Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit

Developing a Line of Work

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Sometimes it takes a while to develop a line of work.  It is so much fun to experiment and try different techniques.  You want to make one of every thing and you want to try and sell it all.  Yet, when you set up at a show or take your work to the local gallery and present a jumble of art the visual impact can be confusing or distracting.

When I decided to pursue a line of functional art, starting with wine bottle stoppers, I had a bit of fun trying different designs and bottle stopper shapes.  It was a good time to experiment and to learn what designs and colors sold well.  I also added business card cases and pens to my line and, sometime later, perfume pens.

As my line of functional art grew I began to sell my work in more consignment galleries and at local retail shows.  After some encouragement and lots of questions, I decided to enter the realm of wholesale sales with  This is when I realized that I had to choose a set of designs in order to provide some cohesiveness to my work.  My best selling items weren’t necessarily related to each other.  However common designs or patterns would give the items some unity. It would make production runs easier.  But which designs to choose?

I always enjoyed the Japanese metalworking technique of Mokume Gane as it was applied to polymer clay.  In one version in polymer clay you layer thin sheets of clay in a stack and press shapes and designs into the clay stack.  With a sharp blade you slowly remove portions of the impressed clay to reveal a new design.  Along with the mokume gane technique, I chose another surface design technique that involves the crazing of metallic acrylic paints on the surface of the clay.  I then applied these two techniques across my line of functional art. 

Now I had a line of work that looked cohesive because of the common designs and patterns.  Though each item was different individually, when they were displayed together the common designs gave a nice visual presentation.

Mokume Gane Stoppers  Mokume Gane card cases  Mokume Gane perfume pens

When developing a line of work, consider what techniques you like to use and your favorite colors.  What common denominator can you find? Can this be applied across the items you want to create?.  Think about the artists you like and what it is that makes their work look cohesive.

By providing cohesion in your line of work with colors and designs you can make and sell a variety of items that are not necessarily related.

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