The most single asked question by customers is –How long did this take you to make this?
I am always hesitant as to how to answer, my first thoughts are -Are they questioning the price? Are they trying to figure out how much money I am earning? What business is it of theirs? Are they trying to find out if it is hand made or mass produce? Do they think it is too expensive?
Regardless of the reasons, I do not like to discus the subject; sometimes I would joke by saying, three years of studies, 50 yeas of experience, and I am not sure how long in the workshop.
The truth is, I am a qualified teacher, and I gave up Teaching to produce art, so there is noway I should be earning less than a teacher at retirement age,
Since I am creating art as a full time job, I have to be conscious of my earning capability, there is only one item that I find impossible to produce at my acceptable rate of pay, and that is Mugs; mugs are mass-produced everywhere, and I do not mass produce or slip cast from molds, each mug has to be hand-thrown, and most customers has amaximum price in mind when it comes to mugs; I definitely cannot meet that price; so I will only produce mugs as a commission at my acceptable price, and I prefer not to produce Mugs.
What is Market Value?
An artist should always see what other artists are charging for their comparable works of art, consideration should be given to reputation, experience and volume of sales, if sales are flourishing, a slight increase in prices is acceptable; but when there is a volume of finish work sitting in a storeroom, it is time for a revaluation, especially if you rely on your art for a living.
Examine what sells and what don’t, or experiment with new ideas, but whatever you do, do not undersell yourself, be sure to meet your bottom line as an acceptable hourly rate.
Cost of Materials and Overheads.
As a fulltime artist, you must figure in to your cost-Labor,+ materials + wear & tear on tools and equipment + overhead cost; including rent + utilities.
If you plan to wholesale any of your work, the challenge becomes greater, be assured any one purchasing from you wholesale will add on at least a 6o to 100% markup, depending on volume and price range, i00 % is the norm. If you plan to wholesale, your acceptable hourly rate should be at the wholesale prices.
Honesty is the best policy.
Do not sabotage your wholesale market; a young artist exhibited some of his painting in my gallery on a 35% commission; a customer walked in one day and asked if I can offer him a discount; I informed him I will ave to as the artist; the artist agreed to a 10% discount. the customer wanted a higher discount, which we both agreed to reject.
A few days later the artist came into the gallery and asked if he can borrow the painting, he will return it in a few days.
He came back with a different painting, unknown to him the purchaser had already returned to the gallery and boasted of getting a 35% discount from the artist himself.
I asked the artist to remove the rest of his paintings, and don’t ever come back.
Protect your wholesale buyers as much as possible.
Make sure your retail prices are competitive with your wholesalers, if you retail also; depending on locations, a 10 to 20% variation in price might be acceptable.
I must admit every now and again I will create one of my masterpieces that everybody love, and if I love it, you can guarantee many people will love it; this is when I will attach a special price, I have only been wrong once when a selected piece took more than 12 months to sell, maybe the special price is a little high, but I have no problem retiring it to my private collection.
Unless you are one of those lucky artists that the collectors have adopted, which means you work demands high prices and not lacking for sales, most artists have a Bread utter production, you will need it during tough times.
My Bread and Butter production are my touch forms; and has been since graduating from college in 1967; hearts have been the bulk of the production for the last 30 years, but I still favor my unique one of a kind hand sculptures as my touch forms.The post How To Make A Living As A Fulltime Artist first appeared on Devonish Art Gallery.]]>
A friend sent me a T Shirt with the above text after learning I had retired as CEO of the Devonish Art Gallery after 50+ years in operation in two different countries, Barbados and Anguilla; 18 years in Barbados and 22+ years in Anguilla.
I have never met a retired artist, so I happily edited the text to read –“I am retired, don’t ask me to do a damn thing except carving wood or throwing ceramic bowls”
During the last 5 years I was not only the CEO, but chief cook and bottle washer, managing a one man operation, which afforded me the time to manage 3 websites; during the times when there was no customers; since it was not possible to create either on the premise, unlike an experience in Canada where the ceramic studio was within sight of the showroom; wood carving is too messy and dusty.
In retirement, I am probably working longer hours than ever and thoroughly enjoying being able to focus on one activity only; fortunately there outlets to market my creations if and when the Covid virus affords us the opportunity. Our main economic activity is Tourism, which presents an overwhelming challenge. Covid 19 also presents a challenge with my new online gallery-courtneydevonishart.com. the only current shipping opportunities are via the expensive DHL, UPS or Federal Express as opposed to the affordable choice of the Post Office. There is no doubt that Covid 19 has changed life throughout the world; forcing us to think creatively. Since tourism is the best market vehicle for visual artists, the challenge is gigantic. God help us all.The post I am retired, don,t ask me to do dam thing first appeared on Devonish Art Gallery.]]>
The Devonish Art Gallery first opened its doors in Barbados in 1969, after residing in the UK for seven and a half years, the gallery moved to Anguilla in 1988, where Mr Devonish set up business after an OAS assignment for handicraft development with the Anguilla council of women.
