Hi Deborah, Gerald at the Copper Shade Tree notified me that you were interested in some of the methods of mounting fiber art on pre-stretched canvas. Well, it looks like you have already figured most of it out! I like what you have done with your two pieces above.
Of the four pieces I had at the exhibit, two of them were mounted on canvas, and I believe those were the most successful ones. One (the American Landscape piece entitled "Courthouse at Round Top") http://www.coppershadetree.com/item_detail.php?item_id=LTM2010 was hand-stitched to a black-fabric-wrapped canvas. I used a heavy-duty staple gun to wrap the black fabric tightly onto the canvas, then hand-stitched directly through both fabric and canvas. A sharp needle, a thimble, and a pair of pliers for pulling the needle through are very helpful for this method.
The other ("In Vino Veritas") http://www.coppershadetree.com/item_detail.php?item_id=LTM20102 used a combination of methods, since I was concerned about the weight. If I'm going to use "glue" to mount an art quilt to a canvas, I make darned sure that I'm not going to want to remove it! I use Golden Gel Medium (any weight but the soft or light bodies) as the glue, and you can bet it will not be coming loose any time soon. Since this piece uses vintage papers, stitching, ink-work, and beading, it is hand-stitched down, but I also wanted to build up the edges around the artwork itself, and blend it into the face of the canvas. I did this with molding paste, gesso, and paint. The canvas itself is painted and textured.
Oh, one more point. There are several differences between the cheaper and more expensive stretched canvases. One difference is the staples showing on the edges of the cheaper canvases. If the canvas is going to go into a frame or be covered by fabric anyway, this is not an issue. The other main difference is the depth of the canvas. A 1" depth may look kind of wimpy hanging on the wall, unless it is inserted into a frame. I like to hang my mounted artwork unframed, so I prefer at least a 2" deep canvas.
I hope this helps. I'm sure others will chime in with their own methods. Really, it's all about problem solving ... what do you want to do, and how can you do it? It's one of my favorite things about fiber-art!
Linda Teddlie Minton
San Antonio, TX
Hi Deborah, I'm one of the artists showing work at the Copper Shade Tree Gallery in Round Top, Texas.Last yr was my first time showing work at the CST Gallery and I mounted all my pieces on good quality canvas, .I mentioned good quality because some cheap canvas have a lot of "give" and it makes the piece saggy. I start by painting the canvas with acrylic paint in satin finish (any quality brand works good), 2 coats to cover well. After the canvas is dry I proceed to sew the art quilt to the canvas. I use tiny applique pins to position the quilt on the canvas so it won't move and I use a very long needle, made for doll making, to be able to go under the stretching bars and possibly hide the stitches on the back. I use quilting thread in a neutral color like grey or beige or to match the fabric, 2 strands. I take very tiny stitches using the gap between the quilt top and the binding to hide the stitches.(most of my pieces have bindings). After I'm done going all the way around I sew an X with a running stitch on the back of the canvas, specially on pieces bigger than 12 x12 inches. That prevents the center of the art quilt from sagging. To finish I attach picture wire with 2 eye hooks so the piece can hang. It is a long and painful process (fingers get very sore) but I love the results.
Thank you for taking the time to go to the Gallery!!
Hi Deborah, And thanks for the link to the gallery!!! Awesome quilts. My favorite is on page 2 with the red barn and the bluebonnets. We leave MI for that area of TX on Monday....sure hope to see lots of bluebonnets to take photos of....thanks for the link. Have fun on Sunday!!!! Peggy
Hi Linda, I saw your work at the Copper Shade Tree. What a great fiber show. Certainly appreciate your points above. Displaying my fiber art has in a professional manner has always been a challenge so your suggestions are helpful. I live in Kerrville and a source of canvas is limited here. Usually have to go to San Antonio or order online. I agree, the 2" deep canvas looks better although I have used the 1" when I just wrapped the fabric around the whole canvas. Thanks for your response.
All of these comments are wonderful! I am learning so much and really appreciate the comments. I feel like we're really getting into the real stuff (lol) - how it works and what you do to make it work. I have another question this is about pricing a piece. When you bring something to a gallery do you put a price that you want to make from the piece and then the gallery adds to the price enough to cover their expenses? How does that usually work? Thanks, Regina from California
Hi Regina, I price all my quilts before I take them to the gallery. I make sure that I look at everything that went into making the quilt. Including difficulty. I also know that the gallery will take 40% of the price I have on the quilt. So, make sure you have that factored into the price. Quilts that I sell on Etsy, I can price lower and still make a bigger profit since Etsy only takes 3.5%. Big difference between 3.5% and 40%. I pretty much know what my gallery customers will pay for a quilt, having sold to them for 6 years. You don't want to over price, but for sure you don't want to give the quilt away. Hopes this helps you......
Thank you Peggy, 40% wow - that's a lot but that's the information I needed. Thanks, Regina
Hi Reginia, The latest contract I got is asking for a 50/50 split...we will negotiate this......I can't do a 50/50 split. Not sure what the going % is....does anyone else want to jump in and tell us what percentage the galleries get??? Peggy
First, have to say hi to wonderful fiber-artist Martha Tsihlas (Hi, Martha!). And thanks, Lana, for your nice comments.
