Thursday, November 5, 2009


It was more than 70 degrees in Denver today and the snow is melting. What unusual weather they have here!

DH and I went to several art galleries today in the Santa Fe Art District and in the Museum District.

One of the high-profile galleries is owned and run by an astute woman and we fell into conversation about fiber art. She said one of the most-attended and publicized exhibits they ever had was a fiber-art exhibit about two years ago. Convergence, the international weavers association convention was in town and they coordinated an exhibit at the gallery.

The gallery is in a fabulous building and has well-known client all around Denver and beyond. The exhibit was covered by all three art critics in Denver and by magazines and news organizations as far away as Sweden.

Sadly, they sold only one piece during that exhibit! What is the deal? Fiber art is just as time-consuming as painted art, in some cases more time consuming. Fiber art requires just as much skill, design sense, vision, command of technique and materials but is considered a craft, rather than an artform.

This is no surprise to me, or to most art quilters for that matter. I was pleased the gallery owner/manager had the vision. Maybe we're making progress! What do YOU think?

7 comments:

Heidi said...

Beth,
Interesting topic. There's a local framing shop in my area that opened its walls for a frequently-changing art show. The most popular show featured an art quilter. As far as I know, she sold most of the pieces - far better than any other show, I think. Her prices were too low, but I think she would have sold out even with higher prices. So go figure... Heidi

Beth Wheeler said...

One of my galleries has hinted that I should lower the prices on my Threadography pieces to less than the cost of my materials. Isn't gonna happen! How disrespectful to other fiberartists! I can't do that!

Connie Rose said...

Yes, DON'T lower your prices. Selling quilts and other fiber art requires educating the general public, I believe. Most folks still think "beds" when they see anything quilted, large OR small. I have people ask me frequently whether I'll sew my 10x10" weekly quilts together to make a bed quilt!

margaret said...

Part of a gallery's remit is to educate their customers - so having lots of interest in the show is no bad thing (all those media stories! great publicity for the gallery!). So, having just one sale isn't the entire story and it's to be hoped that the next time there's a fibre show, the gallery's audience will be that much more ready to buy.

Lisa Flowers Ross said...

Do you think wrapping the fiber art on canvas stretchers or put in a frame would make it seem more like art?

I think sales are only one aspect of the success of the show (of course that is what the gallery and artist would like). But it sounds like the fiber art show in Denver was a success with lots of attendance and publicity. It can only help later on.

The Idaho Beauty said...

I recently exhibited with a group of artists, all painters except for me and another art quilter. We both had work that was framed and unframed, obviously "quilting" and others not. We got incredibly positive feedback from those attending the opening reception, yet over a 2-1/2 month period, none of our work sold. I purposely included works of various prices and sizes. People just weren't buying, not even the paintings.

I've given up trying to figure out what the magic formula is.

Nancy said...

My dh and I were in a fiber friendly gallery in Scottsdale last year. The owner commented that quilters love to see the quilts in her shop, but that mostly they are not collectors like other artists are. Found it surprising, since I own a dozen pieces from other quilters, but then I have bought them directly not through a gallery. Sadly, the gallery has since closed due to the economy. Nancy