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Blogs and Columns

Anne Nye Column

Hello and Welcome! Below is the first in a series of "Art Into Business" columns that D&L Art Glass Supply is offering to the glass art community. The purpose of these columns is to Stir Your Juices: To inspire your art and to help you transition to making money with your art if that is your goal.

We will send these columns to our customers and to friends we've met at shows and events. The columns will be delivered via email and will also live permanently on our website (under the "Tips and Tutorials" menu tab  > "Blogs & Columns). Please feel free to forward these columns to anyone who you think would enjoy them. 

Give us your feedback. Let us know what topics you'd like to see covered, or any comments you have on the columns. Let us know either by email info@dlartglass.com or by comment on the D&L Art Glass Supply Facebook page. Thank you.

Art Into Business

Working Smart: Design for Success

by Anne Nye

I was teaching a class at D&L recently and was 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. Is your new piece 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 out there.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel.

If you have a design that sells well, can you do a similar design in another form?

A table clock rather than wall art, but maybe just using a portion of the design?

  • Example: My 8" music plates sold well but took too much time for the price.
  • I took a simpler version of the same design to a 5 x 8" table piece. Saved both time and glass!

Anne Nye Plate Styles Anne Nye Table Art

  • A larger size of a similar design might make it worth the 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.

Anne Nye Soundwave

  • Add another color for another version of the same design.
  • Talk to your galleries or individual clients to find out what products are needed.

Stand Out From the Crowd!

Do something different from what others in your area are doing. Custom molds, stands and shapes can help set you apart.

  • Invest in a ring saw, creating a more organic shape rather than the traditional circle or square can help you stand out.
  • Try a long narrow vertical format for a change.

Time and Money.

Both have to be considered when pricing a piece of art. I’ll 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 the size just a little and save a lot of glass?
  • Wall art: Wall art will usually bring a higher price than 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 that is simple 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 Fire.

Anne Nye Tracing Method "Never 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 Other Choices:

  • Quit oiling your cutter! Sound like heresy? The time saved 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 same look as a thick sheet? 
  • Keep in mind that complex designs are easier to resolve in 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 while grinding or wet sawing.
  • Can you use frit instead of sheet glass? Some of the beautiful colors like fuchsia are not only expensive in sheet form, but very dark. Frit can often give you a more "useable" color at a better price.
  • Bullseye has a wide variety of tints that in sheet glass 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 the time.
  • Powders can be mixed and blended for more custom colors.

Anne Nye Samples in Kiln Anne Nye Color Sample Chart

Left: Small samples of all my colors will be labeled & glued to a board for a local gallery that does a lot of commissioned work.
Right: New neutrals & tint samples. Powder mixes (bottom right) are done with powder vibe.

Do you have a great time- or money-saving tip you’d like to add? Please post your comments and tips on the D&L Art Glass Supply Facebook page

© 2012 D&L Art Glass Supply, © 2012 Anne Nye

Anne Nye studied fine art at the University of Idaho and California College of Arts & Crafts. She is a mostly-self-taught glass artist with a strong background in painting and graphic design. Anne runs a successful studio in Omaha, has been a part-owner of an art gallery, and teaches her frit-painting methods at D&L Art Glass Supply and other venues.


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