I have been working on transitioning more into being a textile artist lately which involved applying for an artist fellowship, putting a portfolio together, an artist statement, resume and thinking about pieces and project for a submission for a show. I have to admit that I have had to think differently depending on event or application (below an example of one portfolio). It’s been a good process so far.
I also need more exposure as an artist and not just as a quilter. So, I decided to apply to participate in the North Carolina Museum of Art’s largest fundraiser event – Monster Drawing Rally. The museum is not big like the MET or SFMOMA but it is prominent in North Carolina. I was so thrilled that my portfolio was well received and I was given one of the seventy-five spots to participate.
The fundraiser was a 3 hour event where there were 3 shifts of artists. Twenty-five in each. Each artist had 50 minutes to produce one or more pieces (up to 4), no bigger than 11 x 17 inches. All pieces were sold for $50 and were “raffled” off.
I did prepare for the event and narrowed things down to 3 designs, worked on measurements up front and made sure I packed all the fabric, small iron and sewing machine. And yes, I was going to produce a stitched piece (not quilted) in 50 mins.
I was asked to be on in the last hour (8-9pm) which allowed me time to get food and walk around and see other folks. The Meltdown food truck made the best sandwiches and we had a great view of NCMA’s Ann and Jim Goodnight Park while we waited.
Luckily, Nancy from @nancy_purvis, a friend and a veteran (she also participated last year) was at the event too. She helped calm my nerves a little before the event and we were at the same table. She was on the hour before me stitching with paper.
I was so nervous when my time came up. I set-up and got a good layout with the design on the left top, then below the cutting station, sewing machine in the middle and iron on the right. The pressure was amazing, I mean I have to produce something right there with people watching and asking questions. Immediate lessons learned….Bring marketing (business cards etc) so people can walk away with your details and have a way to reach you later, precut what you can and change out the blade of your rotary cutter.
I worked on a blue and white minimalist piece. I made sure I did not rush, as I wanted a good quality piece. I thought it turned out well. The only thing I did not like was once I stitched it to paper it dragged the fabric slightly. Next time, I would use interfacing before stitching to the backing paper.
Once the piece was finished, it was place in a bag with two dots (red and green…meaning green was still available and this was removed once sold, leaving just the red). It was then walked to the “auction area” and folks opted in and pulled raffle tickets…highest number won. Below were all the folks that were bidding on my piece. Friends (as I was still in the artist area) reported back like 8-10 people were bidding!!!
I was so thankful it sold straight away!! I was able to get a quick picture with me and the final pieces before leaving.
Below was the picture that is cataloged in the NCMA’s event. They sent out an image to every artist of all their pieces that were sold. I thought that was really nice. I think they will even connect you with the buyer once they get all the details collected.
I would definitely participate again next year as it was so much fun. It was great to see other artists. I hope my nerves are better the second time around as I would like to enjoy the other artists and the event more.