Archive for the ‘Business of Art’ Category

How does every other artist cope with this time of year — Tax day is looming.  For my husband and myself, who together form “ResslerArt,” it is nerve-wracking.

Our income has pretty straightforward categories: Consignment sales (galleries who themselves take care of sales tax, and we only report the income) Studio and art fair sales (we report and pay sales tax and income tax), teaching, awards, and reimbursements (which are not taxable.)

Somehow it seemed like a good idea to me, at a certain point during 2016, to stop keeping the detailed ledger of expenses I had been keeping.

Bad idea.

We ended up having to re-create it, painstakingly, receipt by receipt for the year.

The expense ledger columns heads are from IRS categories: “Materials,” “Supplies” (yes they are different.  You use “supplies” on “materials.” Supplies get used up faster. For us the number one item is ink for our printers.)  “Office Expenses” and “Office Supplies” (again — they are different.  Office Expenses are like computers and printers.  Supplies are like paper clips.)

There are many categories that we never fill up — wage labor for example. But I have columns for them anyway.  You never know!

I set up a temporary table near Jay’s computer, with my laptop, big notebooks of paper records, and my laptop with ledgers.  Luckily we have always worked well together, so as frustrating as the process is, we never once struck or harmed the other person.

Swearing at the language of the tax forms is another matter. (Thank goodness for Google.  I was constantly looking up the difference between one thing and another). But I fear our verbal abuses fell on deaf ears.

Anyway, we came out about even on our business income and expenses, and overall get a refund this year.

Now I’m happy!

taxes

I’m looking forward to April 22-23 for the first ever Art Plus Gallery home studio tour.  Jay and I will open up our studio on those days to visitors.  We are planning demonstrations, refreshments, door prizes, and are hoping the garden is in bloom.

Studio Tour in Wyomissing Neighbors

Tickets can be purchased at the Gallery, 604 Penn Ave, West Reading, PA 19611, on line, or at any of the studios on the tour. The address of ours is 15 Rocktown Road, Hamburg, PA, 19526. The tour is from 10 AM to 4 PM both days.

The attached article is from Wyomissing Neighbors.

If you are anywhere close, come on by!

We’d love to see you.

 

Just as I head off to Italy (today!) for vacation #2, I finished my first piece based on our trip to South Africa last month.

I made the linoleum blocks based on my quick sketches in the back of the open “safari-mobile” in which we traversed the bushvelt, on the lookout for the “Big 5.” This is a term widely used in Africa.  It’s origin was in hunting.  The “Big 5” were the hardest and most dangerous animals to hunt: Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Cape Buffalo. Now their images grace the South African currency (with Nelson Mandela on the obverse.) And seeing them is a benchmark of success for your photo safari.

We didn’t get to see a Leopard.  They are the one animal which has the ability to cross in and out of the huge, fenced reserve.  Nor the Cape Buffalo.  It is nocturnal, and our brief 3 day visit did not include night time drives.

The Rhino here is a White Rhinoceros. They feed on grass, and their heads are always down.  The Black Rhino feeds on leaves of trees, and their heads are up.  They are more dangerous, as they can charge any time for virtually no reason.  Both are endangered. They are killed for their horn which is mistakenly said to have aphrodisiac powers.

This little piece will be a donation to the “Spotlight” Auction which is an annual tradition at the SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates) conference. This year it is in Lincoln, NE, and I will be attending.

my-first-safari-6-x-8

I haven’t blogged for a few weeks as we took a fabulous trip to South Africa.  Beforehand I was immersed in preparation, and afterwards I’ve been catching up with myself. More on the artistic inspirations from that trip at another time!

Today I’m getting ready for my first ever Hand Embroidery class, which commences Saturday.

I made a PowerPoint presentation to get students’ creative juices flowing.  Thank you Pinterest and the artists who posted these wonderful images, and many more.

I bought supplies: markers (air and water disappearing and heat transfer markers), thread –6 strand and Perle (5 and 8 weights) — cloth, fusible tear away stabilizer and of course, needles! I’m sticking with embroidery needles size 5-10.

materials

After the presentation, and I explain the tools and materials, we’ll start right in with the stitches.  I’m going to limit it to running stitch, back stitch, blanket stitch and French Knot. If there’s time I’ll add chain stitch, seed stitch and couching.  You can create a world out of those, with their multiple variations.

