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Monday, July 28, 2014

New Friends

I have to tell you I am always so impressed with the quality of art I see at the shows I do. I met a man with turned wood, a lady with antique door knobs on hardware that was gorgeous, a very talented lithographics lady  and an egg tempura artist.  Most artist can not afford to pay big bucks into these shows and not have quality work.
I enjoy so much meeting the other artist and I want to always mention them in reference to a quality always is not about the money (even though it helps pay for your travel and show expenses and seed money) but also the relationships you form along the road. Not only the artist but you get to visit with a lot of remarkable people , the organizers that work their tails off to make the shows work, the patrons that walk all day through the tents patiently looking for that perfect work.
As usual we had various weather in Denver for the Chessman Park Art Fest, it burned us, it melted us, we ended up opening up the back of the tent to let in fresh air but yet had to keep an eye open for the dark clouds that would promise rain. I used two portable battery operated fans inside the tent that both myself and the patrons appreciated.
I had a nice surprise as the time arrived to pull down our tent and pack everything daughter, her husband and my two grandchildren arrive to help and it really went a lot faster.
So thanks to all for a job well done.
One more show to go and I will complete my journey this year, it is Estes Park and I will hopefully be able to include some pictures with my entry in September. Happy trails.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Jackson Hole, Wyoming Art Festival

We arrived on Wed. before the show in order to set up our own campsite which we found Gros Venture to be the perfect spot. Just outside Jackson Hole and far enough away that we had a young moose wonder through camp around 6:00 am the next morning. He had been kicked off his mom when she probably became pregnant again and knew that she would have a new little one again.

 The entire area is so beautiful that it was truly difficult to put my responsibilities aside and not run off into the wild to just take pictures.

Most of the drive was bleak the first few hours as it goes from flat and dry to valleys and pines. The entire trip up took us 8 and a half hours from Greeley to Jackson Hole.  There are beautiful ranches along the way though that have taken advantage of the beautiful rock formations to choose their locations...course the wind probably had a great deal to do with that decision.

This was a shot of the Tetons that I just could not resist using.

You can tell by the pictures of our tents set up that it was the beginning of the morning and this was just a small percentage of tents in my area...I think there were around 150 tents with over 800 entering the juroring.
This was my tent set up and we had a variety of weather, hot (86) and then wind and rain so we got to test our fortitude. Yes the sandbags are a distraction which we solved later but were required (100 lbs on each leg) in order to handle the gust or micro burst we experienced.

Like I said I could have stayed all week and just taken pictures. The flowers were the cream on the top of the mountain shots. Just gorgeous.
Small note, we had to put all our food items in a steel box called a bear box in the campground so that we did not intentionally attract a bear. That also included toothpaste, soap, deodorant etc.
This was a show that even though I did ok it will be debatable as to whether it would be one that I would drive 8 1/2 hours again to attend. The crowds were ok and the views tremendous and maybe you just have to think that, hey I had a great vacation and made sales also so what do I have to whine about.
As I have always said the greatest thing that I can say I enjoyed was meeting the patrons I met and the other creative people that were around my tent...that is what makes a trip enjoyable.
Back home again I begin the process all over again and prepare for the Chessman Art Festival in least I can sleep in my own bed this time even though you can not beat the fact that I went to sleep one night watching the most beautiful full moon slip its way up through the trees over the Green River.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Packing up and Moving Forward

The big day has arrived and for the past few days I have been preparing the trailer and back of the truck to accomodate not only my work and pedestals but also all the things we will need camping in the Tetons.

All of work is wrapped in either bubble wrap and packing blanket or the foam you use under flooring and blanket and placed in Rubbermade tubs

Our trailer is just large enough to haul the 11 pedestals I carry with me and the ice chest and one tub if you notice I have "seal a meal" type plastic covering the pedestals to prevent damage or moisture and all is cinched down tight

The truck was a jumble of three tubs with pieces (trailer would be too rough) sleeping bags and tent

Monday, June 9, 2014

Preparing for Jackson Hole Art Festival

I know we have discussed shows before and I have shown what my truck looks like but it is an entirely different scenario when packing for a long distance trip.

