It’s just 2 days until the King’s Hall Market in Stoke on Trent. Over 50 stalls will be selling a variety of wares much of which is hand crafted. There are lots of unusual items that you won’t find on the high street – great gifts for the hard to buy for. There is also a cafe and other food outlets. i’m looking forward to my cheesy North Staffordshire Oatcakes 🙂
This weekend I will be attending the Craft Market at King’s Hall, Stoke on Trent. I love doing these shows as I get to meet some lovely people and chat about art and craft all day. It also gives me chance to sell some of the items I can’t sell online as they are too fragile to post – mostly glass.
Coaster sets are one of my biggest sellers. They go for just £15 per set of 4 and as each is a unique work of art, this is a real bargain. I sell them at this price as I want them to be used as they should be without fear of breaking a valuable item. They are actually very hard to break (unless you drop a corner onto a tiled or concrete floor :-(). They are made with hardened glass (so suitable to put hot cups on) and decorated with a glaze which is fired when dry to form a durable surface which is even dishwasher resistant.
It would be great to see you there, please come and say Hi 🙂
As I mentioned yesterday, selling art shouldn’t stop with just your original art work. Putting it on various kinds of merchandise is a great advertisement and means someone who may not be able to afford an original just now, may be able to buy something more affordable, even if it’s only a card.
Doing it yourself will earn you the most per item but that means laying out money up front and you may be left with stock you can’t sell.
Zazzle are one of a number of printers who offer a free option for getting your work out there. You can have your design put on almost anything from cards to bags, t-shirts to phone cases.
I have set up a shop myself today. It’s very easy and gives you complete control over what your image is used on. All you have to do is upload your image and create your item from the huge selection. I have used my images on cards and canvas prints so far. The wizards will tell you if your image is not right, for instance if you try and make a small image much bigger on a product. Options on cards include adding text to the back which can include your contact details or website address.
You also set the amount of royalties you earn. This will of course affect the overall price. For my cards I have chosen a 20% royalty which earns me 49p of a sale cost of £2.60. Zazzle deal with all the customer service side of things so it’s money for almost nothing.
The copyright remains with the artist and the license is non-exclusive to Zazzle, meaning you can sell that image anywhere else you like.
You can see the card I designed using the above image here
It is easy as an artist to create a work, put it up for sale and that is the end of the story. Move on to the next work.
If you are a bit more savvy you can actually earn more than just the selling price of your work and you may even increase it’s value. On top of that, your work will be marketing itself.
The secret is to put your work on merchandise for free. Well this is the site that aims to get you selling with the minimum of outlay.
One such opportunity is with Zazzle. You upload your work to their site, choose what merchandise you want it displayed on and set your royalty rate. Zazzle do all the printing, customer service and payment details and send you your royalties. Of course, you will want to promote your works, but you can do that at the same time as you promote your e-shop, exhibitions and shows.
Each of the items that sell is marketing your original works. A customer may buy a printed tote, for instance, then their friend may love it so much they want the original.
Why not give it a look – all it will cost you is a little bit of time 🙂
This is a post I wrote some years ago with some additions.
I was reading a forum today where someone asked about making a cheap lightbox for photographing small items in. Funnily enough I have just made one 🙂 I needed to stop reflections on my glass tile jewellery and this worked amazingly well. I will now be going back to some of my glassware listings and putting up better photos!
In this picture the top is the third tissue covered window – the light in the room made it look brown
Here is how it’s done. Take a cardboard box roughly cube shaped. Mine is about 18″ on all sides. Cut out a square window in 3 of the sides, not the bottom of the box. Cover these in white tracing or tissue paper. Cover the inside bottom of the box in white card. Also cover the third side and that will be the base. You can add whatever color you want to stand your item on each time you set up. You can also create an infinity back drop by taking a piece of unfolded card, taping it to the top of the back panel and to the front of the base panel, bending the card but not folding.
Mine looks very crude but does the job 🙂
You can now set up lamps pointing into the box through the tissue windows. Daylight bulbs are best if you have them.
When using your camera, turn off the flash – this is what causes the really harsh reflections and unflattering shadows. I usually over expose by one stop to make the light areas nearer to white. You can check your histogram on your camera to make sure the big peak is close to the right hand side. If it isn’t, you need to increase the exposure. It is worth taking some time over this as the less you have to adjust on your computer the better. If you have no control over your exposure, take a few pictures on different settings and see which gives you the brightest result.