The time has come for me to confine myself to the studios, ceramic and wood. Having just celebrated my 76th Birthday, I feel compelled to create, but nothing but create.
Currently my days start at 630am until 9 am in the studios, one or the other, prepare breakfast in time to reach the gallery for 10am until 4 or 5pm; unfortunately it is still dark at 6 in the morning and at 630 in the evenings, no inspiration for working, after sitting on the computer all day in between customers.
Fifty years in business is a long time worrying about numbers, it’s time to do what I love most, and that is creating. Unfortunately, there is no local market. the tourist market is fickle and seasonal; after 2008 it was not feasible to hire staff, so physically managing the gallery was left to wifey and myself, neither of us regarded it as a labor of love.
I can only hope for a successful working relationship with the new gallery owner as of 1st march 2020.
The website- devonishart.com will still be operational, featuring creations exclusive to the mortar and brick business in Anguilla.
I would like to thank all the many patrons from all over the world for their patronage over the past 50 years, and hope for their continued support for better things to come. God Bless
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https://devonishart.com/?p=9856The time has come for me to confine myself to the studios, ceramic and wood. Having just celebrated my 76th Birthday, I feel compelled to create, but …Time for the Old Man to Retire from Business first appeared on Devonish Art Gallery.]]>
When I published my exhibition at the Lakes supermarket- a first for me, some people asked tat I show some of te creations; I am fulfilling that promise.
Unfortunately the photos are from the unsold work, but still represent a cross section of the work that was on display.
As it was the Christmas season, the work was mainly small pieces that could be given as gifts.
If you are interested in any of the work from the exhibition, please email me devonisharte.com.
The post A Promise Kept first appeared on Devonish Art Gallery.]]>
During the latter half of 2019, most of my time was spent carving some of the most beautiful mahogany I have ever had the pleasure of carving. The wood was from the 300+ year old historic Anguilla tree, that carried a trunk of over six feet in diameter. If you can imagine a mental orgasm, well I had any carving that wood.
The work was for a local exhibition in the supermarket of the late owner and person who sold me the wood over 25 years ago, I really cannot remember the exact year, but I can remember the occasion, the crane that was doing the lifting of the trunk had to quickly remove the wood from the first truck that was hired to transport the wood, the springs went right down, causing the driver to panic.
A heavy-duty flat-bed truck was eventually contracted. The wood was already fairly cured, as the tree had fallen in 1971, I arrived in Anguilla in 1988. The wood sat in a foot container for years, before carving a few sculptures from the wood, one for the Social Security building, the largest sculpture, one as a gift from a former Governor as a gift to the local government for the House of assembly, another as a gift to the Father of the Nation, The 1967 revolution leader, and another to the late Albert Lake as a birthday gift, the businessman who sold me the wood.
One reason for hosting the exhibition in the Lakes super market was to introduce local residents to my work and to the wood from the old mahogany tree; very few locals visit the gallery, and may have seen my work in the two public places mentioned, or in one of the banks.
The exhibition was a moderate success, and could have been better had not for some unforeseen circumstances. First there was a staffing problem, the supermarket could not assign a staff member to manage the sales, and someone had to be present at all times; the business hours were 8am to 8pm which meant finding two to oversee the exhibition 6 days a week, I was able to find a very reliable young lady for 6 hours a day;another young lady did not work out except for 2 days, the exhibition was December 14 to 31; In the meantime I encountered some medical issues; my son was visiting from Canada and I had to spend some quality time with him as we explored the various beaches.
The work on display were mainly small gift items at affordable prices for locals and visitors alike, also bearing in mind the time of the year.
The gallery was still opened, my wife thankfully agreed to be in the gallery 6 days a week. A last minute commission kept me in the studio every day from 7am to i pm, Unfortunately the exhibition was covered with. Drapes for more the half the opening hours. It was a great idea, and locals appreciated the opportunity to see work from the old mahogany tree. The remaining work along with some new work is now on display in the Devonish Art Gallery.The post When Your Work Is Your Passion first appeared on Devonish Art Gallery.]]>
50 years as CEO of the Devonish Art Gallery is a long time, gone are the days when the gallery was managed by two staff members, and my presence was at my convenience.
