Thursday, May 7, 2015

Busy, busy, busy....bzzzzzz

When I was a child I would complain to my Mom that I was bored. She would hand me a broom, a duster or similar and put me to work. I learned real fast not to ever complain about being bored. I also became one of those who never stopped moving.

Life has always been a never-ending place of discovery for me. I'm curious about everything and hope when I'm laying on my death bed that I'm puzzling over something interesting. I can't imagine, despite those young years, ever being bored.

I certainly have not been bored in recent months! Non-stop shows, lots to do with the charities I support, my wonderful family, creating new pieces of art, my art group, and on and on. One of the things that always seems to slide is marketing my art. Sigh.

I haven't blogged or updated my website in eons. Double sigh.

I am also, luckily, selling my new pieces fast enough that I'm not even bothering to post the photos anywhere ---- except when I take a quick snap as I take them out of the kiln. (The photos I included in this post are the exception...I have to take a few photos so I can apply to shows!)

My list of to-dos always has "photograph new work", an "update website"and "do a blog post" on it...always. Perpetual.

This weekend I'll be at Barefoot in the Park in Duluth.  It will be my first time at the show but I have heard great things about it. It's Saturday, 10 - 6, and Sunday, 10 - 5. I have perused the list of artists, checked out some of their art (many I already know) and I guarantee that you will love the mix and talent.

I'll also have some art in Peachtree City at Saville Studios this weekend. Kate is holding a "Starving Artist" sale this Saturday (9 - 1) and I've put in some pieces. All of the art will be under $100...all of mine will be under $50 (yep, typical me, I misread the dollar amount she suggested...). 

Weekend after next I'll be at the Hilton Head Island Art Festival. It's another first for me. The location is fantastic and I'm excited about this new show.  May 23rd & 24th, 10 - 5 both days.

Then I get a little bit of a break as my next show won't be until the end of June (Old Fourth Ward Art Festival --- one of my favorites).

I'm considering having an open house / studio early June. We'll see if I'm up for it or feel the need to take a break...

Top photo: History Written in Rust
Middle: I Can Handle It
Bottom: Trifarious

(I've been on a basket kick lately. I started with some smaller baskets and they have gotten bigger and more complex over time. I keep thinking I'm done with the phase but new ideas just keep popping into my mind.)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Making an art show successful

I do a lot of art shows. Most are successful, some are so-so, a few get bumped from my list. I have often pondered what makes a show successful. Better minds than mine have written volumes on the subject. However, I have a few thoughts.

There are countless factors that have an impact on a shows success or failure. Is it a good area? do the promoters advertise well? is it a good mix of artists? is there good parking? is it easy to find? Weather is always important and unknown at the time the show is set. Even really good weather can decrease attendance, especially if it is right after a spate of bad weather.

One consistent thing that I think has possibly the biggest impact on a show is the artists self-promotion. What? The artists? We are paying to be in the show! Our art is supposed to be the draw! It's the job of the promoters we pay to bring in the crowds, to choose the right mix of artists, etc., etc.

Why artists?

One-on-one and word of mouth beats any form of advertising.

If every artist collected emails, was active on Facebook, promoted the show to their respective crowd (friends, customers, church groups, social groups, civic groups, etc.) via whatever methods make sense to them then we'd have packed shows.

Note the word "every" in that first sentence. Many of us are great at spreading the word. Many of us, maybe more than many, aren't. We never think about it, see it as the job of the organizer, aren't social, don't see the importance and on and on the list of reasons goes...

Think about a show with 100 vendors. If every participant put out flyers, sent out emails, posted on our fan pages, sent out photos via Instagram, mailed post cards, etc., then we could potentially reach thousands...and thousands. Combine that with what the organizers are doing and you have a real crowd of interested buyers.

My neighbor at the last show I did sent out post cards. I was amazed at just how many people mentioned they'd received the post cards. Some bought, some didn't. I noted that some who didn't had art they'd purchased from other artists. I didn't get a chance to talk with him but I'd bet he has lists that are organized by city and simply pops something out to that list.

These days a snail-mail card can have a lot more of an impact than emails! You don't even have to mail them if it's a local show.  Hand them out. Put them on bulletin boards at your gym, etc. Make them on your computer, print them on your home printer to save money.