If you are photographing something much larger, such as paintings, you can create something similar. I hang a white bed sheet (any white fabric will do) from my mantelpiece as the backdrop and use four panels made from very large boxes and lightweight white voile. They are hinged together with duct tape so they fold flat and store away. Set your painting up against the backdrop and place your “light box” in front. Use strong lamps to light from the sides and above.
If you have a conservatory this is one of the best places to photograph. You can set up the same system in there or if you have translucent blinds, use those instead.
One important thing to remember with photographing paintings is to make sure your camera is level with the centre and both painting and camera are vertically upright.
If you have some cash to spend there are some good light tents on the market. I have one that pops up then folds back into a small bag. It’s a bit like this one.
Have you got an idea for a make your own light box? Leave a comment if you’d like to share.
It can be very easy sometimes to be distracted from your goals and when that happens you are much less likely to reach them. It is also easy to drift along if you haven’t vocalised to yourself what your goal is.
My own reason for blogging is to leverage search engines so that I get more visitors to my shop. The blogging is not the goal, selling my artwork is. I am something of a reluctant blogger, not after affiliate monetisation or thousands of readers waiting for my next installment. What I do want is dedicated customers who will enjoy finding out a bit more about my products and my methods. I want to connect, form a relationship.
I also want to give something to other artists who want to find their selling niche by letting them see what results I’ve got and how I’ve got them. It is all too easy to hold successful methods close to your chest and not share them because that knowledge was hard won.
Your goal is probably something completely different. Perhaps you have experiences you want to share, services you can provide or maybe you want to create a community of like minded people. Whatever you are doing needs to support that goal so ask yourself the question. Does what I am doing move me forwards?
The important thing is to keep your goals in mind and make everything you do count towards it. Don’t get distracted, but do enjoy the journey.
Today’s pictures are tiny abstracts that are ideal for gift giving. I am making a few of them for my craft stall at the end of the month. They are aimed at those people who would like to have some of my art but can’t afford the larger pieces. Those customers may be future collectors when circumstances are different.
It is now 7 days since I started this blog. I’m not sure how many people have read it as I haven’t installed a counter yet. Typically, the first comment I got was spam so I hastily added a plugin to deal with that and deleted the comments already there. It only took a couple of minutes to set up and deletes obvious spam before I even see it. Spam was a problem on my gallery site guestbook too. In the end I took that down so hopefully this plugin will be a solution on here.
As for Artfinder, that is continuing along with a few likes and views each day. Having set it up in April, it has a head start on my own shop and a ready visitor list. To get the best out of the site I need to try and get on their featured artist page. For that, I need to improve one or two things – include views of my paintings in a setting, add a picture of myself etc. Extra views would be useful for on here too and will be a priority over the next couple of weeks.
The picture above is a recent work in Derwent Soft pencil. I really enjoyed the puffins at Farne Island with their comical antics and features. It always looks to me as if something is about to go really wrong.
I will be adding it to both Artfinder and my shop today.
Ok, so we have a blog and a nice new shop (nearly – need to add some T’s and C’s and contact details). How does this compare with the other methods of selling I will be using?
At the moment, I have items on Artfinder and Etsy.
Artfinder is easy to set up – just apply for an account then add whatever works you like at whatever price you like. Artfinder take a commission (I think it is 30% + VAT). It takes about 6 weeks from the time an item is sold to the time you get paid.
Etsy is a pay to list site. 20c gets you on the list for 3 months. It is not an auction site – you set the price yourself. They also take a commission which is quite a bit less than Artfinder.
The problem for me with both these sites is that you still have to do much of the marketing yourself to get seen. On Etsy for instance, you can spend many hours getting your work onto the front of the trending pages or spend a lot of money relisting items so they appear on the new page. Of course, you can spend some of your marketing budget on pay per click schemes (megabucks and hard to quantify results).
The good points – all the site structure is there and the money is sorted out without you having to worry too much about it. People can find both sites and they have active followers who look for original hand crafted items.
With my own shop, all the effort of marketing will (hopefully) bring people to see just my work. I can see who they are and create a dialogue. I can also direct people from exhibitions and fairs to my site and they will know who they are buying from.
Obviously, it is impossible for me to look at all the art and craft selling sites, so it would be great to hear from sellers on other sites about their experiences. Could you recommend a place? Have you had a great experience with Artfinder or Etsy? If so, where do you think your success has come from?