Blog Topic: Odd & Ends

Keeping Up With The Times: Appealing To Collectors

Friday, September 28th, 2018

Barbara Burns

Keeping up with what’s happening in the art world is useful, especially if you want to sell your work. Do you read relevant periodicals? I regularly read American Craft, Fiber Art Now, Sculpture Magazine (because my husband gets it), Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot, Surface Design, Northern Journeys, a local art periodical and occasionally the New York Times art section. In a past issue of American Craft I read an article about collecting and collectors. That led me to thinking about how to develop collectors so I did an online search.

Here’s what I learned:

 The new crop of collectors are not collecting in the same manner as we, or our parents and grandparents collected. They generally don’t focus on one or two items, They’re eclectic in their tastes. They are also put off by galleries where you have to ring a bell and be buzzed in. They like to see work in context, as in a grouping one might have in their home. Also, there is an up and coming movement for small, I mean tiny, homes where there isn’t much room for collecting.

So what does that mean to us as a contemporary tapestry artists? On my website, I plan to have in situ shots of my work. I’m considering taking some of my tapestries to friends homes and photographing my work in different decorating styles: contemporary, urban, traditional you get the idea.DeAnna Rigter, "Winters Long Thaw" (2016), Triptych: Three 4" x 4" tapestries on 6" x 6" canvas

What else? Maybe you want to work small, even in miniature and appeal to the tiny homes or to people who don’t have deep pockets. That’s another way to develop collectors. Start them on small less expensive works. With luck and some marketing they’ll come back for more and maybe larger work in the future. Personally, I prefer working large so this would be a stretch for me.

There is a movement called Art Cards and Originals (ACEOs). This is a group of artists who realized there is a market for miniature art works on paper. Cards are sold either as originals or editions. If it’s a print it should say so, and it should be numbered and signed—usually on the back. There are simple guidelines for ACEOs. The largest venue for buying and selling ACEOs, by the way, is eBay. This seems to be specific to painting and drawing but why can’t tapestry be included? I have had cards made of a few of my tapestries and they sell.

I use a company called Overnight Prints. I ordered 500 cards for $363. That comes to 72 cents US each plus a fraction of a cent for cellophane sleeves and I sell them for $4 each. Not a bad mark up. I also give them away.

Use postcards to promote your work. I once received a commission to weave someone’s granddaughter because I had my postcard and on a table in front of me in a class I took on marketing. Sometimes I give them out instead of my business card. If the person likes the image the card will stay on their refrigerator or bulletin board a lot longer than a business card. I have several different images and give the one I think the person will resonate with most. On the front I have the image. On the back, I include information about the image, and my contact information. I also can put a label on the back with information about a show or teaching. A nice touch is to give some to the person who buys the artwork on the card. Can you see them giving out postcards with your artwork on them. Happy clients are the best advertising you have, bar none. So why not provide them with something that they’ll be happy to share with others?

A website gives you visibility 24/7. Having a place where people can give you their email on your page gives you a list of people who want to hear from you. These people are ten times more likely to buy your artwork than those who follow you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn. These are possible collectors. Use your email list to send out a newsletter letting people know where your work can be seen, awards you receive, talks you are giving, teaching gigs and open studio time. You can also use it to keep people updated on your work in progress. Don’t abuse it, but use it well.

If you use an email provider like MailChimp you can have up to 2,000 subscribers before you have to pay MailChimp a dime. (More reasons why artists should use MailChimp here.) You don’t want to use your personal email to send out manual newsletters.

There are lots of articles online about winning over collectors. Here are a few to check out:

7 Ways To Win Over Collectors On Instagram

How Collectors Use Instagram To Buy Art

How To Create An Art Blog That Makes Art Collectors Swoon 

Collectors Use Instagram to Research and Buy Art: 9 Tips to Connect with Them  

10 Surprising Habits of Millennial Art Collectors

You’ll sell More Art When You define Your Art Customer Profile

That’s all for now,


Craft Industry Alliance

Saturday, September 15th, 2018



Barbara Burns

Craft Industry Alliance (CIA) is a community of craft industry makers, suppliers, designers, content creators, educators, and service providers serious about small business. CIA offers content that many ATA members might find helpful. There are webinars on things like using mail chimp, crowd funding, making videos, legal info and more. Under Resources you’ll find information on branding, book keeping software, packaging suppliers, business plan templates . Their Blog has posts about choosing the right social media schedule, podcasts for creative entrepreneurs and free stock photo sites.


