Due to a big storm on the east coast earlier last week, I was without the internet for a few days and got to thinking about what a large part it plays in our lives as artists. It makes it fast and easy to find out about everything from calls for entry and places to take workshops to how a particular product works and where to find it.
As a business tool, it's invaluable. We can research galleries, find companies to print business cards, show our work to potential customers on a website or blog and so much more. I almost can't remember doing business as an artist without it.
How has the internet helped your art career lately?
editor, Quilting Arts In Stitches emagazine
I use it to find out about other artists and to keep in touch with the artists that I know but live far away from me. I also use it for researching techniques. At the same time, I use the internet for price shopping and for buying art supplies. It seems that art supplies stores (brick and mortar) are become fewer and fewer in my area. I love to read other people's blogs, so use various internet tools and websites so that I can read numerous blogs in one place so I can get through them quickly.
Belinda aka crazyartgirl
Good question, Jane. I am actually really interested to hear how quilt artists are using Etsy. If there is anybody out there with an Etsy store, I'd love to hear about your experience and what you sell...
Founder of Quilting Arts Magazine
TV Host, Quilting Arts on PBS
It really is amazing how indispensible the internet has become. It’s pretty much assumed that an artist will have a website or blog at the very least, so I really rely on the internet as a way to find new artists or keep up with those that I’m already familiar with. Personally, I feel that one of the most valuable aspects of the internet is its social quality; it’s about much more than viewing someone’s gallery or resume. It’s about keeping up with them through their blogs or other networking forums—and I’m grateful to have that capability.
To answer Pokey’s question, I do have an Etsy store but I’m shamefully neglectful of it—so I too would love to hear from a more dedicated/successful shop owner.
I'm just starting out as both and art quilter and as an Etsy seller. I don't have much up in my store in the way of art quilts yet, but I have a few things like free motion embroidered coasters. I also sell my other hand crafted items such as diaper covers.
I use my store as a place to sell my wares and gain exposure, but also as a training ground to learn about business and what people like in a low risk way (the costs are quite reasonable, and you can edit your listings so if you decide something needs to be improved you can tinker without incurring extra costs). I also use it to 'keep me honest'. I don't like to let my shop sit and go stale, so I am always trying to make something new to put up.
Making a listing really makes you think about the item you are selling, how to describe it, and what you think others need to know about it. I find that this process then informs how I approach my next piece.
The forums are fabulous too, Etsy is such an open community and everyone loves to add a comment here and there. By using web analytics you can trace where in the world interest in your items is coming from, and by looking at the sites of those who buy from you and who mark your items or store as a favourite, you can get a better idea of who your work appeals to.
I haven't made many sales yet but just taking the plunge and starting the store has been a real leap forward, I'm now moving into bolder areas with my art/craft and my big aim is to have art quilts listed.. soon (well, relatively, I have to make them first!)
Thank you for your in-depth response! Can you tell me what your name is for your etsy store? I'm intrigued!
My little store can be found at www.honeybeeNsweetpea.etsy.com
It is only very small as I fit it in around kids, and I am currently doing a re-vamp based on what I have learned so far. But it is lots of fun!
And I am slowly working up the confidence to put some more 'arty' things up instead of my 'crafts'!
I'm happy to share more about my experience if anyone is interested
Felicity- That's wonderful! I'm glad to read about your experience. I have recently considered Etsy as an option for my work.
This thread and topic is all coming at a unique time for me, as one of the quilts on my blog was picked up by a major "crafting" website, and several thousand hits on my website have turned into offers for the quilt. I'm what I call a "keeper", meaning I keep what I make. I had not considered my works for sale before, and always thought I'd go on the lecture/trunk show circuit rather than sell my art. So this is a very interesting topic right now as I explore all of my options.
I am thinking of making replicas of the original and offering them through Etsy as a way to let some people shop for my work. I work full time, and I doubt these small sales would allow me to leave my job anytime soon. However, it's extremely flattering and has been a lot of fun.
Thanks for sharing your info with us! Jane, you too!!
Cheryl / Muppin
I too was a 'keeper', until all of a sudden I had no room for the quilts and nick nacks I was creating. This is actually how I got into art quilting - I felt that I could do more with my textiles than make lovely blankets to pile up, and up, and up...
And I started giving my craft items to friend as gifts, and they always kept telling me I should sell them. So while I am very new in my art quilting 'journey' (having made only three non traditional quilts versus 20 or more traditional designs), I have taken to listing my crafts on Etsy. I am always making something, so it is a way to turn my hobby into (hopefully one day) profit rather than just more 'stuff' to gather in the house!
Etsy is also a useful companion to other ventures - I exhibit some of my crafts in the local shows, and friends of friends often ask for contact details when they have seen items I make, so having a little business card with my Etsy site on it has led to some followers, and an easy way to display the variety of my wares. Etsy also has a useful function so that if you take your items to a show or fair where it may be sold, you can put it on hold on the website so that no one can purchase it - saving the embarrassment of a double sale!
A lot of artists offer prints of their originals on Etsy, across a number of media.
I too work my store around two young kids, university, and I am soon to return to full time work. At the moment it is a hobby but I hope to use what I learn from the experience to allow me to one day become a 'professional' artist and crafter... once the kids are a bit biger and I have completed my degree!
Congratulations on having your quilting recognised. I remember the first time I won recognition at a show, such a confidence booster. I was floating for weeks :)
Thanks for the post, it's given me a lot to think about. Sounds like you're just as busy as I am!
I've only sold some very small pieces (really small...2-inch square pins and pendants) in a local fair and some small pins in our local art museum gift shop. But I use the Internet to look at artist's galleries. I belong to SAQA and at the end of a hard workday, I'll visit the site and watch the slideshow while I drink a cup of tea. I love to see the great diversity of styles. I also love to look at the photo gallery on this site (Quilting Arts). I was going to open an account on ETSY over Christmas vacation but we had a family emergency and I never had time to look into it. It is still one of my goals to do that. I'm a full time chemistry teacher so I haven't had time to develop a real business. I make my art for the love of it only and haven't gone out of my way to sell it. I belong to an art group and we are becoming more serious about getting exposure and I'm sure the Internet will play a part in that.
I have just read your blog and all the responses! How interesting and educational. I am new to all this"blogging", quilting, Etsy. I have been a life long sewer..clothing and personal accessories, window treatments, bedding and soft home accessories. I am actually interested in using the process of creating from fabric as a means of therapy...as a way to build self esteem. Anyway, just wanted to say thx to all of you for your thoughtful questions and answers...I look forward to more blogging!
Welcome Summer5nj! This is a great resource and hope to see you around the forum!Thanks,
It has been a while since we were on the same blog. I have been a folk artist of some sort or another all my life and I have sold pieces in every endever except quilting. For me going commercial killed the creativity and fun for me and I would move on to something else. I give a lot of my quilts away and somehow that has in turn has kept the creativity flowing. If I do a chemo quilt the next project will be much better than the last.
I have been showing my latest quilts in fairs and juried international shows. This too helps keep my creative spirits up. I am now speaking at guilds which is an absolutely wonderful experience. I love surrounding my self with creative people. I realize I won't get rich speaking locally so I have started my first book. The plan is to eventually sell the book where ever I go speak. I will never get rich, I never have in anything I have done. That's why I call my husband the PATRON OF MY ARTS.
Have a wonderful creative day
I use the internet to search products, techniques and other artists. I read blogs and have my own blog but must admit Im not a great blogger, still learning. It is great to be able to put your art out there for the world to see.I haven't tried selling on any of the internet venues. I use the internet a lot to search for calls for entries also. I could use a blogging class or "blogging for dummies" book !