Working Smart: Design for Success
by Anne Nye
I was teaching a class at D&L
amazed by the amount of tips and tricks the students were throwing out
there. It just proves that we all know more than we think we know. And
I don’t know about you, but I need to figure out how to work smarter,
not harder. From designing to marketing, here are a few ideas I’ve
learned along the way.
Design For Success!
Sometimes it’s a case of art vs. function.
best done as a plate or bowl? Personally I’ve found plates need to be
very simple and more of a production piece unless you have a really
special technique that sets you apart from the many blown glass ones
Don’t Reinvent the
If you have a design that sells well, can
you do a
design in another form?
A table clock rather than wall art, but
portion of the design?
- Example: My 8" music plates sold well but
time for the price.
- I took a simpler version of the same
a 5 x
table piece. Saved both time and glass!
- A larger size of a similar design might
time and money. This 30" "Soundwave" piece creates a dramatic impact in
a gallery after being slumped on a custom mold I had made by a local
sheet metal company.
- Add another color for another version of
- Talk to your galleries or individual
what products are needed.
Stand Out From the
Do something different from what others in
doing. Custom molds, stands and shapes can help set you apart.
- Invest in a ring saw, creating a more
than the traditional circle or square can help you stand out.
- Try a long narrow vertical format for a
Time and Money.
Both have to be considered when pricing a
talk more in the future about the difficult task of pricing art but
here are some considerations:
- What size cuts out best? Can you change
little and save a lot of glass?
- Wall art: Wall art will usually bring a
the more functional plate or bowl. I suggest you purchase one of
Richard La Londe’s books and use his mounting methods. Then the only
real consideration is the size of the glass you’re using for a base.
What works best for a good cut?
- Table sculpture: You want a quality stand
and sturdy. It should support the design rather than interfere with it.
If a commercial stand doesn't suit your needs there are online
companies that will bid on the production of your own design. Or,
you might find a local welder that can make at least the prototype. (My
experience is that you want a production-type welder rather than an
artist for this.)
From Sketchbook To
draw when you can scan" was one of the mantras from my
graphic design days. Make thumbnail sketches 'till you feel like that
great idea in your head has "legs". Scan or photograph the sketch,
enlarging it to actual size in Photoshop or another computer graphic
application. Select and print out
page-size sections and tape it together. If you can see through the
glass, use a light table to put the design on the glass. If not, try
this: Rub the back of the printout with white or black chalk (depending
on the color of glass you’re using). Place the chalked pattern on the
glass, chalk side down, and draw over the lines with a pencil. It’s
like carbon paper but less messy. You can spray the chalk lines with
hairspray or reinforce with pen and add glass.
Time vs. Money and
- Quit oiling your cutter! Sound like
not cleaning oil off the glass will more than pay for an extra cutter
head once in a while. In fact, if I’m going to cover the glass with
frit, I rarely clean it at all!
- Does a thin sheet of glass give you the
- Keep in mind that complex designs are
a larger format. Small, low-ticket pieces need to be very simple
(Jewelry may be the exception).
- Use paint pens that fire off but stay on
- Can you use frit instead of sheet glass?
beautiful colors like fuchsia are not only expensive in sheet form, but
Frit can often give you a more "useable" color at a better price.
- Bullseye has a wide variety of tints that
are only available as thick glass but ARE available as frit. These
tints can open you up to a whole new range of colors in your work.
- Making color samples is definitely worth
- Powders can be mixed and blended for more
Small samples of all my
will be labeled &
glued to a board for a local gallery that does a lot of commissioned
Right: New neutrals & tint samples. Powder mixes (bottom
right) are done with powder vibe.
Do you have a great time- or money-saving
add? Please post your comments and tips on the D&L Art Glass
D&L Art Glass Supply, © 2012 Anne