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Cala Lily - An Elaine Deyo tiny tapestry measuring 2 1/2 inches by 3 inches.

Well, let me list just some of the ways that you can own wonderful original art and fine craft. Let me tell you how you can afford to hang one-of-a-kind paintings, fine tapestries, (many weeks were in the weaving of them); on your walls, display gorgeous sculpture on your fireplace mantle, and have marvelous stained glass as your very own windows, hand made just for you by a skilled glass artist.

Normally, it can be within your income to dress your dinner table with rustic or classic hand-woven place mats, tablecloths, or table runners. Place fine, high-end, one-of-a-kind decorations on your holiday tree, and a unique handmade wreath on you front door.

Gift your toddler, or someone elses, with superior wooden toys. Not those shabbily made ones imported from manufacturers who don't care about child safety. You know the kind. They're available in every store, including the high-end specialty stores. Instead, you can buy hand-crafted wooden toys directly from a skilled artisan who takes pride in what he makes.

But think about this! How can you be certain that what you like is real art? What is real art, anyway? And what is fine craft?

Good news! Opinions about what constitutes real art or fine craft are subjective. That means you get to decide what is real, and what is fine.

Every individual makes judgements based upon personal experience, personal opinion, and personal taste, not to mention what he/she believes those who are classed as authorities think.

Recognized fine art and fine craft experts do that too. And indeed, many have earned an education in art appreciation and art history. But when all is said and done, personal opinion and personal taste influence those experts, too. Later, this unique mix of formal education and personal taste gets passed on to us in a sales presentation. Perhaps in an art gallery setting.

Because we sometimes believe that others know what we should like, we let those people influence our choices. Sometimes prospective purchases of art are so intimidated by what they think they should know, and do not, wonderful opportunites to own original fine art and fine craft are missed.

You see, when the same things that we are driven by, opinion and personal tast, drive art experts too, those people are under further pressure of duty to place of employment and fidelity to educational background.

But the knowledge of another may not be a good thing when it prevents you from possessing affordable art and craft objects around you. Things you are strongly attracted to, things that add depth, color, and visual excitement, to your daily life. Many of these are things you can well afford to buy for yourself.

And here is more good news: Art is anything made by an artist that is meant, by the artist, to be art. But how can you tell if what you like is good art? The answer to that is, if you like it, then it's good art.

What then, when so much great original art is available at so many places and at reasonable prices, prevents some people from buying?

It's usually the same things that prevent us from venturing into other unfamiliar territories:

  1. The fear of appearing to be ignorant
  2. The fear of making a mistake and then looking foolish
  3. Actual lack of knowledge about the many forms of art
  4. Not knowing how to locate affordable art
  5. Worry about overpaying or of being cheated by unscrupulous dealers

Extraordinary two-dimensional and three-dimensional art is offered at every street fair:

  1. Oils, Acrylics
  2. Watercolors, Pastals
  3. Metal, Glass, Sculpture
  4. Fiber: Rugs, Home Textiles, Tapestry

Emerging modern versions of ancient mediums, like Felt Art, (sculpted or framed), Wood Carvings, Jewelry, and others, all original, are available in abundance at prices no higher than those prints and mass produced items made of plastics, imported and sold by the many thousands at department stores in every mall.

At art fairs wood carvers create right in front of your eyes, thereby gifting you with a deep understanding of the time, skill, and imagination, that goes into their exquisite works of art. Sometimes you'll be privileged to see hand weavers working at their loom, weaving rugs, quality household textiles, or intricate tapestries.

Both professionally skilled two-dimentional and three-dimentional artists and fine-craft artists prepare for art fairs months in advance of the shows. Some lay the groundwork an entire year in advance for just one three day art fair. Others schedule a number of art fairs each year, and continue to make their art every free on-site hour, even while manning their booths and selling their fine art and craft.

Artist sites: Artist sites abound on the Internet and offer every kind of art imaginable. Enter your search words. Usually any decriptive word combination will do: Art for sale online, watercolor art, paintings for sale, tapestry, felt art, textile art, etc. You will have your choice of many individual artist sites, online galleries, and sellers groups, to help you to choose the kind of art you desire for your home and business, and at almost any price, often beginning at fifty dollars or less. Of course, the more confident, skilled and experienced the artist, the better price he or she can command. If you can't find affordable art on the Internet, you just haven't been trying.

