Little bit of everything...(long)

Hi Folks,

Rather than replying to several pieces of mail, I thought I’d try
and roll it all into one. Topics include Dave’s Koil Kutter,
digital vs. conventional photography and internet based galleries.

First, in case you haven’t picked up on it and are still
wondering, Dave Arens’ Koil Kutter is available directly from
Dave, who is on this list. I replied privately to a couple
people, but wanted to make sure nobody who was asking hadn’t
heard. His email address is: GEMSTONES_ETC@CompuServe.COM. This
is not a paid advertisement… I am little more than a satisfied

I broke down a few months ago and bought a Sony digital camera,
which saves JPG files directly to a floppy disk. I’ve been
pleased with it, but I’m still trying to get used to it. Ideally,
I’d still prefer to have a nice 35mm photo to scan or, even
better, slides and a slide scanner.

I think the scanned images give a better overall image, but it
also depends on your intentions. If your images will be viewed on
a Web site, or some other electronic medium, the difference in
image quality may be minimal. If you are planning to do
postcards, print advertising, etc., the difference may be glaring.
I am not referring to the high-end several thousand dollar
digital cameras.

If you want to know more or ask me specific questions, feel free
to email me offline.

Okay… Web based galleries. I’m not an authority, as I’m still
working these things out myself. If you visit my site, you’ll see
that it’s titled Carolina Artisans’ Gallery. Oddly enough, I am
the only artisan in it, and I feel a little silly. 20

I think the concept of a gallery is excellent. I believe the
proper balance of artisans can develop a “critical mass”, and
assuming all the other factors are right, can have a great
(commercially successful) gallery. I have a limited geographic
scope on my site that I feel will add to the marketability of the
site, although it also limits prospective gallery participants. If
you want to read more about my “vision” for a Web based gallery,
visit my “Join Us” page on my Web site. I share my whole thought
process on how I arrived at this point.

Here’s the downside: I’ve made a significant investment and pay
close to $100/mo. in to my ISP, and I feel like lone visionary.
I’ve talked to a number of artisans of varying disciplines and
levels of development. Enthusiasm and feedback has been positive,
yet I’m still out there by myself.

Some of the more advanced artisans want their own Web site, which
is a legitimate objection. I’ve indicated a willingness to work
on terms of the relationship, but nobody has really objected to
any of the terms I’ve proposed.

What I have been proposing is no setup charges at all. All the
development and image manipulation necessary for $25/mo., and a
10% surcharge on sales. That covers credit card charges and
administrative labor. The only way I end up not losing money (on
the labor end) is if they stick around for a while, and that would
be dependent on results.

Even though its never been spoken, I suspect people balk at the
$25/mo. price, even though I don’t ask for a time commitment. On
one hand I think that if someone isn’t willing to invest $25/mo.
they aren’t very committed to expanding their marketing. On the
other hand I can respect their need to see it work before they
“sign on”.

So, I find myself in a “Catch-22” situation. I have considered
waiving the $25/mo. charge, and increasing the sales surcharge to
15 or 20%. Still has advantages (for the artisan) to consignment
in a conventional gallery, but the only one taking any risk is me.
I stand to lose a great deal on labor if things don’t fly.

One of the problems I find is that artisans at my level of
development are tough to track down. I know they’re out there,
but how do you find them? We tend to be hiding out in our studios
rather than out “networking” or doing shows. The only other
aspect I think I miscalculated is the time involved in recruiting
for the gallery. I thought it would kind of “fall into place” but
it’s been a challenge. I have to weigh the value of spending time
on that recruiting effort vs. time in my own studio, which is
scarce enough.

After 6-8 months of on-and-off struggling, I am now trying to
decide whether to scrap the gallery concept and feature only my
own work or whether to recommit myself to my original vision of
the gallery concept, and invest more effort in the recruiting. 20
As side notes, I also have a commercial Web development client and
they are also fairly demanding of my time
( I have just received my copy of
FrontPage98 and will be overhauling the “look and feel” of my Web
site in the next couple weeks. Stop back by for a visit.

Questions, comments?


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC (USA)