About two-thirds of the content is for members only like the articles in their Journal on subjects ranging from member profiles to social media image sizes and understanding print-on-demand products. The Forums offer a place to get many of your business questions answered by people who have experience. CIA has Groups for Etsy sellers, Shopify users and a bookkeeping club.






CIA and ATA  have a reciprocal membership discount. ATA members get a 10% discount. Please email Mary Lane for the discount code.

Shipping, Far and Wide

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

Barbara Burns

Lessons Learned

The first time I ever shipped a tapestry overseas was in 2006. I have to tell you it was with a bit of trepidation. I didn’t know if I would ever see my work again. I thought it was going to be expensive and was concerned about it getting through customs and back again. All these years later I have shipped work almost a dozen times to  seven different countries on three continents. I’ve learned a few things that I can share.


One of my greatest and most expensive lessons relates to insurance. I shipped a tapestry to Serbia. I made the mistake of insuring it for the retail price. When I heard the cost of the shipping I almost fell over, but I paid it. Aside from the obvious issue of cost, I should have done one of two things:

1. Insure for the wholesale cost.


2. Go with the minimum insurance that comes with the shipping price.

You would only get the wholesale price if you sold the work, so why insure for retail? (See Methods Of Pricing). The second option: Go with the minimum insurance is what I now do. I have been told that when you insure for a large sum of money it is like a red flag to customs.  I have had venues specifically say not to insure. They believe that this helps work move more smoothly through customs. I know it is a risk and I am willing to take it. If you are not, use option #1 or insure for what you are willing to take if your work is lost.


Pay attention to holidays. I recently shipped a tapestry to the Ukraine around Easter time. I paid for 3-5 day shipping, but because of a long Easter holiday in the Ukraine it wasn’t received for two weeks. I should have either shipped sooner or not wasted my money on the faster arrival. I would have known about the holiday delay if I had thought to ask the venue how it affected them before I shipped my work or looked it up online. You can actually find a holiday calendar for most countries.


I store my work in muslin bags that I make for each piece. On the bag, written in indelible marker, is the title of the piece and my name. When I ship work I place the piece, which is in the muslin bag, into a plastic bag that is then sealed. I use paper packing to stuff in the box and keep work from moving around. I also place packing paper top and bottom to pad the work on the ends. I make sure the box is larger than the tapestry so I can pad on all sides. Don’t use peanuts! Everyone hates them and customs may not put them back which leaves your work unprotected. 

I use heavy cardboard boxes since work is shipped two times, there and back. I don’t recommend tubes. I once used a tube for a piece that was shipped to the UK. When it was returned the tube had obviously been opened, in customs I imagine. The plastic cap ends were missing and in their place was cellophane tape. I know that a small item I should have received was missing. At least with a box, the ends are integral with the rest of the package, so no lost caps. FedEx has a triangular box that is good for rolled tapestries.


Often the venue you are shipping to will send you detailed instructions regarding shipping and labeling. Sometimes they specify the carrier you should or should not use. One thing I have seen a few times is to write: “RETURNING TO ORIGINATOR” or something similar on the outside of the package. This is for customs. Some countries will try to charge a VAT tax. The happened to me once when I didn’t write: “RETURNING TO ORIGINATOR” on my box. The UK wanted to charge me VAT tax. Fortunately I shipped with FedEx and they handled the problem for me.

Return payment 

I have seen this go two ways. I shipped a piece to the Ukraine from the US. The venue specified using the US post office to ship. They gave me the pricing for different weights and I just had to weigh my box and buy the return label. Then, by the instructions of the venue I wired them the money for the return shipping. Unfortunately, this is an expensive way to go. My bank charged $40 US for the wire. 

If you can use FedEx or your local postal service you just pay the return shipping up front and put the label in the box. If you have an account with them, it is even easier. Again, the venue will tell you what you should do. Always follow their instructions to the letter.


Make sure you have a tracking number and keep it safe until you have confirmation from the venue that the package arrived.

You do occasionally hear about someone who has lost work but I believe this is quite rare.

For more detailed information the website Art Business Info For Artists is an excellent resource put together by an artist.

Social Media: Has It Been Worth It?

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

Barbara Burns

I thought it would be interesting to have a place to write about my personal experiences with marketing and promoting my work. I’ll add to this as time goes by so you can follow along with my progress with selling my work.

September 2016: After an unsuccessful summer season trying to sell my tapestries in galleries I decided to take a class about using social media. I learned about Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram. I already had a webpage so I did have an online presence. Why do more?

I want to sell my tapestries. My work has been in numerous exhibits where I live, in Maine as well as internationally. I had three solo or joint shows in Maine over the summer of 2016. I sold nothing in those shows! Why? There are several factors I considered. Price, the work itself and market.