Online auctions: There are many opportunites to bid on original art on auction sites online. Prices range from the ridiculously low, (often partially made up for by inflated shipping costs), and into the many thousands of dollars. Every genre is represented, so seach those genres in which you are most interested. Here also is the opportunity to view other types of art. You could be surprised at what you will find. You may even discover an art category you have never heard of and make it your new favorite.

Check out some of these:

  1. Watercolors, Oils, Acrylics, Pastels
  2. Sculpture
  3. Photography
  4. Decorative
  5. Fine Craft
  6. Fiber - Felt, Handwoven Textiles, Tapestry, Mixed Media
  7. Pottery
  8. Glass
  9. Metal
  10. Jewelry - Silversmithing, Goldsmithing, Precious and Semi-precious stones

Don't expect to pay rock-bottom prices. We're talking about art and artists here. Think of what you are paid in your own line of work. How much are you paid by the hour? Are you on a set salary? Does your company provide benefits?

An artist must make a living too, and pay him/her self from what is sold. You get what you pay for, just as your employer gets what he/she pays for. (At least we hope that your earn what you are paid): Your knowledge and expertise, your history on the job, your educational background, and your position in the company.

For instance, a tapestry can take an artist months to complete. Sometimes more than a year. That's not to mention the cost of supplies, studio costs, insurance, and the personal expenses everyone has to pay for to survive.

If you're shaky about your knowledge of art values, watch the bidding on auction sites to see what happens to the final prices of the kinds of art you are contemplating for your own use.

Local art galleries, artist co-ops, and personal artist studios, are excellent sources for obtaining original art at prices within reach of the ordinary consumer.

  1. Artist colonies: Artist colonies consist of a collection of artists creating various kinds of two-dimensional and three-dimensional art. They are organized with the purpose of accomplishing various goals. An important one is to demonstrate to the public, and to art students, the actual processes of making art. The participants of artist colonies sponsor occasional free events.
  2. Festivals: Ideally meant to be a spectacular showcase of various art media, in an appropriate setting, art is offered for sale to all and sundry. Art festivals are usually community-sponsored in conjunction with major local celebrations, and are usually well advertised. Festivals are usually attened by thousands. Music and other entertainment are often provided. Food vendors are usually on-site, and plentiful. Festivals are often held on national holidays such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and celebrations close to Christmas and other religious holidays.
  3. Gallery Walks: Advertised, organized, visits to galleries in a set area. Usually recurring at predetermined intervals. For instance, on a certain day each month, or a one weekend function, once or twice a year, or seasonally. These are generally set up by local or regional art associations to benefit the membership. These are called art hikes by some, so be forewarned. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  4. Artist Studio Tours: Here are opportunities to view the work of the artist. If you find something wonderful, you can purchase the work directly from the artist.
  5. Artist Co-ops: A Group of artists making various kinds of art gather together to form a special kind of business called a Co-op. They share all the costs of a facility. This set-up allows the artists to work in a well-equipped studio in the company of like-minded people. Co-ops are sometimes open to the public during normal working hours, and other times special arrangement can be made to view the artist processses and be permitted to purchase orginal works.
  6. Private Gallery: A business like any other. Art is juried by gallery personel. If accepted for showing and for sale, the art is left on consignment. The gallery takes a share of sale proceeds to pay for facility expenses and to make a profit. The remainder is paid to the artist. Regular business hours are kept.

To discover your true taste in art, pay attention to those things that continue to attract you when shopping. That attraction is a clue to the kinds of art you may want to collect. You'll notice colors that you love to have around you. They may already be an important part of your home or office decor. Pay attention to shapes that excite or that calm you. Eventually a clear pattern will emerge.

Get started on the great discovery journey today, because you now know that you can find wonderful originial art for your home or business at prices that fit well within your budget.

Good art is available everywhere. You only have to be willing to look for it.