Jane Pollak Logo

Jun 5, 2023

Action – Outcome – NEXT!


Fifty years ago – it was the summer of 1973. I put my decorated eggs on display at the Pink Tent Festival in Stamford, CT.

Prior to exhibiting, I had brought a carton of completed pysanky (aka Ukrainian Easter eggs) to be approved by a member of the selection committee.
At the show I arranged my work on a folding card table, covered by a tablecloth. My price point was $8 per egg which could be paid in cash or by check. Accepting credit cards at craft shows was still a thing of the future.

Complete strangers came to my booth and gave me money for my art. They carried away their purchases in Grade A egg cartons. In addition to the $200 I made that weekend, I met the Special Events Director from the local Bloomingdale’s who invited me to conduct an egg decorating workshop the following spring.
I left the festival thinking, “It is so easy to make money selling your art.”
I’ve learned so much since then. I am aware that it is not easy to make money selling one’s art.

Fifty years later, on Mother’s Day 2023, I put my work out for sale – one-of-a-kind handmade pillows and wall hangings. I’d visited the Chelsea West Elm store in March and showed a recent magazine spread of my pillows to the gentleman in charge of selecting local artists. He immediately signed me up to exhibit. 

This time I had a 3’ by 6’ table, and hired a stylist to merchandise my pieces.

Instead of a weekend, my exhibition was viewable from noon to 5 pm. I used Square to accept payments.
While my sales were multiples of that first experience, I’d hoped for more. I again made a significant connection, meeting Ragna Froda in person. Ragna is the Director of the New York Textile Month which is coming up this September. She encouraged me to create an event during that period.


My 20-something self, full of uninformed optimism, thought art-selling to be a straightforward endeavor. With decades of craft shows under my belt, and a hiatus from the art market for nearly twenty years, I’m more realistic about the challenges and rewards.
A wise artist I follow on Instagram, @MaryLittle, mentioned in her comments, “I sell when my collectors are ready to buy, not when I’m ready to sell.” She often hears, “I’ve been following you for years and I’m now ready to buy.”
Ragna had followed me on Instagram and visited me at West Elm that Sunday. You’ve been following my progress and appreciate not only the quality of the work, but also the behind-the-scenes activities I share with you here. My major sale at West Elm was to a dear friend who was able to view the whole array of my art and select her favorite that day.
Every time we take an action, there are outcomes. I’ve learned that friends and followers are my strongest market. My beloved college professor, (Hi, Jim!) who has watched me grow as an artist all these years, purchased three pillows: one for himself, one for his son, and one for his daughter.
I’ve also learned that I need to take up more space than a tabletop. I am now looking for venues where there is wall space, shelf space, as well as a sofa or club chair or two on which to spread out my work and show it as it might be used in a home.
On my list for future collaborative events, perhaps for NYC Textile Month, are Bergdorf Goodman’s (7th Floor), Herman Miller, Design Within Reach, and Roche Bobois. I would love your suggestions as well.
When I was deep in the throes of online dating, a good friend informed me that the most important 4-letter word to keep in mind was: NEXT. You can apply that to any partnership you are seeking, including a relationship in the art world. Taking that advice, post West Elm, I’m open to exploring my next NEXT.

A Possible Comment Tag Line Here


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.