I've heard some say that they don't want to keep asking their friends to come buy their work, they already have enough. Tell them about the other artists. Yikes, promote someone else? I want them to buy from ME, me, me. But you've already said they're overloaded with your art. But if the artist across from you did the same thing then maybe their friends and customers would buy from you.

I love looking at other artists work. I love it when I hear that one of my customers also bought from someone else. I love it when I hear that a fellow artist recommended my art.

Many have a difficult time patting themselves on the back. It's easy to talk glowingly about another artist. We've often joked at shows that maybe we should all switch tents, sell for each other! I'm not saying to send a jewelry buyer of yours to another jeweler (although sometimes that is good), but you can sure promote a painter or fabric artist.

Our outreach and involvement in selling our art is very important. Simply being a fabulous artist isn't going to move a piece from your studio to a new owner's home or office. We have to be pro-active.

Side note: Choosing the right show for our art also falls on the artists. A show can be great for one artist and horrible for another. We learn from doing shows or doing good research prior to choosing a show. A show that turns out to be bad for us doesn't necessarily mean the show is bad or the promoters didn't do their job. Sometimes we're just not doing our homework...or maybe we did and the stars just didn't align for us.

Thoughts on Organizers / Promoters

It is true that the promoters or organizers should advertise. There are many ways of reaching out and the show organizers I know do an outstanding job of marketing their shows. It is essential that they do as much as they can. But if you really think about how you look at advertisements you'll soon realize how difficult that task might be, especially if you start adding up the cost to advertise. 

Newspapers --- how do you scan the paper, if you read it at all these days? How many ads do you see? News articles are the best, especially if they have photos. We tend to look and read those with pictures.
On-line --- do you look at those Facebook ads along the sidebar or that are in the middle of your news feed? Do you see the ads that are at the top or on the sidebars of the news site you view? If they pop up do you immediately click that little x to make them go away?
Billboards --- do you drive the route where the billboard happens to be? Do you ignore them on your commute? If you happen to see them how often do you manage to read the info? write it down? remember it when you get home? Do you even live anywhere near the route?
Mailers --- these might be one of the better methods if it's a stand-alone postcard. But who should the promoter mail the cards to? the area around the venue? their lists (probably)?
Email --- nice as it goes to those who've signed up, have an interest. But if the list is the same one that received info about the last ten shows how likely is it that they'll buy your art this time if they didn't the last time.
TV --- costly. Not to mention it's almost impossible to figure out which station to advertise on...and when. For many those 3-minute ad breaks are for making a drink, running to the bathroom or switching over to another station to see what we're missing.
Radio --- how many stations are there these days? do you push the button on the radio to another station when an ad comes on? or tune out?

I didn't list all the methods organizers use to get the word out. Given the overwhelming numbers of ways to advertise these days you can go broke trying to reach "our" market!

My main purpose in making that list of ways to advertise was to get you thinking about what kind of advertising reaches you. You might scan the newspaper from cover to cover but your neighbor on the left who is an avid art buyer trashes them along with every other piece of advertising that comes in the mail.  Your other art-loving friend only does Facebook and social media but ignores the ads. Some never watch TV. Some only listen to one or two radio stations. You get the idea. Ask ten people what reaches them and you'll get a wide range of answers including "nothing".

That's why I think it's up to us to do our part. We can't sit back in this world where we are bombarded with ads and simply leave it up to the organizer.

Monday, January 19, 2015

5th Annual Art with Heart Fine Arts and Crafts Show, February 7th in Peachtree City

Members of the Fine Arts and Crafts Entrepreneurs (FAACE) group and other artists will be giving demonstrations and selling stained glass, paintings, ceramics, jewelry, fiber art, wood and other beautiful pieces at the 5th Annual Art with Heart Fine Arts and Crafts Show. Over thirty fine artists and crafters from across the state will be showcasing their talents on February 7th at the Show which will once again be held at St. Andrews in the Pines Episcopal Church. Art with Heart is the perfect place to find a one-of-a-kind original Valentine’s Day gift.

The mission of FAACE is to promote and encourage the appreciation of fine arts and crafts, and to support, educate and empower the artists who create them to earn a living wage from their production and sale. FAACE also supports local community charities at each of their public events. Art with Heart will benefit The Children’s Village at Christian City through voluntary donations from artists and attendees and a silent art auction.

Christian City has been caring for abandoned and abused children in a family centered residential setting since 1965. Over 1,000 children have called Christian City “home.” If you would like to learn more about The Children’s Village or ways you can help support children in need, please call 770-703-2636 or visit

FAACE meets on a quarterly basis and holds a number of art shows and workshops throughout the year. They also host a variety of art-related educational events.

