Monday, May 02, 2005

More great galleries

My recent trip Southwards has added four more galleries to the list of those stocking my work. I recommend all these galleries not just because they sell my books, but because they are filled with gorgeous things created by many of New Zealand's most talented artists and craftspeople.
  • Wellingtonians can (from next week) buy my work at Pohutokawa Dreaming in Kelburn.
  • If you are driving through Taihape, see if the Hot Artz Gallery is open.
  • Waikato residents and visitors should check out the Heritage Gallery in Cambridge.
  • And last, but not least, my books are now on sale in Parnell, Auckland at the Textures Gallery.
(If none of these places are handy to you please check out my website to see photos of my books, to find out about my other galleries, or to email me for direct sales or commissions.)

People I meet often suggest all sorts of places for me to try selling my work but I am very choosy about where my books go. For a start, I sell through galleries rather than bookshops, because even though my work appeals to book lovers, it doesn't make sense to compete with mass produced 250 page books selling for about the same price as my handmade four page book, The Optimistic Heart.

I have become very swift at assessing whether I want to approach a gallery with my work. I check that everything they currently sell meets very high standards for craftmanship. I look for 'authored' crafts, that is handmade objects signed with the artist's name. And I want to be in the company of original New Zealand art that reflects and interprets the unique qualities of Aotearoa through a genuine artistic vision. When I find a place that meets these criteria and show my work to the buyer (who is usually the owner, as this kind of gallery is a passionate project) they are almost always enthusiastic about stocking my work.

In general my work is stocked as 'Sale or Return' which means I don't get paid until the gallery has sold a book. The risk is that the books won't sell, and will be returned to me soiled and worn from handling. The advantage is that galleries take a smaller commission and their retail prices can strike a balance between rewarding time and effort that goes into making each book and what customers are prepared to pay for a small and unfamiliar art object calling itself a book.

Marketing and selling artist's books is a challenge, and requires very different qualities than those needed for creation and production. But I think of the business side as just a way for me to share my books with people who love them as much as I do.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Good to know that pohutakawa dreaming will be hosting these creations. I took with me to work today the Karori sanctuary book, the optimistic heart, and Summer solstice Houghton your work darling