Posted on July 23, 2007
Because I have chosen to mostly market my own work ... as opposed to placing pieces in lots of galleries and waiting apprehensively for cheques in the mail ... I've had to maintain a continued balance between production of cash-flow items and art pieces.
The art pieces are reasonably high-valued, compared with my cash-flow work and, when sold, certainly add a much needed boost to my income. However, the timing of sales for such pieces is random. My display work can be viewed on this website (www.gilmour.design) by navigating the various links.
My cash-flow work consists of premium utensils and homewares, including spoons and stirrers, salad servers, utensil holders, cocktail and kitchen muddlers, as well as serving bowls, dishes and boards. I sell this work from a trading space in the Port Douglas Art and Craft Market once a week (Sundays) and also on my website Forest Treasures (www.foresttreasures.com).
The balance between 'paying the rent' and bills and making a mark as an artist is a tenuous one. Production of my cash-flow work is very time consuming and, if I have a particularly successful day of selling on a Sunday, I'm pretty much committed for the following week (and sometimes more) to just replacing stock. This dilemma obviously applies to all artist/craft/makers who need to fund themselves while they endeavour to further their art.
Whilst I've tried in the recent couple years to reduce my cash-flow work production to a minimum sustainable level, I still find that about 80% of my actual productive time is taken up with creating functional items for cash sale.
Of course, I'm not knocking the fact that I can actually generate an income from my work, as there are many artists out there who are unable. However, I am trying to devote more contiguous time to creation of display works.
One of the less obvious effects of maintaining production work is that the time that I can devote to art work is broken into 'segments'. Sometimes these 'segments' on particular pieces may be weeks apart. Therefore, it's sometimes difficult to maintain a 'flow' on certain pieces because I'm unable to carry the work through to an advanced state in a single session or a continuous period of time.
This does irritate me somewhat ... and so, I'm always trying different time-management where I can restrict the production of functional items to just a couple days in the week and devote the remaining time to artwork. Like all best-laid plans, of course, it doesn't always work out.