First published Sunday, July 30th, 2017 on The American Tapestry Alliance blog
There is so much involved in entering exhibits. You have to sift through all the possibilities to find the exhibits your work would benefit from. Then you have the time consuming task of filling out the submission form and collecting all the required data. Once you’ve applied there is the wait for acceptance or rejection. If your work is rejected, you deal with that. If it’s accepted you have to keep track of when and where to ship your work, packaging, promoting your acceptance and ultimately see your work return home. There are a lot of steps and keeping track of all this is important. I’ve been submitting work to exhibits for a while now, and I came up with a system I’ll share with you that works for me.
It all begins with a spreadsheet of all my tapestries. It includes:
- title of work
- date completed
- size in inches H x W
- size in centimeters
- size if mounted
- price wholesale (my price)
- price retail (includes 50% for commission)
- location (home or show)
- shows each work has been in
- awards won by a specific piece
I titled this “Tapestry List” and keep updating as pieces move around, sell, prices change, etc.
To keep track of exhibits I developed another spreadsheet. It has evolved over the years to include:
- The name of the exhibit
- Entry deadline date
- Notification date
- Show date
- Ship by
- Returned by
- Restrictions (size, number of submissions allowed, completed after, etc.)
- Benefits (catalogue, foreign country, awards, highly respected venue or show, etc.)
- Work to submit
- Cost (At the end of the year I can see what I have spent on exhibit entry fees and shipping.)
I have five folders:
- EXHIBIT POSSIBILITIES
- OVER AND HOME
I begin with the folder marked EXHIBIT POSSIBILITIES. I keep an updated copy of my Tapestry List clipped to the inside. When I find an exhibit I want to consider I enter all the relevant information on the Exhibit spreadsheet. I also print a copy of the exhibit prospectus, highlight important information and make notes. If I decide not to enter a particular exhibit I cross out the information. Once I have submitted work to an exhibit I write APPLIED in red across the line on the Exhibit spreadsheet and move the prospectus into the APPLIED folder with a new copy of the spreadsheet where I copy over the relevant information. If the entry is rejected, I mark REJECTED in red, cross out the line and place the prospectus in the REJECTED file. If the work is accepted I mark the line ACCEPTED, I circle the tapestry that has been chosen and then copy the information onto another copy of the Exhibit spreadsheet which is in a folder marked ACCEPTED. I do this so that I can’t get confused about what is going where and double book a tapestry. When I receive shipping and other information from the show, I write that on the form. Once a piece is shipped I write SHIPPED across the line. When the work is returned home I cross out the line for that exhibit write DONE and move the prospectus in to the OVER AND HOME file. I used to throw out the rejected and completed information. Now I save them so I have a history of what I’ve done. I also use this to remind me of shows that repeat. In case I don’t receive notice I can use the old information go looking for a show online.
Since I’ve been using this system I have never double booked a tapestry, I always know where my work is and what shows I’m interested in. I also have an archive of what shows my work has been in. This is useful so I don’t apply for a show with the same work if it’s inappropriate. As long as I pay attention, I don’t miss deadlines either. I’m sure there’s an easier way to do this on the computer sans paper but this system works for me. Maybe it will work for you, or inspire you to come up with something better. If you do, please let me know.
Here are samples of a blank spreadsheet you can copy: