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  #26  
Old 12-02-2019, 04:06 PM
Eric Trulson Eric Trulson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete VanderLaan View Post
What I do see currently that is different is that once upon a time, we took enormous amounts of time to finish pieces and it showed. I don't see a ton of that these days. Indeed the markets have changed.
I've seen this same trend across a lot of different shops/artists. Seems like the market has started to separate into high end pieces that are priced around $X,000-$X0,000 and can support a lot of time and effort in their finishing, and production work that gets priced around $X0 - $X00 and gets functionally no finishing past a quick flame-polish once it's off the pipe.
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  #27  
Old 12-02-2019, 05:01 PM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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Time is money, and if you know someone isn't going to pay for the time, then a smart artist finds an alternative. Personally I've kept two trends, if you're going to give me $1000+, I'm happy to polish. If you're paying less, I offer polishing services for $200 an hour, and I don't care if it's someone else's.
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  #28  
Old 12-02-2019, 06:11 PM
Art Freas Art Freas is online now
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Just because they don't want your stuff doesn't mean they don't want stuff.
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  #29  
Old 12-02-2019, 06:16 PM
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Increasing wealth inequality is going to exacerbate these issues.

People on the low-end of the spectrum are only going to buy small ticket items, and only once in a blue moon. If you want to make donuts you're going to have to make cheap ones that poor people can afford. If you want to sell gourmet doughnuts that will catch the attention of the high-class types you're gonna hafta make them better than anyone else. That will cost you.

If you wanna be a serious "glass artist" that runs with the big dogs you'd better start warming-up to the taste of one-percenter rectum.
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  #30  
Old 12-02-2019, 07:03 PM
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Pete VanderLaan Pete VanderLaan is offline
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well, you need "Big Dog" designs too. It's not just a matter of punching a clock.

I think that there's a separation of circumstances as well. When I was a kid, again there were about 125 of us and in the upper eschelon, the crowd was already elbowing the riff raff. The number who had recognition was about 20, not more and the pond was small.

I had an old prospectus of Harvey's that listed prices in his first show. The average price? About $60 dollars and he used to hand that out as a roadmap for how well he was doing for himself and Harvey always made money the focal point of success, something many of us found irritating. Dale had always told me that when his sales annually exceeded his salary at RISD, he would quit and at $17K, he did, right during the sales time of the blanket cylinders. I remember when we were down at his mom's in Tacoma and he swore he'd never make another one ( there were about 45) and we got this phone call from someone wanting three and would pay 2K. We were back in the car, booking it to Pilchuck. I pulled Tabac cane all day, and the pieces were cranked out and shipped. At the time, a huge amount of money.

So now? It's 9000 glass blowers, way less galleries and a material that has become common in the very worst sense of the term. Decoration? Frit and shards. There is no market to support this. I'm lucky to have lived when I did.
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  #31  
Old 12-02-2019, 09:41 PM
Tom Fuhrman Tom Fuhrman is offline
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It's the slam-bam-thank you mam generation and don't get in their way. You can tell by the way many of them drive. Darting in and out of lanes and pulling in where there is not even room for a car length without a person braking. Damn, it's getting fun to be old and criticize everything and not give a damn. I've found some of the very good stuff I have been selling though doesn't go to those in what we consider the American culture. Pete even found that to be true for his comics.
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  #32  
Old 12-03-2019, 08:37 AM
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Jeez Tom, you're headed for protecting your lawn.
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  #33  
Old 12-03-2019, 09:00 AM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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I'll stick with making work I want to make in between teaching, instead of hunting old money anus. Being able to fab non glass parts, plus custom installation helps too. The pedestal is dying, time to move to the wall.
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  #34  
Old 12-03-2019, 09:44 AM
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It is an issue with the sale of galleries or shops that don't have hot shops as well. For mystifying reasons, people like to buy successful businesses that have figured out the method for cracking their nut each month. They will consistently go out and look at new work that simply put fails to have the appeal that the existing stable had. Look at Seekers in Cambria, look at signature in Boston, or our own gallery in Santa Fe.

It however leaves out a key element. The previous owner wants to be paid and that cost, particularly if carried as debt will create one too many crunching burdens on the bottom line. We knew what our gallery was worth to us but it couldn't make the transition to supporting two different entities.

Start ups are usually sweat equities with years of marginal return before the owner figures it out. I don't think I can recall a single gallery or glass studio in the '70-'80's that changed hands either successfully or not. The only saving grace is again, owning the building.
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  #35  
Old 12-03-2019, 10:29 AM
Lawrence Duckworth Lawrence Duckworth is offline
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......multiple locations!👍
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  #36  
Old 12-03-2019, 01:05 PM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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So we're back to it being a game for trust fund babies. I can build the equipment, quality walled structures in desirable neighborhoods is something I can't fabricate. Or at least they might not appreciate it if I tried.
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  #37  
Old 12-03-2019, 01:18 PM
Tom Fuhrman Tom Fuhrman is offline
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Quote:
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Jeez Tom, you're headed for protecting your lawn.
getting rid of the lawn all together. nothing to protect and I don't care.
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  #38  
Old 12-03-2019, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Shawn Everette View Post
So we're back to it being a game for trust fund babies. I can build the equipment, quality walled structures in desirable neighborhoods is something I can't fabricate. Or at least they might not appreciate it if I tried.
****
See Eben Horton's fine video tutorial in how to start a studio.
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  #39  
Old 12-03-2019, 02:54 PM
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Looks like we're all heading for Murano pretty soon. (Yes, this is real.)

https://www.muranoseniorliving.com/
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  #40  
Old 12-03-2019, 03:18 PM
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No Doubt! I want the aerobic glassforming lessons with the fitbit!
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  #41  
Old 12-03-2019, 04:25 PM
John Riepma John Riepma is offline
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Well, I'm not a trust fund baby but I try to remind myself as often as i remember why I got into glassblowing. It was because it was fun, and my original goal was to get better at it and sell enough to justify keeping on doing it as long as I am able. I'm fortunate to be able to continue as long as I have and I still have fun at it. People always ask me what I like to make best and I tell them anything in glass - I just really enjoy the process and the challenge. I was fortunate to have a really good stable job for a solid company for many years and to be able to retire at 62.

I can tell you that although I enjoyed my job from the standpoint of being able to work on interesting projects and use my creative energies to solve problems and design and build machinery, I did not always enjoy the total work environment with all the mind-deadening meetings, budget wrangles, corporate politics etc. I think that it would have been much the same if glassblowing had been my job instead of my hobby. Much like people confusing their work with exercise as has been stated recently, trying to turn an enjoyable hobby or pastime into a job is often met with frustration. Many more fail at that transition than succeed.

Once you create a monster that needs to be fed every day before it eats you a lot of the fun goes out of it. IMHO I don't think that it's much different for Chihuly or any of the other big names at this point in time. Our process just lends itself to the creation of far too much product in too short a time. As my wife has told me numerous times "when the waterhole dries up the animals look at each other differently."
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  #42  
Old 12-03-2019, 08:52 PM
Tom Fuhrman Tom Fuhrman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Samuel View Post
Looks like we're all heading for Murano pretty soon. (Yes, this is real.)

https://www.muranoseniorliving.com/
Glassblowers could never afford to move to Murano. At least this Murano shouldn't have flooding problems.
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  #43  
Old 12-03-2019, 11:48 PM
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Glassblowers could never afford to move to Murano. At least this Murano shouldn't have flooding problems.
They'll just have to live in their cars.

https://www.nissanusa.com/vehicles/c...vs/murano.html
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  #44  
Old 12-04-2019, 09:39 AM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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I probably couldn't tell a young student, with a straight face, that they should get into glass as a career. At least not right now. The people I do encourage are my instructors, and they have already put in a significant amount of work, but I make sure they know it's a long haul operation. Anyone that's actually interested in doing glass long term I would tell to mirror John, get a decent job that pays and do glass for fun on the side. Try to "retire" early and you might be decent enough, and young enough, to pay the bills on your own studio. Luckily the demographics of our students are 50%+ retirement age, and most of the rest on the higher earning spectrum. I loved working in an academic setting, just felt bad telling people they were never going to make a job out of doing what they liked.

Last edited by Shawn Everette; 12-04-2019 at 09:45 AM.
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  #45  
Old 12-04-2019, 11:18 AM
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I had similar issues with Eveline when she came to me eight years back or close to it. She had invested 3/4 mil in a factory and wanted glass to be her second career after a mind boggling career managing the accounts for sixteen countries in Southeast Asia. . I worked with her on fundamentals but at 52, she was not going to become what she envisioned and I told her that, however, there was nothing stopping her from being a designer and I encouraged that. As to the investment, I concluded that it was not really an investment but a capitalization of the shop and it's not the same.

I would not encourage anyone at this point to seek glass as a wide ranging career but I continue to think that lighting is still a wide open field that undergos constant change and demand but I still view the opportunities to be excellent. These days? Eveline concentrates on big installations in public places, meeting centers and hotels. She's doing pretty well and has a lot to be proud of. Narcissus Quagliata was dead on when he said "Never let your Art be your Job."
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  #46  
Old 12-04-2019, 11:32 AM
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Many years before I got sucked into the glass thing I was just starting my educational path in the arts as a painting major. One of my first painting instructors advised us to not pursue art as a way to make money. There are always other ways to make money, he claimed.

That is true, however, if you have to hustle to get by you have to make sacrifices in other areas of your life to carve out time for your art/craft practice. I'm fortunate to be in a more stable financial situation. We also don't have children.
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  #47  
Old 12-04-2019, 12:07 PM
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I find this tread to be one of the most depressing ones on this board.... but it is reality. I started my own studio in 1985 and targeted a market that was under-served in the wholesale art community...that of a good-looking lower-end glass. It served me well over the years. I was able to sell a ton of work and raise two great kids (which included sending them to private schools and colleges) and live a pretty comfortable life. Even though my work is frit, shards, powders, and gasp, fuming, my approach worked and we are still up and running when so many studios have disappeared. The national economy, cheap imports, and changing buying habits have all contributed to the decline of the wholesale glass market. I am seeing the end of the line for my studio when I retire. I don't see anyone coming up with the money to buy me out. Luckily I invested in my building and that will be part of my retirement package. My kids don't want this business although my son has gone in to the arts as an art director in L.A. so he is a 3rd generation successful artist. When asked if he was going to take over my business, he said that his dad worked too hard. That is what it took, and now on the down-slope, it was a great ride!
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  #48  
Old 12-04-2019, 01:58 PM
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We could probably find tons of businesses that became DOA over time. Color separators in printing come to mind. It takes creativity to keep it running and I look to USPS for doing that. Road maps? Type setters? Linotype makers? Tons like it.

When this creative eruption started, we lived in a rather different world and actually, making money wasn't at the center of it but it certainly evolved that way. Once the perceived value of a piece of art made using glass went through the roof, we really started to see a lot of glassblowers enter the field and candidly the market can't possibly support 9000 glassmakers. Mark is right though, it has been a great ride.
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  #49  
Old 12-04-2019, 02:41 PM
John Riepma John Riepma is offline
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I talk to a lot of people who would like to learn to blow glass. When I engage them in conversation I find out that they'd like to learn to blow glass - this weekend. When I tell them that it's a lot longer road than that I'm generally met with disbelief. I try to explain that it takes a lot of bench hours to become proficient although there are always going to be exceptions to that rule, and quite a few see themselves as the exception to that rule because they're good at some other skill which is completely non-transferrable.

I hear a lot that "you make it look so easy" and I always respond that I still remember how to make it look difficult if anyone would like to see that. I tried to point a person to a studio about 45 miles from where he lived that has a large enough staff to offer regular classes. His response was "I'm not driving that far to do it!" and I told him "Well, Sparky, driving 45 miles is going to be the easiest thing that you ever do in glassblowing. After you're done with that it gets harder." He got pissed at me.

Just asking, but did anyone posting here get into glassblowing because of the great economic opportunity that it offered? I got into it just because it was incredibly fun and challenging, and I realized right away that it's a money pit. I've stuck with it for 26 years and it's still a lot of fun for me. I have outlasted two partners who decided to stop for various reasons and I've had to change the business model to much more blow-your-own workshops to cover having to pay all the costs by myself but I've learned to have fun with that too.

I'm really glad that this was never my job.
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  #50  
Old 12-04-2019, 03:45 PM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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Well I for one saw the potential for economic opportunity, made the mistake of finishing my degree in '07. Managed to get my stuff in with a Chicago collectors group, and when you're 22 selling $500 pieces life seems peachy. Then '08 happened and gears shifted dramatically. I knew I could torture my wrists moving to the west coast production hell, or pursue a grad degree. I chose the latter. By the time I was out everyone was hiring only adjuncts, but I had managed enough tech knowledge to be employable. Was roughly the same path for anyone from my cohort that is still in the material. Not a single one I know with their own retail based shop.
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