Today's postings

  1. [Baren 40510] Editioning and ethics (Plannedscapes #
  2. [Baren 40511] Woden print (Marilynn Smith)
  3. [Baren 40512] RE: New Baren Digest (HTML) V50 #5117 (Jan 27, 2010) (Lee Churchill)
  4. [Baren 40513] Re: Editioning and ethics (Barbara Mason)
  5. [Baren 40514] Re: Editioning and ethics (Barbara Carr)
  6. [Baren 40515] Re: Editioning and ethics ("Maria Arango Diener")
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Message 1
From: Plannedscapes #
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 14:21:50 GMT
Subject: [Baren 40510] Editioning and ethics
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Since I have been called a liar and accused of sophistry via a private
email from a member, I would like to say one more thing regarding editioning:
When I spend hours carving a block, I am NOT going to limit myself to how
many I can print that first go at it. If I am unsure of its popularity, I
might print 20 and if I am more confident, 40. But the several days spend
designing and several more spent carving are only income to me when a print
sells, so I am not going to limit that to a tiny number. I want to price
my prints low enough so that people can take them home so I need the right
to print an edition that allows that.
Currently, I am using 100 as my limit. The edition number is the promise
that I will never print more than that, NOT the promise that I did print
more than that at the first sitting. That is how I practice editioning and
how most people in business as artists seem to practice it.
Since the practice of editioning seems to be less than a hundred years old
in the history of art, I think it is fair to say that it might be evolving
and it might be different for different media. In a limited edition of a
book they ARE all mechanically reproduced the first time, but then the
publisher may do a Second Edition and a Third Edition and so on, with no limit
to the number of eventual editions. Is there a lie there?
I am NOT going to invest 100 sheets of paper and that much more time to
print them all right away when I have no idea how many will sell. That would
be environmentally and fiscally irresponsible. Waste is not my thing and
not something I teach my kids. I am going to print the first few in the
edition and reserve the right to print the rest later. And since that IS a
common way to do it, that should not be news to my customers who do NOT ask.
If they do ask, they will be told exactly how I do it and how many were
actually printed and what the eventual limit is. They know what thr numbers
mean, both my what is common practice and by what I tell them.
The PURPOSE of editioning is to guarantee scarcity and to give the customer
an idea of what that scarcity is. My edition of 100 guarantees a scarcity
of no more than 100. They might get MORE scarcity than and probably will,
but why would it be called a lie for the edition limit to be an UPPER
LIMIT and not a specific existing maximum? Especially when common usage seems
to be that the 100 means "There will be no more than 100 (but there might
be less)."

One final point: If you are going to call someone a liar regarding a
point made via the forum, have the spine to do it via the forum and not via a
private email.
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Message 2
From: Marilynn Smith
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 14:27:03 GMT
Subject: [Baren 40511] Woden print
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Harry, I agree the offset adds to the print in this case. Good work,
thanks for sharing.
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Message 3
From: Lee Churchill
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 14:51:50 GMT
Subject: [Baren 40512] RE: New Baren Digest (HTML) V50 #5117 (Jan 27, 2010)
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Lol, Carol,
That is too funny! I find it so interesting how each 'job' gets so specialized
that they don't see the work of the others as being their problem... it came back
to bite curators here when a very large installation work collected by a previous curator
(who was unconcerned about materials) turned out to be a very unstable inkjet and when we went
to display it it had turned from black to magenta! If they had asked the conservators we would
have told them the potential problems with it! :)

>Lee, yes I understand about conservators.
>I also heard a curator, Diane Whye (who seems to move from museum to
>museum), answer a question about the materials used in art. It was at one of
>her lectures at the Print Exhibit in NY. She said that was not the job of
>curators to be concerned about materials. They send the works to the
>conservation department to take care of that..
>( Not for me to negate what any curator says,especially when my work is
>being acquired!. )
>Interesting, when certain of my art was being viewed at MOMA, I was asked
>to sit outside the room. I found out that the curator was describing the
>technique I used to the assistant and she was all wrong about it. If I had
>been asked I certainly would have told!.
>If anything can happen it will happen!
>Best to you

