It is probably bad form for me to share publicly a letter/email sent just to me, however, the following response I received this morning from Luana Rubin was illuminating:
Thanks for your question!
This is a purely a fundraiser for SAQA. Anyone who participates (including myself) is doing it gratis to support the organization. In return they will have their name on the selvedge and in the marketing materials.
For someone looking to get their foot in the door for being a commercial fabric designer, it could be a great opportunity! If you’d rather get paid
for designing your own collection, you can go directly to the fabric companies and show your portfolio, of course.
SAQA is creating the opportunity for aspiring designers and SAQA will receive the benefits – which benefits all of us who are SAQA members.
Speaking as someone who has worked in commercial textile design for over 30 years, I can say that the easy part is creating the artwork. The larger amount of effort and time to merchandise, produce, ship and market the collection will be done for the artists.
If you don’t see a value in the project for yourself, you are certainly free to not participate, or to approach fabric manufacturers directly to do your own collection.
I am donating a significant amount of time to this project to support SAQA. If you have further questions we can certainly try to make our aims more clear, but I do ask you not to interfere with this fundraiser for SAQA, which will also attract new members.
Our goal is to promote, expand and support SAQA, which I hope you can also support.
I hope that answers your question.
I have also received emails from artists and designers who think this is a great idea, so lets be positive and support this great organization!
I appreciate the prompt response and understand what she is saying. In short, something I, as a SAQA member, might like to see done (and think is actually possible) would be to change the promotion for an “Opportunity for SAQA Members” to “A New Kind of Fundraiser for SAQA.” Perhaps that would sit better with me and a few others.
I’ve been trying to figure out why I am OK with the annual benefit auction and not OK with this. I think it is because when we are donating a small piece of art we can often choose something that we have already created, or we can decide just how much time and effort we are willing to put into it. Perhaps I am mistaken, but to create a collection of six coordinating fabric designs with market appeal (and potentially do that multiple times as is allowed in the contest), would be similar to creating six pieces of art to donate — and I don’t think I’ve ever seen even the most ardent SAQA supporter submit six pieces to the annual auction.
As an aside, I HAVE tried my hand at fabric design. I created a collection of Modern Tropical designs (click on Kunia in my sidebar to see them at Spoonflower) which I sent to Free Spirit, Moda, Timeless Treasures, Alexander Henry, Island Treasures and Trendtex. My designs were either rejected, or the company creates all their designs in-house. So yes, I have approached manufacturers directly as Luana suggested I could do if I wished to be paid for my efforts. I suppose since the designing is, as she stated, the easy part, I should take this rejection as proof that I don’t have any talent in this arena. Maybe I can’t even hack it as an artist since payment and exposure are not coming easy to me. Of course, I only mailed my proposals and samples. I could have tried harder by paying for a plane ticket to Houston, and several nights at a hotel, plus paying a baby sitter to watch my kids while I was away, and shown my portfolio and samples directly and in-person to manufacturers at Quilt Market. BUT, since my work as an artist is easy and not worth paying for, I don’t have the bank account to support that kind of investment. I do agree that the marketing, sales, and promotion of fabric designs, and most any other kind of art, is difficult and time intensive, and I appreciate Andover’s offer, but even galleries (who also take care of the hard part) share 40 to 60 percent of the proceeds with their artists.
I want to continue to support, and be supported by, SAQA and I will try not to let this one project turn me sour. I think I have said my peace and will retreat to my corner as requested. While I am not quite ready to let my SAQA membership or participation lapse, it may be time for me to return to my “no new, off the bolt, fabric for me” rule as a small protest.
NEW: Due to the lively exchange of ideas on the SAQA discussion board, the parameters of the project have been changed to something more favorable to SAQA’s artist/designer members. See the new Call here. I am happy to have possibly been a part of this change. However, I personally still feel stung by the original Call for Entries, and that my (or any other artist’s) part in the process is the “easy” (and by inference, inconsequential) portion, so I still choose not to participate. I wish all the other SAQA members who submit designs all the best and I hope to see the resulting collection well received at Market.