The show is free and open to the public. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

St. Andrews in the Pines Episcopal Church is located at 316 Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree City, GA 30269. For more information on Art with Heart or FAACE please call Janet McGregor Dunn at 404-290-3638, email Noel at or visit the FAACE website at

Photo: Some of the artists and volunteers participating in the 2015 5th Annual Art with Heart Fine Arts and Crafts Show. L-R: Janet McGregor Dunn, FAACE President and ceramic artist, Roger Sibaja, Gobi Photography, Tonia Mitchell, T.Rific! Tonia Characters, Karen Slimm, painter, Lynn Cordner, original watercolors, acrylics and mixed media, Honey Corbin, painter, Clenette Todd, FAACE Board and fabric artist, Cathy Spitz, Glass God’s Garden, stained glass artist, Vicki Turner, FAACE Board and painter, Ann Marie Hendry-Hinson, artist and interior designer, Heidi Becker, representing Christian City.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Two shows in the near future!

I'm looking forward to 2015. Last year was a great year for the most part...a few little bumps as always but nothing to mar the overall goodness. I think 2015 is going to shine!

This year I'm adding some new shows to my line-up, venturing a bit further out more often. I'll be sharing more about those shows as the times come closer but will let you know that I've already been accepted into two shows in Alabama that I applied to for the first time! Nice.

I have two shows coming up right around the corner. One is new for me, the Callanwolde Arts Festival ( January 23rd & 25th. There is a ticketed preview party on the 23rd, then the actual show on the 24th & 25th. Sat hours: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. & Sun hours: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

I went last year to check it out and was impressed. Great music, great art, excellent venue, easy access and parking. It's a very well-run event with top-quality artists. I'm proud to be included in the line up and am looking forward to seeing many of my art friends.

The next event is a local show that I help run through our art group (FAACE - Fine Arts and Crafts Entrepreneurs, It's held the weekend before Valentine's Day every year in Peachtree City, GA.

Art with Heart Fine Arts and Crafts show will be Saturday, February 7th at St. Andrews in the Pines Episcopal Church, 316 Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree City, GA 30269. Hours will be 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

We have some outstanding artists who will be selling their art just in time for Valentine's Day shopping. It's indoors, too so weather isn't a consideration. Hope you'll come see me and all the other fabulous artists at one or both of these events.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Are you coming to my Open Studio Event?

 Saturday (tomorrow) Dec. 13th I'm having my first annual Open Studio Event. 10 - 5 drop in at my studio. Food, beverages, some clay to play with and plenty of pottery. Three of my art friends will also be joining me: Steve Boykin, painter, Noel Gilliam, painter & mixed media-ite, and Helena Marette, jeweler.

Luckily the weather is supposed to be beautiful! It will be sunny and reach 60 degrees. The studio has heat and the tent we're putting up will also be heated so it'll be toasty in the morning, too.

I have a kiln load I'm waiting to open...I did sneak a peek yesterday and all that I could see looked good. I can't wait to see all my friends and maybe make a few new friends. 

The photos are a kinda-sorta "before" of the inside of my studio. I cleaned it up recently for our annual Southern Hands Artist Studio Tour (SHAST), messed it up a bit (but not much) to make and finish a few pieces, then cleaned it up again for you. It went into shock the first time, now it's in total denial. I'm going to have to have a therapist stop by and talk with the studio. 

If you'd like to see a view of the outside of my cute little studio you can either find me on Facebook (Janet McGregor Dunn Hummingbird - friend OR Janet McGregor Dunn LLC - fan). or you can come by tomorrow.

I've run out of things to write to fill up the space. I could ramble some more but it would be meaningless drivel and I know you are already pumped about coming to see me tomorrow so there's no point in dragging this on any longer.

Let me know you read this tomorrow (only) and I'll give you 10% off your purchase of my art.

Janet McGregor Dunn Studio
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
614 Lester Road
Fayetteville, GA 30215
(Open by appointment only on other days)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Flipping back and forth...