Increase in salaries and availability of honest, reliable staff are hard to find, today myself and wifey are the only managers of the gallery.
Wifey is a beader and makes beautiful bracelets and necklaces; her desire is to stay home and produce.
As for me, my hair is turning gray and the years are adding up, my desire also is to create, rather than manage.
To be specific, we would both love to divest ourselves of the Art Gallery, and spend our remaining working years creating, rather than as managers and sales persons.
My dream is to keep the Devonish name alive, by finding retail outlets for our entire production, marketing our work on a consignment and wholesale basis, where we would not be responsible for any aspect of the financial ownership or management of the outlet.
The 50-year journey had its ups and downs, and spanned North America, Europe and the Caribbean. The journey started out with ceramics as the focus, but gradually changed to wood carving, and now bead jewelry by the wife.
International exhibitions featured heavily during the first 30 years, but stress from traveling now confines me to the little rock of Anguilla, the home of the Devonish Art Gallery for the past 31 years, The most lucrative years in its existence being 2005 to 2007.
Since 2007 we have experienced a steady decline in earnings, the contributing factors are too complicated to discuss at this time.
The highlights of the 50 years are the 2 exhibitions in Trinidad, one exhibition at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, one at Hartwick College, Oneonta, upstate NY and one at Gallery Caribe in Philadelphia, though no longer in existence, hold fond memories, I was transported from the Philadelphia airport by limousine and served champagne all the way to my destination.
I must include my final exhibition in Barbados at the Queens Park Gallery in 1969. a joint exhibition with a great fiber artist Rosylyn Watson. Incidentally both Roslyn Watson and myself has just been invited to host another exhibition at the said Queens Park Gallery in December 2020. May God spare both our lives to make the exhibition a reality.
During those fifty years, the three engagements as -Artist in Residences -were outstanding achievements, Lincoln University, Hartwick College and the Philadelphia clay studio.
It would be ungrateful of me not to mention some outstanding people who contributed to my journey during those 50 years, Professor Marcia Grassi, former marketing professor at Drexel University, Tom Morgan and Erna MacReynolds from Smith Barney, Oneonta NY, friend and fellow artist Roslyn Watson, and my dear wife Carrolle Perry Devonish.
My greatest carving experience so far is with wood from the historic 300+ year old Anguilla Mahogany tree, the most beautiful mahogany I have ever seen.I am in the process of carving the last of the wood.The post Time For A change first appeared on Devonish Art Gallery.]]>
It can be very profitable in years to come.
My history of formal art education did not begin until the age eighteen as a student teacher in the UK, in 1963; in spite of the fact that I came from a village well-known for its pottery, and a family name that is synonymous with pottery in Barbados.
The potters and their work was visible every day, but I cannot recall ever being taken to an art exhibition as a school activity.
I have to put the blame squarely on the Schools, its administration and its Teachers, for not fostering the appreciation art among our general population.
It took me 15 years in Barbados to find a creative way to introduce my art to the public, by thinking outside the box, and mounting an art exhibition in a leading department store, just next to the entrance of a popular restaurant.
The result was an unbelievable success in generating interest and also sales.
After 31 years in another Island, I feel compelled to repeat the exercise, In the 31 years we have seen few native residents, except for fundraising and the odd cocktail opening.
One often wonder why hardly any art students go on to be practicing artists, the atmosphere and foundation just isn’t there.
There hardly any field trips to artists studios or art exhibitions, Could it be the strong belief that art is only for the children who are not capable of academic achievements, is prevalent among the population, school administrators and teachers themselves.
I challenge them all to conduct a study to see which students have the most talent for art, and they will discover that they fall among the top 10 academic students in the school.
Any school that places the arts, music, visual and performing arts highly in the curriculum will also be among the top schools in academics.
Create a vibrant program for art knowledge and appreciation among the children to today, and the emerging artists will find a viable market for tomorrow.
Invite artists into the schools to share their work and experiences, take the children on field trips to exhibitions, teach art history, and one would find that many inventions to improve production in a particular discipline, were by practicing artists, not only artists but engineers; examples are Arbotech-wood-, Brent -ceramics- and others.
The upcoming Exhibition will be held for the first time in a supermarket-Lakes Market place, and will also be available on line; the aim is to expose the public to what I do for a living, and have done for the past 50 years, after resigning from a position as the first teacher of color, in an English County in 1969.The post Preview Of An Upcoming Exhibition 14 to 31December first appeared on Devonish Art Gallery.]]>
This incredible technology was started by two the two Danish brothers, Lars and Jens Eiltrup Rasmussen as a C++ A at Where Technologies.
Google acquired the company in October 2004, and converted it into a web application.