Beginning with price, if I go to low I’m not just hurting myself, but I’m hurting my fellow weavers by undercutting them. Low prices can be a problem in other ways. I was told a story about an artist who had a show of his work. A woman came into the gallery and wanted to purchase one of his pieces. The price tag said $1000. The artist realized there was a typo, the correct price, he said was $100. The woman left the gallery without purchasing the piece. She wanted an expensive piece of art and at $100 the work was devalued and she didn’t want it. I’m still trying to figure out my prices.  Once I do I will post them on my website.

The next element I considered is the work. My tapestries are figurative. I was told by a respected gallerists portraits are harder to sell.  I once tried to weave a landscape and ended up with a portrait. I’m not inclined to change what I weave just to make sales.

Market, now that I can do something about, but how do I get my work in front of buyers? Not just any buyer though, I need people who are interested in my medium and my subject. My work has been in exhibits in many places including the US,  Europe, the UK and Australia, but have sold very little. Why? Well, some shows the work isn’t for sale and others, I don’t know. What I do know is that all the people who have bought my work have been women between about 50 and 75 who have experience in fiber in some way, weaving, spinning, knitting, seriously or for enjoyment. How do I get to that audience? That’s where social media comes in.

So now it’s a year later and I’m looking back wondering if it was worth the effort to invest all this time into social media. I have two Facebook pages, business and personal (FaceBook requires a personal page to open a business page), a LinkedIn page, Instagram and now this blog.  What results can I see? As of today I have 206 Instagram followers, 193 connections in LinkedIn and 742 FaceBook friends.and growing. I only use these resources for “business” and try to be friendly and positive.  My plan with these tools was to get a wider, broader reach out into the world for my tapestries. How have I benefitted from this? I’m part of a very large, international community of tapestry weavers, something I value and my name is becoming known. I have even pushed outside the circle of tapestry to other fiber oriented people. Just in the last week I have been asked by two different places to teach tapestry. Vavstuga, a Swedish weaving school in Massachusetts has booked me to teach a beginning tapestry class in June and I was asked to teach a master class in the UK! I believe neither of these opportunities would have come my way without my postings about workshops I’m teaching elsewhere. I love teaching but my goal is to sell my work. I see this as the beginning of things to come. I hope I’m right.

I haven’t sold anything using social media yet, but I haven’t tried either. I have heard of people selling art on Facebook and Instagram. I’m planning to try one or both venues. As I make my way into this maze I’ll keep you posted with my results. My conundrum though is whether to look for a gallery while I’m exploring online sales. One of the problems with the galleries that I’ve experienced is they didn’t know anything about tapestry. Who best to speak about your own work but the artist. Which leads me to the idea of doing craft shows, a subject for another time. I just did a video interview with Sara Warren, a veteran of craft shows with a good track record of sales. Watch for that video. Sara was very informative and I learned a lot from speaking with her.

Until next time,  Barbara Burns

Links & Resources

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017


Table of Contents

Click on any subheading in the Table of Contents to move to that section. Use the “return to top of page” to return to the Table of Contents.

Artist Interviews Artist Services
Blogs Books
Exhibitions Grants & Funding
Jobs Miscellaneous
Exhibitions & Call for Entries Prints
Social Media
Studio Listings Writing Resources & Grammer

Artist Interviews

Interviews from Yale University Radio WYBCX

Zone One Artist Interviews

Art Link interview with entrepreneur Wendy Rosen

Artist Services

Center for Emerging Visual Artists
Artist Services Philadelphia, USA

Art Insight

How’s My Dealing? 2.0 is a  website where artists can review galleries, art fairs, and mail scams that take advantage of artists by charging them or being an outright rip-off.

Art Specifier’s mission is to link artists, designer, architects, art professionals and art lovers worldwide.

Craft Emergency Relief Fund  CERF+ was started by artists for artists in the craft community as a grassroots mutual aid effort in 1985 and has since emerged as the leading nonprofit organization that uniquely focuses on safeguarding artists’ livelihoods nationwide.

Fractured Atlas An organization that assists artists on many levels including business insurance, online rental market place and free online software.


Arts Business Institute has workshops, online courses, personalized business consulting for artists, a Facebook and Twitter presence as well as a blog. I took a series of short workshops with them and had a personal consultation. I found both very useful.

Fiber Art Now is an online and real life magazine for fiber art.

Praxis Center For Aesthetic Studies  has professional resources for the artist.

