Nottingham's Surface Gallery currently has it's annual and excellent International Postcard Show on - running daily until Feb 14th when it closes at 5,00pm. Free to view, there is a vast range of art to admire and to buy, as it's all, everything, whatever the medium, whoever the artist, just £15. Some of what caught my eye is below:
As they display everything submitted, it's a great exhibition for seeing a variety of ideas, mediums and executions. You have no way of knowing who created what, or why, so there are no lines between professional or amateur artist. That angsty illustration may be by someone with a arts career, studio and political interests, or a redundancy package, biro and a grudge. This level playing field approach makes for interesting thinking, because everything in the International Postcard Show is treated equally, so you view it all equally, and give every piece the same attention.
Potter down there, and get a lot of art in a lot of small, yet perfect, doses.
We talk about shopping at independent shops, eating locally sourced food, buying handmade gifts – how about reading independently published books?
Recently I realised that about 80% of the ebooks I buy are independent or self-published books. Book-wise – rather than making friends with the popular kid in school, I’m searching out the interesting weirdos who hang around the drama department.
Just like any small business, independent authors have a lot of confidence in their product, and put a whole heap of time, effort and love into it. Without the promotional machines of big publishing houses, the author has to rely on his or her own talent at writing – which will then generate the word of mouth needed to promote the book. Rather than being read because it’s popular, an indie book is being read because it’s worthwhile.
But... if a big publisher won’t publish them, aren’t these books pants? Self-publishing does allow anyone to pitch their beloved, but poorly-realised and badly-spelled ideas into the wide world. However, reviews and peers make it easy to find the good reads, and you can very quickly tell a book's professionalism from free downloadable samples.
Many indie and self-published books are amazing ideas which big publishers feel “aren’t commercially viable at present”. Bear in mind tales of famous authors waiting for 10+ years before publishing houses took a chance on them – because they suddenly felt the market was swinging the right way. With genre (a catch-all term for science fiction, fantasy, horror and other 'niche' stories) especially, you’ll find fascinating and compelling reads, which bigger publishers overlook in favour of popular trends and crowd-pleasing formulas.
Buying self-published and indie books also often means more pennies going directly to the writer. Independent publishing houses can be a mixed bag: many of them face high costs, so authors trade the extra income of self-publishing for the extra exposure generated by a publisher. Self-published authors also face costs, but they also directly control things, and see more of your money in their end profit.
Just like shopping from small companies, reading independent or self-published books is rewarding all round. The people involved in the process see their great ideas and hard work recognised, and you get to enjoy reading a stand-out-from-the-crowd labour of love.
P.S. Don't like Amazon? These books are also all available through other channels! Also, if you don't have an ebook reader, there's software available for phones, tablets and computers that allow you to read them.
A crafts-person knows they are getting their craft right when people are willing to trade their hard earned cash for what the crafts-person has crafted.
A crafts-person knows they are getting the details right, from the designing to the making to the branding to the packaging and the customer service, when people are willing to trade their time for no personal gain, and let other folks know how much they liked it.
I'm feeling a bit warm and fuzzy today, as gifts evidently given over Christmas are now receiving feedback in my Etsy store. :)
I've just posted off my three submissions to Nottingham for Surface Gallery's annual International Postcard Show! I have two artsy entries, using my hand shaped Nottingham lace patterned stars, and watercolour tinted brass rubbings, and one silly entry. You can probably tell which is which in the picture above...
The Exhibition is on 16th January - 14th February 2015, and has hundreds of postcard sized pieces of art from around the world - almost all for sale at a flat rate of only £15 a piece. It's a great way to see a wide range of styles and medias, and pick up some affordable home decor or gifts.