Google Maps was launched in February 2005, after acquiring two other companies, a geospatial data visualization company and a realtime trafficanalyzer.
Third party websites, Numerous countries around the world and other organizations benefited from an API that allows maps to be embedded on third party websites, along with a locator that allows Google map maker users to collaboratively expand and update the service’s mapping worldwide; this service was discontinued in2017.
Because the Crowdsourced contributions to Google m
Maps were not discontinued, the company was able to transfer the features o the Google Local Guides program.
For more information on the history and up to date information on Google Maps, go to Wikipedia.org/wiki/Google:Maps; a very interesting history indeed.
Today more than a billion people per day, and more than 5 million active apps and websites per week are using Google Maps
A Canadian gentleman walked into the gallery and inquired if the gallery was on Google Maps, I told him I was sure it was because my son had informed me it was out to sea somewhere off the west coast of Anguilla, so it was corrected.
He offered to put the entire Gallery on the map entrance and interior for a modest fee, then proceeded to show me an example of a job he had finished recently.
One should always be alert to Internet scams, not knowing much about Google Maps, I went on the Internet to find him, which I did after viewing several gentlemen with the identical name. I also posted a question on the domain name server’s platform, and received several warnings, to be careful, it could be fishy.
He was not fishy but definitely Legit; Within 3 days the photographing was completed and his partner in Canada placed the photos of the entire gallery on Google Maps.
I can even add new images to the gallery. This is the most incredible piece of technology that brings the gallery right in your face; from almost anywhere in the world with Internet service, You can visit the gallery any day, any time and inquire about anything in the gallery, whether it is on the website or not. This is the feature I love most, because many items in the gallery are not on the website, and If you are seeing the gallery for the first time, you know whether you will find what you are looking for in the gallery.
If you are planning on visiting Anguilla, visit us on Google Maps, -Devonish Art Gallery; then visit devonishishart.com and view your choices from our collection.The post Devonish Art Gallery is on Google Maps first appeared on Devonish Art Gallery.]]>
I have always thought the oldest known artifacts or tools were made of stone- dead wrong! The oldest known artifact in the world was made of wood. It is the wooden thrusting spear found in Schoningen, Germany, about 400.000 years ago, which according to my reckoning was prior to the stone age. The date has not been confirmed and there are still unanswered questions.
Thee spears were made to hunt animals from a safe distance, and are said to be equal to today s javelin. the spears were discovered in 1995 by Hartmut Thierme (The oldest stone tools is believed to be 3.3 million years old ( Smithsonian)
It is no surprise that the stone tools were found in Africa and if one follow the history it is evident that the African ancestors migrated through Europe.
World’s Oldest Artifacts
Wooden spear 400.000 year discovered in 1995 by Harmut Thieme in Schoningen, Germany. Three wooden spears were found along with stone tools. the spears are currently the oldest known wooden artifacts in the world.
Lomekwi Stone tools. 3.3 million years -Hand made stone tools found in West Turkana, Kenya; unearthed at lomekwi 3; an archaeological site in Kenya, once believed to be the oldest artifacts in the world
Oldowan Stone Tools-2.6 million year sold -hand made stone tools found in Gona, Ethiopia, up until 2015were believed to be the oldest stone tools ever found; the first Oldowon tools were discovered by paleoanthropoligist/archaeologist Louis Lekey in the 1930s.; the tools were around 1.8 million years.
Acheulean Stone Tools 1.76 million years old; hand made stone tools, including hand axes found spread across Africa, Asia and Europe, the oldest was found in Kenya
The hand axes are named after the St.Acheul archaeological site in France where the first tool were discovered in the late 1860s. the oldest hand axe was found in at the archaeological site Kokiselei4 in Kenya
Cave Paint Making Studio-100,000 years old-Paint making kits made of shells and assorted bones found in Blombos Cave, Western Cape, South Africa. they found evidence of the ability and technology to mix paints.
SKhul Cave Beads 100.000 years old; found in Skhul Cave in Israel thought to be the oldest pieces of jewelry created by humans. the shells were from the sea
Bone Flutes – bird bone and ivory 42.000 to 43.000 years old; scientists believe the bone flutes are the oldest musical instruments ever found in the world.
Skhul Cave Beads 1000.000 years old; found in Skhul Cave in Israel thought to be the oldest pieces of jewelry created by humans. the shells were from the sea
Ivory Sculpture Lowenmensch Figurine) (Lion-man of the Hohlenstein-Stade-35.000 t0 40.000 years old, found in the Hohlenstein-Stadel Cave, Swabian Jura, Germany, reported to be the oldest known piece off figurative art in the word I was first discovered in 1939 by geologist Ottp Volzing at the Hohlenstein- Stadel cave. World war two interrupted the research for 30 year Archaeologist Joachim continued the reconstruction when more fragments were discovered in 2009 the almost completed sculpture now sits in the Ulm Museum.when more fragments were discovered .