 

I’m fortunate that my artist friend Cristina Saucedo has allowed me to use her delightful pen and ink drawings as embroidery templates for my students.

I hope someone decides to use them.

Wish me luck. Meanwhile I’m doing a lot more embroidery myself.  More on that later!

My art quilt friend Jenny Lyons, in her blog yesterday, mentioned a technique of using a large print in the center of a piece, and building the composition around it.

Jenny Lyons

She said she’d gotten the inspiration from Linda Waddle years ago:

Jenny on Linda Waddle

I was pleased to know this is actually “a thing,” because I just finished a piece using this technique.  In my head I was calling it using a “Photo starter.”  Jenny called it “Print Starter.”  Same difference! My photo print on cloth was 8.5 x 11,” and of course I wanted my quilt to be larger than that.

About a year ago I had taken a photo of one of my neighbor’s bone pile of rusty cars that he uses to cannibalize for parts. I’d printed the image on cloth, meaning to get back to it.  Which, finally I did.

First I backed it with just one piece of cloth, put it in my embroidery hoop, and started stitching on it.  I used simple stitches: French knots, big wonky cross stitches, and running stitches.

Then I designed “the surround” and cut and put that together using raw edge applique. I used fabrics that complemented the central photo. I included photos printed on silk that I’d taken at the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum while on a recent visit. You can see them peeking through here and there.

Now I had the entire composition, so I made my quilt sandwich and kept hand stitching.  Now each stitch served the function of both embroidering and quilting. The finished size is 23 x 17.5.”

rusty-musty-fusty-small

I won’t lie.  This took at least 2 weeks.

The part I like best is where I painstakingly combined individual strands of embroidery floss to get just the right mixture of colors. Here is a detail of that area.

rusty-musty-fusty-detail-2

I’m calling the piece Rusty Musty Fusty, and submitting it to a show called Muse at Studio B in Boyertown, PA. Curator Jane Stahl encourages literary submissions as well, so I made up this poem.  Though I’m not so sure it gets many “literary” kudos!

Rusty Musty Fusty

By Martha Ressler

 

Yo!  I like ‘em rusty and musty

Old city factories all scruffy

And in the country so crusty

They were cars or trains, all them parts so fusty

Lying around — almost art — a little fuzzy

The sun makes you just

Lovely though scruffy

That’s OK I’m not fussy

I’ll take you thusly

Beauty all rusty.

I sent in my piece for the SAQA Trunk show in time for the deadline.  It is, somehow, the first time I’ve participated in this great concept.

My piece is called “Of Trees and History.” It’s an “out take” from a piece that was a study for “The Secrets It has Kept,” inspired by my visit to the 500 year old Angel Oak in South Carolina. I color shifted: orange for green on the tree, and turquoise for the trunk color.

This small section thus become an abstract.  It really was the best part of the original piece.  Sometimes that is what you need to do!  Cut it up.

SAQA ( Studio Art Quilts Associates) organizes members to submit small (10 x 7”) art quilts.  They will be mounted on a 12 x 9” backing board and sealed inside a clear envelope. The artist’s location, artwork title, statement and information about techniques and materials will be on the back.

There are about 400 pieces in the Trunk show, and they are then divided into groups to travel.

Our Pennsylvania chapter of SAQA reserved the Trunk Show last year for one of our meetings.  It was so much fun to lay them all and look at each one – so very different in style and technique. And yes, they did arrive in a real trunk!

This year’s Trunk Show will premiere at the 2017 SAQA Conference, which will be held at the end of April in Lincoln, NE. After that, it will travel to venues both in and out of the United States for up to 3 years.

You can make reservations for the 2017 Trunk Show, available in May, by contacting William Reker at shipping@saqa.com.  I think the cost is about $50.

I’m thinking about how to bring it to Reading, PA in the coming year.

SAQA Trunk Show

of-trees-and-history

 

A local gallery made a video of the artists (all artist couples) who participated in their show “Til Death Do Us Art.” My husband, Jay Ressler, and I were two of the couples included in the show.

Here is our video, fresh off the editing table!  It’s very short — don’t worry — we won’t go on and on!

The videos were made by Zachary Reinert.  Thank you Zach, and Jane Stahl of Studio B who organized this.

URL:

See Video here