Friday, March 16, 2012

The importance of signing your work.

There are so many reasons why we should always sign our works. The first, and most important to me, is the future of the piece, and the folks that will one day hold it. You want your loved ones to see that piece of you, each time they look at the piece that you worked so hard to make.

Who knows where your work will end up in the future? If it is not signed, you can probably bet it will be found at a thrift shop, and for about 99 cents. However, if it has been signed, folks are more likely to treat it as a piece of art. A true one of a kind treasure, versus a million copy rip off.

The simple act of signing our work does not make it worth more, but it shows that it is a one of a kind. If you pick up a piece, and it has an artists’ signature or sign on it, you can bet that there are not dozens of those pieces for sale at some tourist trap location. You are holding a person’s hard work, and that artist needed the world to know that they made it by hand.

I think the word that I am dancing around here is provenance. Provenance, from the French provenir, "to come from", refers to the chronology of the ownership or location of a historical object.

You do not want your masterpiece being placed on the knick knack shelf, along with countless windmills and salt shakers, right? No, you want people to look up the artist, and learn as much about the artist as possible. This will only happen if they know who you are.

Think about some of the master painters and their paintings. There are some paintings out there that would have a big historical significance, if the artist had only signed the work. We are fairly sure that a
particular painter painted it, but we can never say so as a 100 percent fact. Why? They failed to sign them.

So, with that said, how do we sign our carvings and sculptures?

We sign our work with what we have available. Believe it or not, people use markers, pencils, and like devices, and then coat the signatures with a coating of some sort. This method is personable, but perhaps not the best. Why? Well, it lowers the perceived value of the work.

Some folks use tools like a scribe to engrave their names or seal. That is better, but if not done well, the same thing may happen. Your seal represents everything you will ever make, have ever made, and the level of skill level that you consider yourself. Simply putting a scribble on your carving, with a marker, almost says that you are not expecting to get very much for your work. This is not always the case, as people love autographs and the like, but as far as carvings go, make your mark look worthy of your asking price. Make people want to collect your work. Make it look as if your work will only go up in value. How? A stamp!

I had this design in mind, and spent about an hour in Photoshop getting it right. Then I submitted the jpeg to InfinityStamps, and in only a couple of weeks, I had a stamp. This will be my “mark”. I feel that it looks professional, and it lets people know that I worked hard on the carving that they are holding.

It is a wood stamp, and it is in reverse of the submitted artwork. I will strike the stamp with a gentle hammer blow, and forever leave my “mark” on the carvings that I carve. I paid about 200 dollars in total, and that will come back to me in no time. My carvings may not be worth more, per say, but they will be worth more to the folks that own them.

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