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The Art World Demystified: How Artists Define and Achieve Their Goals    Carey, Allworth press (April 2016) Available on Amazon

Mountain Man’s Field Guide to Grammar, Gary Spina Sourcebooks Inc ISBN -13:978-1-4022-0740-2

Business of Art

New York Foundation For The Arts


ArtistHotline resource guide  Handy resources for common artist issues

Arts Entrepreneurship

Art Find a Gallery or Artist Agent or Representative to Sell Your Art or Maybe Sell it Yourself
The Auspicious Arts Incubator is a not-for-profit arts business incubator working to help artists make money from their art

Marketing Offline  Drives traffic to an artist’s art website and help to create new art opportunities. Overall, offline marketing helps to make art sales and to brand the artist and their artwork.

Praxis Center For Aesthetic Studies Is has an online course of study for marketing and promotion.

Marketing Guides

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The Art In Embassies Program (AIEP) is a public-private partnership that promotes cultural diplomacy through exhibitions, permanent collections, site-specific commissions and two-way artist exchanges in more than 200 U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world. You can join the Registry.

Art Net News is the leading online resource for the international art market, and the destination to buy, sell, and research art online. Founded in 1989 with the goal of bringing transparency to the art world, artnet’s comprehensive suite of products offers a variety of art market resources to our audience of collectors, dealers, and art enthusiasts. is an art market knowledge company providing insights, data, and access to contemporary art collectors.The Larry’s List Art Collector Database contains over 3,500 profiles of art collectors from more than 70 countries

Sebastopol Center for the Arts  exhibition possibilities

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Grants and Funding

Art News Tips And Resources

Complete Guide to 2019 Artist Grants & Opportunities

GrantSpace  FAQs about Grants

The Harpo Foundation  was established in 2006 to support emerging visual artists. The foundation seeks to stimulate creative inquiry and to encourage new modes of thinking about art. We view the definitions of art and artist to be open-ended and expansive.

Mayer Foundation
Emergency Funding

Puffin Foundation
Socially Conscious


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New York Foundation For the Arts Opportunities Listings

The Art Newspaper

Art Jobs


Art Search

Arts for LA
Los Angeles CA

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Friends of Fiber Art Friends of Fiber Art tells the world that fiber art is the collectible of the 21st century and helps you find it. They facilitate opportunities and programs for the education of potential collectors.

How Do You Define Artist, Huffington Post.

Global Gallery Guide

e-artnow  is an electronic information service distributing selected e-mail announcements related to contemporary visual arts. e-artnow is an artists’ initiative founded in january 2008 in Prague, Czech Republic. We provide an independent and competitive alternative to the existing electronic e-mail art news distribution with a Do It Yourself philosophy – You create your own announcement online: we send it out. We send out your exclusive e-mail announcement on the date you wish + we include you in our weekly Opening Reminder e-mail announcement.

Talking About Your Art

How to sell at craft fairs


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Worldwide Residency Search

Res Artis
Worldwide Residency Search

New York Residencies

Artist Residency Program New York
Lectures, Field Trips

Residency Unlimited
Custom Residencies

Community Arts Partnership
Grants, Workshops, Resources

Midwest US Residencies

Rural, Communal

Grant Wood Art Colony
Exclusive Fellowships


Central European Residencies

Akademie Schloss Solitude
All Artists and Scholars Residencies

Goethe Institut
Germany and Czech Republic

Netherlands Residencies

Van Eyck
Multidisciplinary Institute


Textile Art Residency Program in INDIA, 2017.
“Link: The never ending Thread”
01/10/2017 – 29/11/2017 (60 days)

Latin America Residencies

Itinerant Collective Residencies Argentina

Socially Conscious Residencies Mexico

Jiwar Creation and Society
Urban Inspiration Barcelona Residencies

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Exhibitions & Call for Entries

Call for…..
Worldwide Open Calls

Art Rabbit
International Art Exhibitions & Events

Biennial Directory  Listings of international biennials

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BSL Digital Imaging
Giclee Prints

McNally Jackson Books
Print and Publishing Services

Social Media

Do you know how to use social media for promotion?

How Instagram is changing the art world.

How to boost Instagram followers.

Studio Listings

Assets for Artists
Boston MA

De Ateliers
Emerging Artists Welcome Studios

Multidisciplinary Institute Studios

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Website Info

Ten Mistakes To Avoid For A Good Artist Website

Writing Resources/Grammar

33 Commonly misunderstood words and phrases

Grammar Girls:  Quick and Dirty Tips

Hemmingway Editor
An online tool that can help you keep your writing from getting too complex. $20 US