Tuesday, February 17, 2009


The last couple of posts about my large handmade paper houses are a good lead into how to exhibit your work. I'm certainly not an expert in this department but I have exhibited locally in group shows as well as in individual shows. I was the Exhibition Coordinator for the Handmade Paper Guild of Southwest Michigan for several years and that helped tremendously in my knowledge of pulling together a good show.

Keep in the mind the exhibits I've done are the kind where the artist(s) does a good share of the work. I have yet to get my work into a big time gallery (know of any?!?) where they do your marketing and hang the show for you. There are certainly pluses to that situation, such as less effort on the part of the artist to get the show marketed and pulled together. But, you also might loose some control over how your work is presented.

Here are a few things that I've learned over the years about exhibiting:

Have good signage both inside and outside the venue. This is important for several reasons: It helps visitors find you. It helps people remember you. And, it looks professional.

Showcase your important work (the reason most people come to the show) but have a variety of other price points and sizes of work for people to look at and choose from.

In the case of this show, we had quite a bit of space to present work that related to the show but was smaller and less expensive. This show was at a small gallery and sales were really important to her so this approach worked. At other exhibits you might not have the opportunity to show smaller/less expensive pieces. And sometimes you may want to have the focus solely on the big stuff. Each exhibit will be different.

The gallery owner suggested that we have cards made of the focal pieces. That way, if someone wanted to remember the art but couldn't fork out for a big piece they at least had a memory of it on paper. This turned out to be a good idea. Our names are on the backs of the cards so we can be contacted, if desired, and we've continued to sell these cards in a pack of six long after the show came down.

This little blurb about exhibiting is just the tip of the iceberg. And, hanging a show could be an article in itself! Yikes! Anyway, I've written an article on the subject of exhibiting that I'd be glad to share. In return I would ask that you become a subscriber to my blog or add my link to your own website/blog. Also, if you have any tips for me, I'd love to learn more too.



Jennifer said...

I'm so glad you posted the photos. I had no concept of the size of your houses - they're big! The colors of your houses and Vicki's bowls really compliment each other. What are her bowls made from? Are they felt? Very cool.

Lorrie Grainger Abdo said...

Yep, even when I tell people that they are about 2 feet by 4 feet, it is still difficult to grasp the size. Everything in the pictures is made of handmade paper, including the bowls.

At two other exhibits we did not have all the "extra" stuff for sale and the look of the exhibit was much cleaner. I think it worked both ways. Either way, it sure was a ton of work!

Stone said...

Lorrie, once again, great work. What is the name of the House with the yellow roof and is this the same group of houses you had at a small gallery downtown about 3 years ago? I think it was at an engineering company or something like that. I may have to save up for that one.

Joanne Huffman said...

Lorrie, I'm always impressed with your organization and clear thinking - well written article; and it was fun to see your exhibit, since I missed it when it was up.


Akua Lezli Hope said...

I love the card idea! Brilliant and excellent! How might i buy some?
Did you print them yourselves or take them somewhere to be printed?

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