I know April is fast approaching, and that means I better have all my systems in place for the year. What you say? Aren’t you suppose to get your systems for the year ready in January, or even better in December of the previous year?
Yes, I suppose you are right, but it never seems to work that way for me. One of my life mottos is better late than never, and that is exactly the situation here.
I must also say that because I know this about myself, I actually create a calendar for the year that starts in January but ends in the following February. When you look at it that way, I am only a couple of weeks late.
At the time I original wrote this post, I was taking an online class with Lisa Call called Master Class. I really look at this class as an opportunity to have Lisa help me grow my business as an artist. One of the things Lisa stresses is getting your business systems in order. I’ve got a ways to go with a lot of things–like mailing lists and website updates, but I’ve got my show application system down.
I’ll save the discussion about why or why not you should enter juried shows for another day. Today is about the process not the reason why.
In 2007, I had a a quilt hanging in a local quilt shop. I had people tell me that they brought their friends to the shop to show them the quilt. This got me thinking–maybe people like looking at my work, maybe I should try and show my work outside the quilt shop. Oh to be so brave. It felt like the biggest leap ever, but I did it.
At first I only entered quilt shows, but as time went on I moved from quilt shows, to art quilt shows, to fiber shows, to fine art shows. I am currently focused on art quilt shows, solos and small group shows. As my work grew and changed so did the venues. No matter what type of shows you are interested in entering this system works really well.
When I explained this system to a friend, she shouted at me–You are so analog! Well, I am so analog I didn’t even know what that meant. Now, I know she was saying I am old school with the way I store data. According to research, 2002 was the last year analog data storage was the norm. I don’t know why, but I just like the old fashion pen and paper method for tracking things. I like looking at a physical object not a screen–although there is a computer component to this system. (Really, there is.)
I have two folders. One filled with show applications for the future and one with applications that have been accepted.
For each application, I use two sticky notes. One tells me the important information about the show, and the other lists quilts I think might be a good fit for the show.
Once I enter a show, I record this information on my show log for the year.
If I am rejected for a show, I then file the information in a notebook. Sometimes I write mean things on sticky notes about the show to make myself feel better. I don’t know why, but it seems to work.
If I get into a show, the paper work moves to the second folder where I have shipping information and all the paper work for active shows.
The next step is to put this information on my show scroll. I make one of these for each year (that is what I was doing today). Each quilt is color coded, and I can easily see how long a particular quilt will be gone to a particular show. This helps me to not double book a quilt.
Once a quilt comes back from a show, I then file that information in the notebook. I try to keep the notebook in chronological order so that I can easily find old information.
Now that most shows are entered electronically, I also have a file on my computer for submissions. I have one for each year. Each show gets its own folder with the information I submitted contained in the folder. Here is what 2016 looked like at one point. Once an application is rejected or accepted it goes into the accepted or rejected folder. This way things stay very neat and tidy.
Here is what the inside of folder looks like. If it is an important show it can have a lot of information, from artist statements to show reviews. I keep it all in the same folder.
Last year, I decided to create a set of perimeters for entering shows and then enter every show that fit those perimeters. It was a bit crazy, but I learned a lot about myself and the application process by doing so. I’ll share that information in a future post.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear any tips you have for entering and tracking shows. And if you like this subject you might want to read these other posts.
A Gambler’s Story–The numbers on acceptances and rejections for my earlier years.
The Year of the Show –this is the year I entered every show I could. Exhausting!
More Talk about Shows –I obviously can’t stop talking about shows.
Show Your Work–This is a list of shows I have entered in the past.
Thanks for sharing your process. This is an impressive way to handle lots of shows; I’m always looking up contracts in my e-mail to see when I’m getting work back to see if I can submit it to something else, so I like your calendar scroll.
I do use a computer program: Bento where I inventory all of my artwork. I can print out a list with thumbnails of each piece, it’s price, dimensions, where it was exhibited, etc. It has some advantages, but good old pen and paper does too; I need both.
Thanks for sharing your process. I am always reading old e-mails to find old contracts and when I will get a piece back from a gallery so I really like your calendar scrolls. I use a computer program, Bento, to inventory all of my work. It is nice because I can easily print out a list with a thumbnail picture, dimensions, media, price, exhibit history, etc. for a selection of pieces. Then I can write on that printed list and brainstorm.
Kristin- I’ve heard others say they use Bento. Maybe in a couple of years I will be ready! Thank you for stopping by.
Pingback: The Year of the Show | Maria Shell