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Message 4
From: Barbara Mason
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 14:58:29 GMT
Subject: [Baren 40513] Re: Editioning and ethics
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I am sorry you got an unkind email. It happens and we never allow it on the list.
I certainly agree that all in an edition do not have to be printed at once....where would we store all that paper?
I rarely get to the end of my planned editions but consider it fair to warn the buyer there might be 20, even if I
only ever print 10. I have changed blocks so they are not the same as the first if I printed only 5 and
then changed it...the other 15 never happened and the second edition is a new edition. Usually I am cutting the block down,
I have decided to make it more focused. Once I did this with a mask and only printed one side.
As artists we are constantly changing our minds and our is one of the most exciting things
about being an artist, this new way of looking at the old thing and seeing greater possibilities.

Editions are so phony anyway...they all get mixed up so who knows which one was printed in what order...maybe
in a print for hire studio where they are keeping exact track as they have a lot of people to do this...but in
most artist studios they are moved around quite a bit before they are done if they have more than one color on the
paper. Even if they are not moved, prints are rejected and we don't leave a hole,
skipping from 27 to 31 if three are not up to snuff. That would be very odd to say the least. I do number my prints as
the market seems to demand it in Portland Oregon...but on the other hand, I print a lot of proofs that never get numbered
while I am working things out. I keep these, so I guess at some point they could be on the market. I asked my husband if he
thought my art would all be at the "goodwill store" after I died and he said the way our kids are not interested in it that
he thought it was just going into the garbage instead. So there you go, one persons treasure and so on.....hahahaha
My best to all
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Message 5
From: Barbara Carr
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 15:06:48 GMT
Subject: [Baren 40514] Re: Editioning and ethics
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Two more cents concerning this subject:
My goal is to make art and be honest with the viewing/buying public. That's
Barbara C
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Message 6
From: "Maria Arango Diener"
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2010 17:27:01 GMT
Subject: [Baren 40515] Re: Editioning and ethics
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And a bit of information for those who edition AND sell...

In 11 years of heavy selling, I have been able to completely sell out of 12
prints in editions from 38 to 64 for VERY popular prints.
In print editions of 100 I've sold out of 2 prints. Higher editions, such as
in engravings, of 200, I'm still selling. My highest number sold for ANY
edition is 124.
Other tid bits of info from my experience:
-The minimum time for one of my prints to sell out, even in editions as
small as 24, is about two years. This means you have to have drawer space no
matter if you sell fast or slow.
-The largest edition to completely sell out was 64.
-The smallest edition to sell out was 22.
-I have an edition of 18 printed in 1999 still with 6 remaining prints.
-I have an edition of 120 printed in 2000 with only 12 prints left; this
will be my new record for a sellout edition.

My selling venues include, in order of higher sales to lower sales, art
festivals (about 10/year average), online web direct sales, ebay store, Etsy
store, and "other" to include phone and gallery sales.
Needless to say, selling is a lot of damned work from which I am thankfully
taking a delightful break. I currently only have online sales through my
website, one surviving brave gallery, ebay store and auction sales (40% to
benefit Haiti currently), and the very cute but quiet Etsy shop. Sales
trickle in nicely, with "trickle" being the operative word.

So, my personal moral of the story is that, if I take sales into account to
edition, I pick a number between 30-100 that feels yummy and go for it,
printing the whole shebang at once.
If I don't take sales into account then I edition low as I can stand it and
completely at whim.

What I think might be "great sellers" sometimes turn out to be not so. What
I deem a bit "out there and perhaps not so good commercially" sometimes
brings buyers to my booth like honey brings flies. I also used to leave
prints unfinished and only print enough to have a good stock "on hand" but
going back to an older block and having to finish an old edition ranks about
as high on my list of things I enjoy as picking up dog poop in the rain (you
just don't know how bad THAT is until you've done it). When studying an old
print, I always feel like changing it anyway enough where I could create a
variant edition.

For the most part, I would MUCH rather spend my artistic energy and time
dedicate to creating a new and fresh image or trying to figure out a new way
to poke my blocks and yield different results.

Enjoy the ride!