Artist Cindy Grisdela sells her art quilts on Artful Home, a curated website and catalog for unique home goods, clothing, and accessories.
Have you ever thought about seeking gallery representation for your work, but weren’t sure how to get started? Or maybe you don’t live in a setting where art galleries even exist. Consider applying to have your work represented by Artful Home, an online gallery showcasing the work of over 1000 artists in North America. Categories include clothing, jewelry, sculpture, wall art (paintings and textiles), furniture and lighting, and home décor.
Based in Madison, WI, Artful Home began in 1985 as a company that helped artists sell their work to designers and architects through publications called Guild Sourcebooks. It transformed into a web-based platform called Guild.com in 1999 and renamed itself Artful Home in 2004.
The Jury Process
Artists interested in being represented by Artful Home go through a jury process that happens every three months. According to their website, judging criteria include creativity and originality, excellent craftsmanship, and consistency in the body of work.
The jury is made up of members of the Artful Home merchandising team. Applicants must provide an artist statement and professional quality images of 4-12 pieces of work, including a complete description of each piece regarding materials, dimensions, techniques, and inspiration.
Jury decisions are made quarterly. If an artist is not accepted, they may resubmit with a different portfolio of work.
I have been a juried member of Artful Home since 2017 in the fiber category, so I have personal experience with the site from an artist’s perspective. Each artist has their own dedicated page on the site, with an artist photo, artist statement, resume of awards and achievements, and images of the work that is offered for sale.
Artist pages on artful home include artist photo, artist statement, resume of awards and achievements, and images of the work that is offered for sale.
Getting Started on Artful Home
Artists set their own prices and may submit any work they choose to be included on the site, as long as it is within the category they were accepted into. An artist accepted in fiber probably wouldn’t be allowed to submit ceramics, for example. All work is reviewed by the Artful Home merchandising team. They may accept it, reject it, or request more information pending a decision.
Uploading artwork is easy. A form in the artist only section of the website asks for photos, detailed descriptions, price and whether the work is one-of-a-kind or production. Service representatives and how-to videos are available to help artists through the process.
Work on artful home is searchable in many ways, and various promotions throughout the year help with sales.
Marketing, Commissions, and Customer Care
The work is searchable on the site and promoted in various ways, including email marketing, landing pages on the web, the print catalog, or other print marketing. I have had work pictured in subscriber emails or featured in a sale marketing landing page. That work almost always sells. Artful Home has 1.5 million website visitors each year, according to their website.
As with traditional brick and mortar galleries, Artful Home takes a 50% commission on sales through their site. What artists get for that concession is a robust marketing and outreach program, both online and in the form of a beautifully designed and photographed catalog that is direct mailed on a regular schedule. From my perspective, that means that my work is promoted to potential purchasers that I wouldn’t be able to reach on my own, or not without a lot of effort and expense.
Artful Home also handles customer care. When a piece sells, the artist is notified and must respond promptly with a committed shipping date. Most sold work is shipped from the artist’s studio directly to the customer. Once the piece is packed and ready to ship within the committed shipping date window, the artist logs into the system and creates a UPS shipping label. The item must be dropped off at UPS the same day the label is created. Artful Home handles the shipping costs and dealing with return requests; artists must pay for their own shipping materials, such as new boxes and bubble wrap or other packing materials.
If an artist will be away from the studio and unable to ship work, they must sign into the system to let Artful Home know the dates they will be away in order to manage customer expectations.
Artful Home began in 1985 as a company that helped artists sell their work to designers and architects through publications called Guild Sourcebooks. It transformed into a web-based platform calledGuild.com in 1999 and renamed itself Artful Home in 2004.
Selling Your Work with Artful Home
Artful Home does not require exclusivity from its artists, unlike many brick-and-mortar galleries. They are free to offer their work for sale in other venues, as long as the price is the same. That means artists need to set consistent pricing, regardless of whether the piece is offered on their own website or at an art show where there would be no commission due, or on the Artful Home site, where a 50% commission is deducted from sales.
All juried artists are eligible to be featured in the print catalog, but there is no guarantee of participation. One drawback to being on Artful Home as a decorative fiber artist is they rarely feature wall quilts in the catalog. The catalogs are heavy on wearable art and jewelry, as are many other art venues. If an artist’s work is selected for the catalog, generally it is deactivated from the site and must be shipped to headquarters for photography.
Another drawback to the site is the length of time it takes to get paid for sold work. Purchasers have 14 days after receiving an order to notify Artful Home of their intention to return an item. To account for shipping time and the return window, the site makes a direct deposit to the artist’s checking account about 30 days after the work is shipped.
Sales and Discounts
Artful Home has regular events to help encourage sales. For example, once a year they offer 15% off wall art over a three-day period. Discounts from these sales come from the Artful Home side of the ledger; the artist receives their full 50% wholesale price.
In addition, the site offers an annual Studio Sale event. This is a voluntary event where artists may sell older work, samples, or other items at discounts that range from 20 – 50%. Items that are in the Studio Sale may not be returned to the regular site if they don’t sell, but they may be offered in the Studio Sale up to six times. The artist sets the discount they are willing to accept and the 50% commission applies to the discounted price.
Full criteria and information about selling at Artful Home can be found here.
Cindy Grisdela is an artist, teacher and author of Artful Improv and Adventures in Improv Quilts. She resides in Reston, Virginia. www.cindygrisdela.com