Correspondence: Open Lines in situ in the home of collector Irene Peake
I am always humbled and thrilled to have my artwork acquired by one of my patrons as part of an important celebration. Irene Peake, who recently added Correspondence: Open Lines to her and her husband’s collection, was kind enough to submit to a Q&A about collecting fiber art. She offers tips for both collectors of fiber art and fiber artists:
1. Why are you interested in collecting fiber art? Do you collect other types of art also or is there something in particular that draws you to fiber art?
Irene: Collecting fiber art is a way of staying connected to a tradition of needlework in my family. My maternal grandmother was a milliner whose specialty was trimming hats. I grew up watching her create beautiful hatbands decorated with stitching, ribbon rosettes, cockades, feathers and sequins. My paternal grandmother and her sister crocheted bedspreads and embroidered tablecloths.
2. What is your criteria for adding fiber art to your collection? (The artwork’s theme, the artist, the color, the materials, a specific location, an occasion, . . .)
Irene: I am especially attracted to fiber pieces that depict or are related to nature. Texture is key as is the use of a variety of materials—fabrics, threads and non-traditional items.
3. Have your tastes in fiber art changed over time and, if so, has that affected your collection?
Irene: Over the years, I’ve learned to enjoy pieces that are more abstract than realistic, so I often look for pieces that are executed in an abstract style.
4. You added Correspondence: Open Lines to your collection in celebration of a special occasion. Would you care to share something about the process of choosing this artwork? Its relevance to your celebration? Why/how did you and your husband choose Open Lines?
Irene: My husband and I have a tradition of buying something for our home as an anniversary present. We are also home renovators, so finishing off a room is cause for celebration. Once the dining room was completed, I knew I wanted a single piece of fiber art to go on one wall. I went online and bookmarked several artists’ work to show my husband. He liked several of my selections, so I made a short list. Then we reviewed our budget to determine what was affordable. Among the finalists were three of your pieces. Since we already own several of your pieces, Bob was familiar and comfortable with your work. Two pieces were the wrong size for the dining room, so it came down to Correspondence: Open Lines.
I selected this piece to show my husband for several reasons. This piece:
• Utilizes lots of stuff (various fabrics, threads, etc.). I love stuff! I make collages and assemblages so I really enjoy artwork that utilizes “bits and pieces.”
• Is colorful…just what we needed to brighten up our dining room.
• Utilizes movement. Lines sweep across the art to catch your eye and engage you.
• Is complex. I enjoy looking at the materials and stitching up close.
5. What advice do you have for other collectors of fiber art? For those just beginning to collect fiber art?
Irene: Collecting any type of art is an investment of time, energy and education as well as money. Whatever you are drawn to, learn more about it. Read; visit museums; go to galleries, exhibits and craft fairs; look at artists’ web sites.
Keep an open mind and look at everything. Learn what you like and what you don’t. What’s more important, learn why you like or dislike an art work. For example, don’t dismiss something as “ugly.” What specifically bothers you about the piece—color, subject matter, execution?
Beginning collectors can start small. Many fiber artists make small works—art cards editions and originals (ACEOs), wall hangings, journal quilts, etc. When deciding upon a purchase, consider:
• Display: Where will the piece be shown? Does it need to be framed or is it ready to hang?
• Maintenance: What type of cleaning is required?
Anyone seriously interested in building a collection should document and insure their collection as well as consider estate planning issues.
6. What advice do you have for artists who would like their art to be added to a patron’s collection?
Irene: Artists who want to be added to a patron’s collection should have a web site that displays their work well. This means easy-to-navigate pages, clear photos (including detail shots) and a price list. If links are included, check on a regular basis that they work. If you are represented by a gallery, be sure their web site has samples of your work posted and that the site works properly.
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can all be powerful marketing tools. Personally, I enjoy reading artists’ blogs.
Artists should also consider creating work for a variety of price points. Beginning collectors with small budgets often buy smaller “starter” pieces. Therefore, making small works available is one way to enable collectors to become familiar with your work. However, don’t skimp on quality when creating less costly pieces.
Also, be responsive to collectors who contact you with questions. Building a relationship with artists is one of the joys of collecting.
If you have any questions for Irene, please contact her at irene.peake2(at)gmail.com