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Documenting Your Basket Production
Ideas, tips and suggestions for tracking the baskets you make and sell.
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"Way back in the early 1980s I devised a method of documentation using a standard form. On the form I put the name of the art piece, date executed, file number, current date of record and documentation method--35 MM film, slides, drawing, black & white still, etc.... "
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 Related Resources
• Basketmaking Tips
• Signing Your Baskets
• Basketry Business
• Photography Resources
• Prepare to enter shows
Beginning Basketry

 Elsewhere on the Web
• Using Digital Cameras
• Artist Statements
• Write Artists Statement 

As you begin to market your baskets, or even if you give them as gifts to family and friends, you should sign them. Another good idea is to document each basket you produce. It is a good way to allow the basket to be identified in years to come, keep track of how you made it and track where each basket goes. We have been discussing a variety of options in the BasketMakers Forum. I have gathered these ideas for documenting your baskets from several sources, including the forum. Thanks to everyone who contributed to these tips.

  • Sign your basket with a waterproof fine black marker on the handle or on the weavers at the underside of your basket adding a date or sequential number starting from your first basket. Record these numbers in a notebook.
  • Use a coded numbering system that will allow you to track your production volume or who each basket was sold to. For example: Use the year and a sequence of baskets within that year (#35-2001).
  • Sign your basket and then take a picture of it. Store the picture, with the pattern or project notes you made when making it, in a binder as documentation of your project.
  • Create a "collector's record card". Print it out on a postcard sized page. Include lines for the buyer or collector's name, address, their signature and whether they bought it for themselves or for a gift. Keep these cards on file. Use the information to add to your mailing list. Let your previous customers know when you will be participating in a show near them.
  • Create a standardized form to document your creation of each basket. Tailor it to your own needs, but include things like the name of the piece, date executed, coded number, date completed, time it took to produce, materials used, technique used, construction notes or pattern used. Include a space for 35 MM print, slides, drawing, black & white photo, print-out of a digital file or other graphic representation of the finished piece or the steps involved. Include entries for where the piece was exhibited, what galleries represented it, an artist's statement about the piece and who the piece was eventually sold to.
  • Photograph each piece from a variety of angles. Include overall shots from several sides and especially the underside. Take close-up shots of any important details.
  • Have professional shots taken of pieces you expect to submit to exhibits or galleries. Include a range of photography formats to cover the need for color slides for jurying, large format images for print, color prints for portfolios, black and white prints for newspaper promotion and digital images for web production.

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