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This Blog is a personal record and an honest illustration of my life as a full time embroidery artist. I hope that you find it entertaining and inspiring.

shown here are the Copyright of Louise Gardiner 2012.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Collecting Information... oh yeah.


Please see this link for the experiences of Anna Ray, Lucy Brown and MOI at the COLLECT exhibition here.

Here is my feed back in full -

“Take some risks in your practice and explore your own potential. RAISE YOUR GAME.”
Louise Gardiner

Louise Gardiner’s installation ‘You blow me away’ was one of 10 proposals selected to be shown in the Project Space at COLLECT 2012.  Louise recounts some of her experience in the lead up to the event, as a self-funded exhibitor and offers advice to future Project Space Exhibitors.

“I saw it as an investment and I planned to make a large collection of work that was visually compelling, the most challenging in my career thus far…”

The Crafts Council asked Louise to share her experience as a Project Space Exhibitor at COLLECT 2012.

CC: How has participating in the Project Space affected your practice?
COLLECT has inspired me to make much bigger work which is both conceptually strong and technically as good as I can produce.
It has helped raise my professional profile, justify higher more realistic prices on my work and now my CV and Artists Statement are buzzing.
For me the show is a challenge that helps you realise what you have achieved in your creative practice so far and what makes your practice and you different.
As an Embroidery Artist I was always battling with the connotations of sewing, this achievement, as a COLLECT selected exhibitor, has meant that people now take me and my practice more seriously and no longer ask me to take up their trousers.
More people understand what I do and I hope that I have helped promote contemporary embroidery as a whole.
I upped my game and produced the largest and most dynamic work I have created yet especially for the show and the Collect audience.

CC: Which marketing tools did you use to engage with the audience?
I made sure that I had a new, professional and beautiful website completed before the show.
I kept a regular blog about my work in progress which became a social lifeline whilst I worked on the project... I advertised my progress on Facebook, I also started a group blog/diary for the other Collect artists.
I did a radio interview with BBC Radio London, which was arranged by the Crafts Council. It was great fun to get as involved as possible after 6 months of solitary confinement in my studio making the work.
A film was commissioned by the Crafts Council about the progress of my project and it can be seen on the CC website, The Guardian website and YouTube.
I have since built a special section on my website dedicated to COLLECT and use the film as a fantastic marketing tool and memoir to mark this exciting time in my career.

CC: What benefits have you experienced since exhibiting at COLLECT 4 months ago?
I raised my profile by exhibiting at one of the best contemporary craft events at the prestigious Saatchi Gallery, London.
I made new client contacts…
The following week I sold 4 of the 5 exhibited pieces to two different clients … from London and… the US.
The remaining piece No 4, is going to be exhibited at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair…(and) I have been invited as a speaker as a result of staging a talk at the Event Space at COLLECT and the ‘You Blow Me Away’ film commission by the CC will also be shown alongside two recently completed pieces which are a development of the same concept.

CC: Do you have any recommendations for Project Space 2013 applicants?
I thoroughly recommend getting as involved as possible with this high profile show and throwing as much enthusiasm at it as you are capable.  It makes the whole experience worthwhile if you participate in as much as possible with the events at COLLECT and also by using social media to spread the word.  It is what you make it and the Crafts Council are continuously enthusiastic and supportive.  
I found that my clients and friends really started to take me more seriously as an established maker/artist once they knew that I was exhibiting at COLLECT in London.

If you are going to apply use the exhibition as a springboard to elevate your practice and also your marketing strategy. Spread the word both before and after the show … it can be seen as a really impressive feather in your cap.  Be prepared … have great promotional business cards and postcards at the ready.  Enjoy it!

Do not underestimate what the show involves… be committed and dedicate yourself completely to the preparations in order to make the most of  the opportunity.  Making the work is only half the effort! Take some risks in your practice and explore your own potential. Raise your Game.

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