Still Standing. Mid-Fire. Note the lip at the bottom. I added that to give a lip that
didn't have to be glazed, and would catch any drips. I was working with all new
glazes so wasn't 100% sure they wouldn't run. I would have made the lip even if I
planned to use low-fire clay as it "worked" with the overall piece. However, I
would have glazed the bottom of the pot if low-firing.
In recent months I've been experimenting with a variety of clays, flipping back and forth between low-fire (cone 05) and mid-fire (cone 6). Both have a whole lotta pluses and a few minuses.

I like the way low-fire majolica clay handles and works with my highly textured pieces. It isn't brittle when fired and doesn't form as many sharp edges as some other clays. I love the way the red clay marries up with various glazes, too.

However, there's a lot to be said for the wonderful glaze effects when working with mid to high fired pieces. I've found a couple of beautiful brown clays that I am enjoying working with.

I do find that my mind doesn't flip quite as easily between the clays. I'll start working on a mid-fire piece only to realize part way through that I really, really need to be able to glaze the bottom. There are options for glazing the bottom with mid-fired pottery, but if you don't plan ahead it just ain't gonna be possible sometimes. I sometimes squash the piece, rework the clay and move on to something else... or go grab some low-fire clay. Sometimes I'll adapt it.

Ramblin' Blues. Low-fire. Note how the glaze goes all the way under
the large, textured bowl. This piece sold.
Low fire has the advantage of easily being able to stilt works when they're fired. Being able to stilt a piece means it can be glazed on the bottom and it won't stick to kiln shelving. I've talked with some artists who have had success with stilting cone 5 and 6 glaze firings but I've not been brave enough to try. There's always the possibility that the piece will just slump over the stilts and be ruined. Not to mention it'll ruin my kiln shelf if that happens. Those things aren't cheap! I think I'd be more upset over losing the pottery than the shelves, though. I never do anything twice, just not in my makeup to be able to repeat myself.

One of the things I love about clay, one of the many things, is that it's a never-ending experiment. I can't get bored. In fact, my biggest challenge is not going in a thousand directions.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Thank you to a whole bunch of people!

We just finished up our 4th Annual Art with Heart Fine Arts & Crafts Show. It is entirely run by volunteers from top to bottom, members and friends of our art group, Fine Arts and Crafts Entrepreneurs (FAACE).

We had members who didn't have a space volunteer at the front desk both days of the show. We had members who did have art doing all kinds of extra things... laying out the booths, clearing the room of tables & chairs (then putting them back out after the event), handling refreshments, getting sign permits, playing beautiful music, taking care of all the details of the fund raiser for The Children's Village, bringing food for the reception, dealing with the money we raised... the list is LONG.

All of the artists donated a piece of their art to help raise money for The Children's Village, too. We raised $1,000! Everyone pitched in to help clean up.

Very special thanks also to St. Andrews in the Pines Episcopal Church. They graciously allow us to use the space each year for the event. We know it disrupts their normal activities and that it is a huge gift they are giving to support not just FAACE, but The Children's Village (which benefits abused and abandoned children). The members are extremely supportive.

Artists and their spouses, significant others, friends, are such wonderful, giving people. At least all the ones I know fit into that category... I'm grateful to be part of such a super community of people.

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who supported the show from the volunteers to church to the visitors who came to buy and donate.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Art Studio Tour 2013

A group of ten artists in my county have teamed up for an "Art Studio Tour". We're going to open the doors of our respective studios and let the public come in.

The Tour will be held on Saturday, Nov. 16th, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. We'll have food, beverages, plenty of art and we'll be on hand to answer questions. Some of the artists are going to do demonstrations.

There is more info and a list of the artists, locations, at

We're hoping it will become an annual event and that we'll add more artists. We're dreaming big! 

When my friend Andrea Boswell first proposed it I jumped on board enthusiastically. I'm still enthusiastic. However, it's a bit daunting at the moment!

I walked outside today and tried to see my yard, the outside and the inside of my studio with "new" eyes. Yikes! I have a LOT of work to do before the 16th. 

I just finished up my last outdoor show of the year and everything is still stacked in the garage. I broke some bones in my foot. My shop-vac broke (of course).

I have this long list of things I want to do before weekend after this one comes around. I want to put up some signs, organize, clean up the yard, trim some trees, set up my tent, figure out which pottery I want to put on sale, advertise the event... that's just a broad overview. I'm figuring I'll get maybe a tenth of the list done.

Oh, yep, there's some pieces I want to finish up, too.

And I'm taking a painting class so I want to set up a corner for my paints.

I thought I'd show you some "before" pictures today. 

