>Beadwork & the Frozen Economy


beaded Back to the Future pop art painting Boston Globe newspaper collage US car industry economy Beaded Back to the Future time machine (Part 3).
Paper collage on 16″ x 20″ painting.
Work in progress.

The other day, bead artist Robin Atkins wrote a blog post about her recent experiences with selling her beadwork in this frozen economy. She mentioned how not making sales can damage the artists self-esteem, and she wanted to know how others are handling these tough times. Robin asked “Is the real payoff the creative process? How do you deal emotionally with a disappointing sales experience or being rejected by a gallery or for a show?”

I told her that I recently opened The Lone Beader’s Gallery Shop on Etsy – about 2 months ago – and have not made any sales yet. From what I can see, there are two main reasons for this: 1) Etsy is a very large selling venue, and it’s easy to get buried in the millions of search results. 2) Our nation’s struggling economy is not helping. Less people are searching for something to buy, and if they are, they are probably not looking to invest in original art.

Despite this, I am grateful for all the wonderful things that have been happening with my art lately. I am also trying to be realistic & optimistic about the situation. I am doing what I have always done in the past. I am using this time to complete my current piece, make business connections, enter shows, get my work published & plan future pieces. If people like my work, and want to buy something I am happy, although I will admit that it is painful for me to sell – perhaps because only I know how much effort I put into each piece. And, regarding shows, if I get accepted to one, I am thrilled! But, if not, it really doesn’t bother me. I know that it is not the same as being rejected, and I know that not everyone will like my beadwork. So, for me, yes, the real payoff IS the creative process. Finishing one of my bead paintings is always an accomplishment – one which looks great hanging on the wall in my studio!

With that in mind, I had an interesting experience yesterday. I noticed a new contemporary art gallery near Downtown Crossing in Boston called Alternate Currents. I stopped in to look at all the art. Then, I signed up for the mailing list, and the director noticed my email address. She said “The Lone Beader?? I know that name! I have seen you somewhere!…” Turns out I was following her on Twitter! We spoke about my beadwork for a bit, then she said “I’d love to carry your work!” I don’t know if that will actually happen or not, but I was thrilled that she knew my artist name! I think that means I am accomplishing something! So whether I am selling anything at the moment or not, I feel that I am still moving forward with my art on a daily basis, although it is not an easy path to follow! 😮

15 thoughts on “>Beadwork & the Frozen Economy

  1. >It’s some tough times right now for a lot of people and art is a luxury and not a necessity. I do not equate sales with self worth – though I did at one time. It’s destructive. I think this will pass, but it isn’t going to happen overnight. Congrats on the connection too!

  2. >Thanks for all the comments! I am also not sure that Etsy is the right venue, but it is very inexpensive endeavor. I have a feeling that I will not be there long, although I will leave my shop profile there… I would like to redesign my website so that I can sell direct from there! And, yes, galleries would be great, but these things take time, as does the beadwork itself!

  3. >Bad economy and fanning fear for worse economy does not make it easy in all industries. Well, I am not quite sure if Etsy is really the platform for you. I have the feeling that Etsy is for people who want to buy handmade as a gift or something, but they don’t want it to be too pricey. That’s just how I use Etsy or Dawanda. I don’t think that anyone looking for art with enough money would look into Etsy. You need to reach the real rich ones who are not so much affected by economy, either. Renowned Galleries would be the best for your work.

  4. >I can only imagine how much time and detail your beautiful, beaded art takes, so I could esily understand how parting with it has some regret mixed with the excitement.Congratulations on your published article in the Russion newspaper!Great feedback too on how twitter is working for you.

  5. >Hurrah for you L.B. I’m inclined to think that doing the work is enough. Sales are nice but they are gravy. I’m fortunate that I can say that as I don’t have to live on what I make. Heck, I couldn’t. But, I have a blast trying stuff. Robin is a fantastic beader in her own right and it is nice that you made a connection with each other and that you made a connection with the director at the gallery. Hurrah!!!!!

  6. >Sure sounds like you’re doing all the ‘right’ things and your attitude is excellent…add persistence to the mix and it seems to me it will have to succeed eventually.

  7. >Yes to all of this!!! Ever since I discovered your blog a year or so ago, I’ve had the sense that you are always on a path of discovery and moving forward nicely! Thanks so much for writing on this topic and congratulations on Alternate Currents. I hope it develops into a good venue for you. And please keep us posted about your etsy thoughts… Beady hugs, Robin A.

  8. >Etsy is a strange beast in and of itself. I know a couple of other vintage and supply sellers who also have handmade shops that get little to no sales, while their v and s ones are doing fairly well.

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