Ivory Sculpture -The Venus of Hole Fels. Between 40,000 and 35,000 year discovered in 2008 in the Hole Fels cave by an archaeologist team led by Nicholas J.Conard -Schelklingen Germany;
True or False; Questions ?
The Dropa Stones.sometimes called the Dzropa Stones 12,000 years; discovered in 1938 by an expedition led by archaeologist Dr. Chi PU in the Bajan- Karu – Ula in China, Nine inch diameter stone discs with a circle cut into the centers, and an obvious spiral grove composed of tiny hieroglyphics which revealed an amazing story of space ships, that crashed into the mountains, piloted by people who called themselves the Dropa.
ThIs was the conclusion of the Chinese researcher in charge, who went off in self-imposed exile in Japan. Russian researchers attempted to assist in further studies, but research was discontinued without an explanation. or it was not made public. (ZME Science.)
The London Hammer. Encased in a 400 million year old rock. Discovered between 1934 and 1936 by Max Han in London
Questions Questions, the hammer head was 96% iron, This predates the iron age. There are still unanswered answers and no confirmation.
Did the Tool get Stuck in an ancient rock by some scientific process?
Were there visitors from outer Space? Aliens on earth?
Did our African ancestors travel to Europe, and how?
Why were the Supposedly African artifacts found in Germany? What was the map of the world like in that period.?The post The Oldest Known Artifacts first appeared on Devonish Art Gallery.]]>
Stress Relievers/Touch forms
Worry stones/Fidget stones/Soothing stones/Sensory stones/Thumb stones/Prayer beads.
A visitor to my website likened my hand carved hearts to native American worry stones, which prompted me to do a little research, that helped me to understand the success of the hearts, and why the psychologist was presenting her patients with my glassy smooth hand carved hearts for cognitive behavior therapy.
The Value of Touch
Recent scientific research has discovered some incredible emotional and physical health benefits that come from touch; these studies dealt mostly with human touch, but my customers and recorded ancient customs have proven that it not only applies to the human touch ,but also touch forms, be it stone, ceramic, glass or other materials.
“Touch is far more essential than our other senses….it’s ten times stronger than verbal or emotional contact”–(Saul Schanberg)
“The more we learn about touch, the more we realize just how central it is to all aspects of lour lives-cognitive, emotional, developmental, behavioral- from womb into old age, it’s no surprise, that a single touch can affect us in multiple. Powerful ways” -(Maria Konnikova-The Power of Touch)
“Touch signals safety and trust, it soothes. Basic warm touch calms cardiovascular stress, it activates the body’s vagus nerve, which is intimately involved without compassionate response, and a simple touch can trigger release of oxytocin,aka “the love hormone”-(greatergood,berkley.edu)
Native American Worry Stones.
I must thank the visitor for inspiring this blog by him introducing the subject of the worry stones.
It is reported that native American Indians carried stones in their bag or pouch and than handed them down to the younger generation, in the belieef that the younger generation would have a link to their ancesters, who they can ash for help during tough times.
It was the ancestors who discovered the stones, by picking up a very sooth stone from the dust and started fiddling with it.
Touch forms were not limited to the native Indians, the Buddhist and Christion traditions also played with stone beads in the form of rosaries r prayer beads, whch are rubbed between the fingers during special prayers
In the principles of cognitive behavior therapy, worry stones helps to support meditation and self-soothing exercises. they also help to counteract negative comforting ha bits like picking at something on the skin, pulling the hair or biting lips or nails; (moonlightshop.com)
just as my toush forms- hearts -served in helping my fellow students to quit smoking.
Worry stones and tother touch forms, helps to release physical tension, ease worries and anxieties, as did the relaxing use of the hands, instead of reaching for that cigarette.
Only yesterday, a couple visited the gallery, and sternly instructed the two young girl children not to touch anything, as they were happily fondling the hearts that were on display; naturallly I informed them that it was ok to play with the hearts.
My 27 year old daughter and 32 year old son still travels with a doll or a blanket from their childhood. I know much older adults that stiil does the same.
There are many cultures ,especially in Arab culture that has some kind of touch form, be it a strand of material, a worry stone, a strand of beads, or even one of my handheld art forms, for the sole purpose of relieving stress and anxiety.
The post Healing Power of Touch Forms first appeared on Devonish Art Gallery.]]>