As an artist, I am, on a very regular basis, asked to donate artwork. Everyone, but the artist, thinks this is a great idea. In the beginning, I donated to every organization that asked. I thought it would give me good exposure—free advertising. But that is the WRONG reason to donate.
In reality, most of the time, donating art work just left me feeling used. Someone would acquire my work at a dirt cheap rate.
Once, I donated a pair of Artful Oven Mitts to an auction. I attend the event only to find out that they didn’t even auction them. They sold the pair for 15 dollars! It hurts when you find out that something you lovingly crafted went for pennies on the dollar.
Once, a pair of my oven mitts went for almost 300 dollars in a live auction. Now, that is a crowd that likes my work.
Which organization do you think I am still donating too? The Wrangell Mountains Center regular receives hand crafted items from me. I feel good knowing that my work is supported, and I am raising money for the organization. Lately, the WMC has been getting the last of my ArctiCouture sweaters. Remember when I was going to be a sweater designer? What was I thinking?
It is for the above reasons that I donate my artwork only to organizations where I know bidders value and appreciate my work. In addition, I like to have a personal relationship with the organization—love should flow both ways. That is what makes donating art to an organization feel right.
This past week, I packed up two little quilts for auction.
The first is ZIG. This small piece was part of my solo show Hot Crossed Squares at the Gary L. Freeburg Gallery in Soldotna, Alaska.
It is 9 inches by 9 inches and will be raffled off as part of Quilts for Art: Small Quilts Raffle.
The funds raised will be used to support the Schweinfurth Art Center’s ongoing exhibitions and programs including Quilts=Art=Quilts. I have exhibited in QAQ. In fact, TRIBE will be part of this year’s exhibition.
Additionally next summer, I will be teaching at Quilting By the Lake which is a Schweinfurth Art Center program. You can see the complete rooster of amazing teachers by clicking here. I will be teaching during Session #1 Abstraction through Color, Pattern, and Repetition (Monday and Tuesday July 17 & 18) and Making Prints Out of Solids (Wednesday Through Friday July 19, 20, & 21).
I also donated a small quilt to 2016 International Quilt Association Silent Auction. The quilt is called Hopscotch and measures 13 inches by 13 inches.
It was also part of the Hot Crossed Squares show which will forever in my mind be known as the show where I got my name in lights.
This IQA auction is a fun live event held during the International Quilt Festival.
My favorite art quilt auction event is the SAQA Benefit Auction. Members are encouraged to donate small 12 inch by 12 inch art quilts.
For three glorious weeks, these quilts are part of a reverse auction. The event started yesterday with Diamond Day bidding – an early bird opportunity to purchase ANY quilt for $1,000.
After that, for the next three Mondays, a different selection of quilts will be available for bidding, starting at $750. Every couple of days, the price is lowered. You decide—bid now and get the quilt or wait until the price is lowered and maybe not get the quilt. It is a difficult decision.
This year, 437 artists donated work.
I am a collector—I have 24 pieces in my collection. I love to visit the auction and follow the links to each artist’s website. I particularly like discovering a new artist. But I am also a fan of collecting famous artist’s work too. You can read about my collection here and here.
This year I donated Habanero Mini to the SAQA Benefit Auction.
Yesterday, I got an email from Martha Sielman, the Executive Director of SAQA, letting me know that Habanero had sold for $1,000 as part of the Diamond Day Bidding! WOW. Talk about a whole lot of good feelings for a variety of reasons—I just helped raise money for SAQA and a collector likes my work enough to pay good money for it.
After years of donating art and feeling ambivalent about it, I think I have figured it out. Donate in a meaningful way, and we all get to feel good.
Don’t forget. Regular bidding on the SAQA auction quilts starts Monday 2PM Eastern time. You do not have to be a SAQA member to bid. If you want the details on being a bidding pro click here.
PS If you like those artful oven mitts, you can learn how to make them at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas this year. The class is scheduled for Thursday, November 3, 2016 9AM-NOON. The course number is #453 and the name of the class is Artful Oven Mitts. I even supply the cool vintage fabric to make the mitts!