Thursday, April 22, 2010

To Gallery or Not To Gallery

It's a dilemma and one I'm struggling with at the moment.  I have my beadwork in two galleries at the moment but the whole commission thing is not something I like.  The typical deal with a gallery is a 60% to the artist/40% to the gallery which makes something I need to get $60 for have to sell for $100 and as beadweaving takes a lot of tiume that price can sky-rocket quite easily making things expensive and even out pricing themselves.

When a gallery doesn't want to give you 60% it makes things even worse.  If you break it down it gets to make one's stomach turn....say a piece takes eight hours to make, the gallery believes they can sell it for $100 so the artist gets $60 less what it cost for the supplies so they maybe make $6 to $8 per hour. The people who staff the gallery make more than that, could I do their job....sure, could they do mine? Doubtful.

It's disheartening. Galleries wouldn't exist without artists and I do wonder with the technology today, websites and online stores if artists can exist without galleries.  Why do I have my work in a gallery? Because it's easier than doing art shows...lugging a tent, displays, stock and having to man the it worth it?  I'm still figuring that one out.

The ideal thing is a co-op gallery, run by artists but we don't have one of those here. There were a few in California and they seemed to work really well. No staff, just the co-op artists taking their turn on the floor.

I'm not sure what I'll do about my galleries....maybe it just limits what I will sell there. I did have an interesting chat with the manager of a very fabulous clothing store that has their own fashion shows...the possibility of my providing jewelry for those shows was discussed and I'd love to show my work in that's just a matter of wait and see what comes of it.


  1. Mikki--Hope the clothing store/jewelry deal works out for you! The gallery thing is really hard, like you say. I also really liked the co-op galleries in California--maybe you could get one started down in your area? Good luck whichever way you decide. Love your work. CJ

  2. I like the clothing store idea! And galleries are only worth some designs, but not designs which take a lot of time and work (like most beadwoven designs). So good luck!

  3. Mikki...a co-op is great if there is one or a group ready to form one - but that's a lot of work. Work isn't so bad, but time? Free time?

    And if the Gallery can't sell a piece for the price that means you get what you need to get, maybe it isn't the right gallery. While most of us struggle along, there are people out there who don't care what it costs because they can afford to pay.

    I hope this doesn't sound pushy. It's just that you're right (in the entry after this) we all need to use that mantra. Why IS it that beaders think they deserve less - and most of us seem to. Because it's "just" beads?
    Well..My answer is, a Monet is just paint on canvas, too. And by the way, what did we last pay for a pair of great shoes or a good hair cut?

    I think your work is spectacular. And worth a big price tag. Don't WORRY that we common folk can't afford it. You, me etc. We aren't your market.

    Okay. I'm oversharing here, right?


Thanks for commenting :) I don't care for moderated comments but due to people posting ads in the comments section I've been forced to add this function.