It sounds easy – but it’s not.
Why’s it important? Because really, it’s all about you.
As practicing textile artists, we’ve worked hard to gain recognition and to be seen as professional artists in a genre of artistic endeavour that’s often relegated as demeaning simply because we work with textiles and a needle and thread.
And I know from my own experiences just how long and how hard that reputation takes to achieve.
So why would anyone relegate control of that hard-fought-for status to someone who doesn’t think or feel the same way?
Trust me, it happens.
So when you’re approached, as an artist, to perform an opening, give a talk, provide a magazine article or be a part of a book, it’s worthwhile to be cautious, to tread carefully, and be given time to assimilate exactly what you’re being asked to do.
Here are some signposts, or signals that will help filter approaches.
- take your time to research the individual, group, organisation, or business approaching you
- why do they want you?
- do you believe in what they’re trying to achieve?
- look at their track record, how long they’ve been around, and their successes, if any
- ask questions like ‘how will that work?’ or ‘what comes next?’
- don’t be afraid to ask for more information
- how will the event be promoted – you need to know exactly how and where images of your work and information about you will be seen and used
- be wary of those who don’t or won’t answer your questions or respond to your emails
- if it’s a group, organisation, or business, work with one person only
- have everything confirmed in writing
- if it doesn’t feel right, have the confidence to respectfully decline
It’s wonderful to be approached – it’s a means of giving back to a community that’s helped and supported us over the years – but take care, because this is playing with your reputation.
Not all approaches are in our best interests; not all approaches are well thought through or backed by a supportive network.
Red flags appearing from any of the above points should indicate prudence – to ensure we protect what we’ve worked so hard for and to ally ourselves with others who feel as we do about promoting our art and craft.
Think of it as quality control.
And hopefully, having agreed to a set of mutually satisfying guidelines, the outcome will be beneficial to both parties.