I have always felt lucky to have a passion for making things. It is my reason for getting up in the morning. Selling my work is a bonus and allows me to make more stuff, so I work at being successful at it. It’s my circle of life!
This week's blog post is brought to you by local artist and Co-op member Colleen Patricia Williams.
Now that the holiday season has come to an end and the bills are rolling in, it’s time to take a breath. With this blog post I want to thank you, our customers, for making our season bright! All of the money that come from your purchases supports local artists. The money that we received from your purchases goes towards shoes for kids, payment of the rent and the utilities as well as for art supplies. We can’t do it without you and for that, I want to thank you.
Every dollar that is spent in this shop stays in the Portland area, contributing to other local businesses, driving the engine of our local economy. In my case, I create the mosaics and coloring items as well as paper flower headbands. Every dollar that you spent on my creations this season went towards my bills. I’m a recent widow and your purchases made a difference in my situation. Each coloring book that you bought contributed to my ability to pay my basic bills.
This applies to all of the people in our gallery; all of us are regular folks (okay, CREATIVE regular folks) that rely on the money that we make from our products to purchase not just the basics of life, but to have the ability to contribute to local restaurants and other businesses. Our ability to do these things comes directly from you. You make a direct difference in our lives by your financial support of your local artists.
The other huge plus to purchasing our creative products is that each one is handmade and unique. That means that each gift that came from our shop is one of a kind, with no mass production in a factory in China. The only mass produced items that we have are made by the artist themselves, the skin products and the soaps and candles. In fact, some of those are made in the basement of our gallery! Nowhere in the world, other than our gallery, can you find the products that we sell. It was wonderful this holiday season to see the turnout to support the local artists and the creative output of our fair city!
Have a wonderful and prosperous 2016!
- Colleen Patricia Williams
Where does your average artist sell their work, other than placing it in a wonderful place like the Co-op called Artistic Portland? Many of us do craft shows, from small street fairs to large multi-day juried events. You've come to some of them, I'm sure! Here's what it looks like from the artist's side of the tent, in reality show format (thanks to Bill Fantini at House of 6 Cats for the concept).
Today on Buy Our Stuff, watch as our contestants compete in a show where at least 75% of the products are in direct competition! But first they'll have to actually make it to the right event, on time, with all of tables, tents, draping, signage and merchandise they'll need - with only one email from the organizer and their own Google skills!
Once there, they'll compete head-on with people vending similar items made in China, and have to justify the price of their own handmade goods to shoppers. Can they do it? In the related math challenge, see if our artists are actually charging enough for their product after expenses, shows and overhead. You'll be SHOCKED at our results.
We'll also answer the questions everyone wants to know: how quickly can our contestants chew and swallow a cheese stick before someone asks a question? Who makes a cup of coffee that tastes just as good lukewarm or cold as when it was hot? And just how long *can* a solo vendor hold it before leaving their booth alone to make a lightning run to the portapotties (extra points for vendors who do this in Renaissance Faire Garb).
In the weather category, we'll recreate the 100+ degree dustbowl on rocky ground event, where the challenge is not breaking an ankle getting set up; the 40 degrees and all-day rain event, where the challenge is keeping your merchandise dry; and every vendor's favorite, the windy event. Extra points to vendors with tent-weights over 50 lbs per leg, points definitely docked if a tent blows away.
The best thing about this reality show? We're *all* winners, every single artist who does this because they love the work, and more importantly, the people that we meet at these shows. Fans who follow us from event to event, who come looking specifically for us saying "I am so glad you're here, I can't wait to see what work you have that's new!" Doing the craft show circuit isn't always easy, but it's always, always fun!
-Deb Counts-Tabor of Sage and Sea Farms
As you may have heard, Artistic Portland is moving Downtown! Co-op members are currently prepping our new space on 318 SW Taylor St., creating a home for all our locally made art. We are excited to open our doors to the public on June 1st, and in honor of the occasion have a week of artistic goodness planned. Many of our Co-op members (who also happen to be fantastic local artists) will be demonstrating their art every day of opening week from 11-1:30. This will culminate on Saturday, the day of the Rose Festival Parade, when we will open our doors at 8 am and have a day full of artistic activities planned.
So that you know what to expect here is a list of what artists will be there each day:
Monday - June 1st
Tuesday - June 2nd
Wednesday - June 3rd
Thursday June - 4th
Friday - June 5th
Saturday - June 6th:
Rose Festival Parade Day! Demonstrations start at 8:00 am and continue throughout the day.
After writing about all these great artists, I can say that I am truly overwhelmed (in a good way) to be a part of this amazing art Co-op. Artistic Portland is bursting at the seems with creativity and spirit. Not only will it be fascinating to watch these guys create, but they are also great people to be around. So make sure you make your way to 318 SW Taylor Street the first week of June.
A lot has been happening in Artistic Portland this Spring!
First and foremost, our store is moving from our location on Sandy Blvd. to a larger space Downtown. It was a very difficult decision. We have loved our neighbors and customers in the Hollywood District, and we are excited to be able to grow our number of artists in this bigger space and to take advantage of the increased foot traffic that comes with being Downtown. We are happy to announce that we will open our doors at 318 SW Taylor Street on June 1st. For those who have an eye on a certain something in our store on Sandy, please stop by before May 14th when we close our doors there.
In the meantime, Co-op members have been hard at work getting the Downtown space ready.
As I mentioned before, the move means we will have more room to accommodate more artists. We have welcomed quite a few new members in the past few months to our Co-op. Check out some of the new makers and shakers that have joined (click on the picture to find out more about each artist).
So many creative people! And we still have room to grow, so if you, dear reader, are interested in joining Artistic Portland, visit our Join Us page to learn more.
Stay tuned for more great art!