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ACC Chicago vs. Benicia Open Studios


#1

Hi, folks, Having just been off-line (broken computer) for a week and
off-list (too busy getting ready for Open Studios) for longer, I have
been frantically trying to catch up on reading all your wonderful
posts. I still haven’t, but the number of responses on this thread
amazed me.

Before Noel sent the original post, she had emailed me off-list
because I signed myself “Lisa from Benicia, where everyone is an
artist” (this was a joke about the earlier "who is an artist"
thread). I now realize that enough other people are probably lurking,
trying to discover the answer to the same question, that maybe I
should post a (slightly modified) version of the response I sent her.

Before I do, I will contrast my experience at Open Studios with hers
at ACC Chicago: I paid $70 to Arts Benicia (publicity, signs, keyed
maps, etc.) and got to be a “guest artist” in the local “live/work
area” for free–all amenities provided, including a faux-finished
room with a kidney-shaped, glass-topped display table and a desk
chair. Lots of lovely, appreciative people–not a moment to do any
work. My largest sale was $255 (with earrings to follow), but my
total take was only around $600 (although I generated a lot of
interest in custom work and had a lot of fun). If I had been a
"real" jeweler, I might have lost my shirt, but I do wirework and
probably covered the ridiculous amount I spent on supplies, most of
which I never used. My high-end necklace included ruby beads, plus
someone else’s gorgeous lampwork, and was purchased by a musician
(all my high-end necklaces–$175-255–have been purchased by local
artists of one kind or another). On the other hand, the one "real"
jeweler (BFA in metalsmithing, but also a PMC person) said she did
pretty well.

So…I’ll send the “Where is artist heaven?” post separately.

Lisa in Benicia
where the sun keeps peeking through the famous Bay area fog


#2

Lisa I have been reading your posts, and each time I do, a smile
spreads across my face. $600 is very admirable! At my first Open
Studios, I think I sold two pairs of earrings at $35 a piece, and
was elated.

In my office, here at home, there is a framed piece of paper that
hangs on the wall. I feel no more an artist after receiving that
piece of paper that I did before. Just because I have a BFA now,
doesn’t make me a better artist. I can talk the talk, but my art?
No.

If you have a chance to attend the upcoming SNAG conference in SF,
you should. It is a wonderful group of like minded metal artists
who get together once a year, listen to some great lectures and
slide presentations, eat, drink, talk shop, buy goodies from the
vendor room. If you can’t attend the whole conference, there is a
Professional Practices Workshop which is held on the 21st, in the
hotel from 2-6pm. It is a FREE event. A panel of excellent people
are involved, Andy Cooperman, Alan Revere, Don Friedlich and Boris
Bally. They will be giving a one hour slide presentation on their
involvement in business and as studio metalsmiths.

I will be there at this presentation and would love to meet you.

Good luck with your work.

-k
Karen Christians
M E T A L W E R X
10 Walnut St., Woburn MA 01801
Ph. 781 937 3532, Fx. 781 937 3955
http://www.metalwerx.com/
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio
Board Member for the Society of North American Goldsmiths