My destination in a month is Jackson Hole, Wyoming and I am excited for this show but not looking forward to the drive even though it will be beautiful country.

From the day I received the notice I made it into the Jackson Hole Arts Festival I began to work on my gasoline budget, food budget and expenses for the eleven hour drive and five night stay.

Packing nineteen pieces varying from 5 pounds to 50 pounds, which by the way no one ever gives you a class in packing, you have to be so careful. Your work must be packed to protect it from not only the elements but also just the vibration of movement for eleven hours.  Even the texture of fabric can rub a place on a patina.

I wrap (after cleaning and inspecting) each piece in bubble wrap or the thick pressed foam wrap then again in a moving blanket.  Then label each piece. (By the way if traveling in the south in very humid weather you would have to re-think the bubble wrap).  These pieces I pack carefully in tubs (the best are Rubbermade-Roughneck).  These are tough and can stack if they are not too heavy.  All is then tarped down.

Zapplication shows are very particular about appointed times given to set up or tear down.  You have no more than one hour and 30 minutes to set up your 10 x 10 area and unload all work.  Then the truck and trailer have to be moved elsewhere.  (Often they take your license plate number and threaten that if they see you parked anywhere near the area you will not be invited back.) Sometimes you are not allowed close to your space so I usually pack two dolly's along with my twelve pedestals.  The back of my trailer has a ramp type gate so easy to dolly pieces right off the back.

Two weeks before a show I check each pedestal, use wood hole filler for any nicks from last trip and repaint.  Nothing detracts from a piece worse than ugly or scratched pedestals.  I wrap these individually after drying with the same plastic moving company's use.  Take this with you for pull down because you don't want them damaged before the next show 2 weeks later.

It will be even more complicated because we are going to a mountain area that has evening rain so all needs to be tarped.

Making sure all your business needs are in your brief case- Iphone, square, receipt book list of pieces and prices and those all necessary labels for each piece.  An artist name tag is great also unless provided.  I even have a small money bag to keep checks and cash intact.  If possible even figure tax ahead of time on a sheet for convenience.

I have a file with all paperwork, bio, authenticity papers, artist statement, care of bronzes and an explanation of process. Include the all important business cards that I display in two acrylic holders.  I also carry extra bubble wrap, tape, stapler, scissors, tape measure,  pen and pad. Always remember "what could happen, will happen" and be prepared. Some shows will not let you wrap pieces sold where they can inspect going out but others let you as long as the patron shows his receipt so take along extra bubble wrap.

Last but most important, if a work gets damaged in transit please do not think "oh hopefully the patron won't notice".....this is an example of your personal work that will be in someones' home or office for probably the rest of their life...let it be only your best. Wrap that damaged piece back up and pack it away.

Now since I am camping to enjoy the great outdoors hopefully I can find a shower and electricity somewhere. Add to that load a tent, tub of cooking tools, cooler, stove etc. fishing fly rods, a very large lab and hmmmmm..........if you are a fellow artist, good luck on your shows this year and if you are a patron reading this, hopefully this gives you an idea that we just do not show up and all is magical, it takes a lot of work both in clay and on the road. We hope that you enjoy our work as much as we enjoy showing it. Hopefully we will all come home with fewer pieces than we took.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

2014 Schedule

I am excited to finally have my 2014 schedule down in black and white and committed..

A few days ago I traveled down to Evergreen, Colorado and set up my pedestals and work for a featured sculptor exhibit for the month of May (through the 25th), the reception is at the Shadow Mountain Gallery in Evergreen, Colorado on Fri. March 25th from 5:00 pm until 8:00pm. I have never shown in Evergreen so excited to meet the public and possibly any other artist showing in that co-op gallery.

The month of July I have the Cheesman Park Art Festival and also the Jackson Hole Art Festival in Wyoming, so it will entail several days of enjoying the beautiful area and checking out all the galleries. There are usually so many animals to see also...might even work in a little fly fishing on the Snake.

Then in the Fall I will be in Estes Park, Colorado for their Art Fest in September, that should also put me up close and personal to not only elk lovers but the elk themselves. If you know me then you know that the flood that destroyed the canyon and also the eastern plains fell victim to that also occurred last year at that same time and we were lucky that it happened the day before 92 artist were to arrive and set up their tents.

