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 booth....is 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 format....it's just a matter of wait and see what comes of it.