The biggest question I would ask a gallery, as a jewelry artist,
is what jewelry in their cases is selling best. This gives a
good indication of their market, or what work they are pushing.
More likely the former, rather than latter. Getting your work
into the gallery is relatively easy… getting it to move off
the shelves can be more challenging, especially on consignment.
In the galleries with which I’ve worked, I’ve never seen anyone
really attempt to “sell” anything, which is a disappointment.
It’s more like “if you see anything you like, let me know…” I
would rather see them talk about the pieces and artists,
encourage customer participation, etc. The approach seems to
"low key" that it’s almost non-sales. This observation makes me
think, from time-to-time, about opening a gallery/storefront.
I have a simple, plain English consignment agreement I have the
gallery sign. I hesitate to include the text due to legal
implications, as I’m not an attorney. Essentially, the elements
I wanted to include are that if a piece disappears from
inventory, for any reason, I will be paid. Second, if the piece
is damaged due to abuse or mishandling, I will be paid. It also
confirms that the relationship is mutually non-exclusive (I can
sell work elsewhere; they can carry other jewelry). I let the
gallery cover things like payment schedule, terms, etc. in their
agreement. I just want to cover the stuff to protect myself
that they normally agree to verbally, but don’t include in their
One piece of unsolicited advice: appear professional, even if
you don’t feel it. Wear your business person hat in dealing
with the galleries, rather than your artist hat. Of course,
shift into artist mode when talking about your pieces,
inspiration, artistic vision, etc. But shift back into
professional mode when talking business.
Hope this helps,
Charlotte, NC (USA)