So other than those shows I will probably be just working to keep up and perhaps creating some clays to travel with me so that I can get pre-cast interest. I will take pictures along the way and let you travel the experience with me.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tax time

All of you who read this probably know all about taxes therefore this writing is more for the beginning artist that has transitioned from hobbyist to business owner, dabbler to artist.

Hopefully you have licensed your business and display it proudly in your studio or office.  This not only tells people you are serious about your work but speaks volumes about your expectations for the future.

For those of you not familiar with a Sales tax license, if you sell anything you have to collect sales tax whether it be city or state.  Even if you are showing in an event out of state the management will come by after the event and collect the taxes or you will report your sales and mail it to them later.

Most events will even give you the paperwork in your packet prior to beginning of show in order for you to know how to calculate your sales (whether they charge 6% or 7.5% you need to calculate it in ahead of time to achieve the amount that will cover both your expenses, seed money and taxes).

I have always paid Colorado Sales tax quarterly but you don't have to if your disciplined enough to set your funds aside each time earmarked for taxes.

You should have an old fashioned receipt book (even if you use your square for credit cards) all sales should be recorded thereby collecting all patron information for your mailing list. Name, telephone number, address and even email come in handy when keeping records of sale listing, edition number and any special notes you may need in referring later to this sale.  (This is a good place to write your reminder of the 10% discount for this patron when he returns for future purchase.)

As an artist that likes to contact my patrons at later dates to remind them to check their pieces for scratches or damage this list is crucial.

Along with my receipt book data I keep a file labeled whatever year I am saving for with all receipts throughout that year.  Also I log them into a financial record book breaking down into columns (for instance office, toward edition and number, supplies, travel, and marketing.

My accountant keeps all pieces inventoried from year to  year so I am accountable and when I donate work for Cancer Society or Audubon society  allows me only to write off what it cost to create that piece (not what your selling it for.)

If these single records are kept as they occur (rather than a mad rush to write down all your receipts approaching April 15th) then come tax time you have all the information you need to transfer easily to a spreadsheet to give to your tax preparer.  All you have to do is add up your columns and supply your income.

Here is a great place to put something I have learned over the years, you must be careful claiming part of your home as your business, check with the legalities of this.  If you quit or sell the house you must pay extra for the sale of a shed (or whatever you have been using as a business write off.) Just be very informed...also there is the old dilemma of hobby versus business as far as proven income...all I can say is ask, ask, ask a qualified tax man.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Beyond words

There are mistakes that artist make that I would hope that I can pass along so that others will not make them also...I have mentioned the shelf life of molds but I failed to mention probably that along with the shelf life other issues need to be addressed.

A mold is only good for so long and you have quite an investment involved in that mold as it is your only connection with the edition you are continuing to create until it is gone.

Often artist think (or maybe it was just me) that ok, I need x amount of dollars out of this piece so I have to have at least 50 editions so I can bring the price down so my patrons can afford it.  Well, back to the shelf life of molds. If you are like most sculptors you do not have the money to cast all of an edition at once, therefore you cast as you can afford which may take over a period of time.

I have learned through the years that molds are not forever so I have shortened my edition number considerably mainly because I do not want to have my molds deteriorate before I get the entire edition poured. I have also learned as the time passes I need to be receptive to the fact that I at least need to pour waxes in order to preserve the image towards the end of the shelf life if I see deterioration or liquefying of the mold. If you are checking your molds feel the inside areas and you will detect a distinct softness or even at later stages a liquid substance. This by the way is very difficult to clean from your waxes but it is doable.

In the beginning I had no idea what was happening and would find a mold ruining and would rush to pour as many of the waxes as possible to play salvage. Now I have learned just to shorten my editions so that I am not having to pay the piper later. I store my own molds and have never found that a hot or severely cold storage area is good for molds, nothing seems to deter the aging process (slightly cool has been my best temp).

Try to remember to check your molds ever so often (twice a year) as the seasons change so that you are on top of the conditions and as everything you need to date your molds so that you are aware of just how close you are pushing the shelf life of that mold. It also varies so don't just expect a mold to last five years or eight years or two years check, check and re-check.