Truthfully, those pictures were taken after I'd done a bit of cleaning. They aren't current. You can see the now-broken shop-vac in some of the pictures...

The studio needs to be pressure washed.

I keep adding to the list.

I won't bore you with all the things that have popped into my mind.

Come see my cleaned up, spruced up, prettified, studio on Nov. 16th. I will even wear my non-clay-stained clothes for you. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Wishing Tree

When I started on my Wishing Tree it was simply a tree-to-be. It was not yet a wishing tree. My cousin, a fabulous painter, came to visit, walked in and saw the tree before I had glazed it and said it reminded him of the book about the wishing tree.

After I did a bit of research, looking for the book, I realized that the tale he told me was for The Giving Tree. Knowing the way my brain works, he may have said giving instead of wishing. However it happened, as I layered the glazes onto the bisqued clay it I thought of it as a wishing tree.

There is a book titled "The Wishing Tree" by Marybeth Whalen about divorce, reconciliation and such. That is not what MY tree is about!

And there's an older children's book titled "The Wish Tree" by John Ciardi (1960s). The Wish Tree, children's version, is about the responsibility of wishes and taking care of gifts. The words carved on the tree are "Take Care of Your Wish". I may have to do another tree in honor of that book!

I found the poem I posted below on a poetry site and it seemed perfect for my wishing tree. I tried to find a way to contact the author but couldn't. I did post a link below that was on the page so you could read more of Reshika Ramprsad's poetry. He is from South Africa and writes some nice poetry.

The Wishing Tree (mine) stands roughly 7 inches tall and will hold water so you can start your own wishing tree (or just put a nice floral arrangement inside). As always with my pieces, the inside is just as important to me as the outside thus the roots travel into the interior of the pot. It will work just fine with absolutely nothing in it.

The piece was glaze fired multiple times with sand, matte and gloss glazes, glass additions and at least 12 or so contrasting glaze colors to attempt to give the appearance that Mother Nature does in her glorious works!

The Wishing Tree

Be fore warned and
Do not be mistaken
For many have
For this is no ordinary tree
It is but the wishing tree

Listen and pay heed
For this tree is the bearer of hopes
Dreams, wishes and desires
Give to it a little
And you will receive exponentially

For it has been bound together
With the strength and hard work of
Mother Nature herself
This tree listens and listens
Only to your heart desires
So wish upon this wishing tree

For its time too will approach for it to wither and pass
But know this much
That the wishing tree existence
Is beyond its physical state

For once you have wished upon the tree
It has been heard, registered and now nurtured
So wish upon your wishing tree

~ Reshika

Click here to visit to read the poem called "The Wishing Tree" by Reshika Ramprsad, South Africa

Monday, October 28, 2013

Playing those head games...

A few years back I decided I was going to do some faces, some figures, some people. I did two. This is one of the two.

I sold the other one --- it actually won some awards before I sold it. I was rather impressed with myself.

This one, I'm not so sure about.

I made it with a white clay, something I've discovered I do NOT like to work with.

I played a lot with the features but never quite felt like I captured the look I wanted.

After I made it I let it sit, unglazed. I didn't want a flesh colored piece. I didn't want to have the face one color and the hair another. I wasn't sure what I wanted.

I would pull it out on occasion, take a look, pull out my glazes and spend time trying to get just the right look for my girl.

Finally, I opted for a very translucent flesh-toned color. Almost a tan I guess.

I still wasn't happy.

It sat for months again.

Ultimately I got tired of looking at the face. She stared at me saying with much exasperation, "finish me, do something, anything!".

I was digging around in some old glazes and found a rainbow clear finishing glaze. It was so old I wasn't even sure if it would work. They no longer make the glaze and I didn't have instructions so I had to do some digging around on the Internet to find the right cone temp.

So, here she is in all her glory.

She's empty headed. I intend to fill the head with things. Not sure what kind of things yet, I'm still waiting on inspiration. Then again, maybe I'll just call it a day and pop her out at a show to see how she's received. She's waited a long time.

On my list of things to do someday is to take a few pottery classes that focus on the human form. My list of to-dos is a very, very, very long list. Usually the way I get to something on the list is a class or opportunity will drop in my lap, get in my face or I'll trip over it.

Due to the type glaze I used it's almost impossible for ME to get a good shot. In the last picture you can even see my old light box. I've moved on since that box. Yes, she's been sitting again for a while!