Second, regarding pricing ... ooooh! Every artist's dilemma. Each gallery has the option of charging whatever commission the market will bear, and that they need to charge in order to keep their doors open. After all, they are providing the venue for prospective buyers to see your work, and if they are good (like Gerald and Debbie Tobola's Copper Shade Tree Gallery (http://www.coppershadetree.com/) in Round Top, Texas), they are also actively promoting you and your artwork. They have to make enough money to keep the gallery up and running, which is to your benefit as well as theirs.
The amount of the percentage seems to be a regional thing. I know that on the East and West Coasts (where property values are higher), the percentages run higher (up to 50% and even more). Here in Texas, it seems to depend more on "city vs. country", although that doesn't always hold true, either. Gerald Tobola, for instance, even though his gallery is in the small-but-growing artist's town of Round Top, is an artist himself, and so has a real affinity for the artists who show work with him. He and his wife Debbie are enthusiastic promoters of their artists, and take a smaller commission than other galleries I'm familiar with. As a result, his artists tend to be quite loyal.
In other words, like everything else, it all boils down to doing your homework ... if you are willing to pay a reasonable commission to have a well-respected gallery promote your work, it's very worth it. Some people have lots of luck with Etsy or eBay, but I don't have the time or patience for them ... (I do shop them sometimes, though!)
Hope this is helpful. (BTW, ... and just in time for this gallery-themed conversation ... I just got word that another one of my pieces sold at the Copper Shade Tree ... was it one of you girls? LOL!)
Thank you for your kind comment Linda and congrats on the new red dot....
Regarding what a gallery takes, 50/50 is pretty much standard. Painters always talk about that percentage. Now, I know of this one gallery here in Austin that deals with fine crafts The artist sets the price and then the gallery increases it a 100%!! The owner of this particular place explained to me that with their overhead and rent/location there is no other way.
Anyways, it varies from place to place and is all a matter of finding the right gallery to represent you.
Personally, regardless of percentages I'm just happy to get my pieces out the door!!
Martha in COLD Austin, Tx (what happened to spring??)
Peggy, Linda, Martha -- I feel like I have been at a seminar. Your comments are just invaluable to me and to others who are struggling to break into the business. I can't thank you enough for your candor and willingness to share.
BTW, I'm in the Texas Hill Country and we had snow flurries this morning and will be in the mid-twenties tonight. Talk about cold! My hummingbirds are shivering.
I think location will sometimes determine the percentage a gallery with take. But, since I am relatively new to the whole process, Im glad to have it displayed. The gallery where I have some fiber art worked with me in pricing. They told me what they thought they could sell it for and I told them what I wanted for the piece and together we came up with a price that included their percentage that pleased both of us. I tend to under price my art, but Im getting over that pretty quickly. Martha, it is COLD in Kerrville too!! Im glad you put your blog on the post. Im going to look at it. My blog address is: http://lanasthreadsandmusings.blogspot.com .
Good morning everyone, I have to agree that even with a 50/50 split I will sign the contract. It is hard to find a gallery that shows art quilts....and I have been with this gallery for 6 years. Love the owners and we all work well together. Plus, they market the quilts perfectly....and have a large mailing list. I guess I was spoiled with the 60/40 split that I had for 6 years. And I agree, the objective is to get the quilts the attention they deserve and then the sell. Can't sell them if they are sitting in storage at your house. That is why I have taken the time to get most of my inventory on Etsy. It is not E-Bay and there are some super high-priced quilts on Etsy. Do I sell a quilt everyday? NO. But, everyday I get hits on my site which means people are seeing the quilts. And it is pretty sweet when you log on and find that someone just paid over $1,000 for 5 quilts....money was already in my Paypal when I woke up. Not a bad way to wake up. Etsy is actually a really class act, and it gives my quilts exposure that they wouldn't have when I don't have a show running. Now, this girl will be heading from Michigan to Texas tomorrow morning.....we are going to College Station to visit the grandsons.....I will hopefully be able to follow the conversation. Please make it warm in Texas!!!!! Peggy
Martha, I hope you get a chance to go to Round Top while you are in Texas -- it is not that far from College Station. You would love the Copper Shade Tree. They have extended the Art in Fiber exhibit. After following this conversation, I feel so much more empowered. Now, I need to produce so that I can put all this good knowledge to work. That 50/50 split is really high but better than not selling. I'll go to Etsy and take a look around. Hate to tell you but it is still cold in my part of Texas! Debbie
Hi Deborah, I probably will not get to Round Top this trip....quick trip to see the grandsons. I am so happy I found this forum, sometimes I feel all alone with my landscape quilts. It is hard to find other quilters that like to talk about art quilts. Etsy is a good site......it does have some really inexpensive craft items, but it also has some very high end art. I joined Etsy to give my quilts more exposure when they are not at a gallery. Once you get the inventory up on the site it is super easy to maintain. Make sure you order some warm weather for me in Texas...we will be there on Thursday. In the meantime, happy quilting. Peggy