Rhubarb artists are many things; edgy, interesting, creative…and industrious. We got wind of a Rhubarb show that has found a way to make a little extra on the side. Members of [color]Faye Slift and the Three Bears[/color], a choose your own adventure drag show, have made limited edition collectors plates – with glitter. We asked [color]Trixie & Beever[/color] to tell us a little more about choosing their own entrepreneurial adventure
It’s never a surprise when the creative impulse outstrips a budget, is it? Although we were allotted quite a decent budget for a festival, and our fabulous collaborators have generously offered their talents gratis, we wanted to find a little extra money to throw their way in recognition of their time and efforts. Crowd-sourcing platforms like Indiegogo and the like are an excellent resource for creators to fund their projects, and if done well, generate a feeling of inclusiveness with donors. But being the crafty types we are, we had to go another way.
We decided to use the resources and skills that we have at our disposal to make something tangible to offer for sale. That’s our “day job” after all, making and selling accessories and home decor products. So what could we make that was different from our regular product line, and suitable for the flavour of Fay Slift and the Three Bears? How about a limited-edition collector plate? Kitschy! Unusual! Food-related! It was perfect.
With an excellent bunch of promo photos to work with (courtesy of David Hawe), the plate itself was the canvas that needed to be located. We sourced some good-quality plain white ones from a housewares store… that was going out of business. We bought all 12 of the ones they had. Then came the trial-and-error portion of the exercise, using a specialty “waterslide” inkjet media we had purchased for another project several years ago. It took a few tries, but I managed to find the right balance of ink saturation and sealant that would hold up to the transfer process. While I was swearing, Ange started hand-painting one of the semi-successful prototypes, and we both liked the result. I added our signature – glitter – to the plate edge and the front was done. To complete the effect, we designed a label for the back of the plate that aped the form of real collector plates, including edition numbers and “approved by” with the signature of our star, Fay Slift.
With our product completed, we moved on to the marketing. We photographed the plate and wrote a little copy about it – of course with links to the show info on the Rhubarb site. Again, using the resources we have, we added a “special projects” subcategory and a new product to our existing webstore platform (a quick shopping cart by godaddy if anyone’s interested; we would seriously recommend Etsy too). Here’s the finished product page! We’ve already been using our 2 blogs to talk about the festival and have added links to the webstore, and social media will play a prominent part in getting things moving. An email blast (we love MailChimp) is also planned.
This is an experiment – albeit not a rigorously scientific one – so we don’t know what the results will be. One friend and awesome arts-patron has already ordered #1, so we’re excited to see how the response is once we actively publicize the idea and link. Of course this is not a solution to a budget-crunch; rather it’s another opportunity to create, play and find inspiration that will enrich the already inter-disciplinary reality of our collective cultural production.