There has been a marked increase in the inquiries about stained glass classes received by Artists in Stained Glass. This is a heart warming trend. This is evidence that people are starting to have some disposable income, that there is an upswing in handcrafted items having greater value and appreciation and a desire to learn something that creates beauty. It has been six difficult months for many of our friends in the United States and even here at home, the economic downturn has left its cruel depression in far too many places. So these inquiries are good news.
It's delightful to receive emails from visitors to the AISG website, from around the world. Many wonder about the benefits of membership for them in these distant places. One of the AISG reasons for being, is to promote stained glass - everywhere. Our gallery is still growing, we don't have representation from many places across Canada, let alone the United States or the rest of the world. As the membership grows, these areas will fill in. This will only strengthen our website. Right now, I unfortunately have to refer far too many inquirers back to their local yellow pages, in hopes of finding an answer to their search. It is a missed opportunity for everyone in stained glass. Unless that inquiring individual is very determined, their excitement and curiosity has just been turned into disappointment and frustration, likely leading to nothing happening. This further translates to no work for the stained glass industry. Many small scaled artists don't advertise in the yellow pages, or artists just starting out might not have a web page of their own. It makes it very difficult for the buying public to find you. This is where AISG can offer the member excellent web presence and give the public an opportunity to see your work and learn a bit about you. When a good relationship is forged, it is long lasting.
Managing the website has afforded my talking with many stained glass people. There is a common theme, the fascination with the quality of light that stained glass produces. Whether it is buried in our subconscious that we recognize the deep spiritual connection that is the history of stained glass that tweaks our interest into our first taking a beginner's course, or whether something more practical, like making a handmade gift or something pretty for the home, stained glass has the ability to captivate the imagination in a way very distinct from the other arts. This magical translucent material, hard yet fragile, workable in so many ways, not only flat nor three dimensionally, but also, painted, sandblasted, fused, or traditionally assembled, it is a medium that transcends the mundane.
My sense is that this recent increase in inquiries speaks to our need as human beings to make sense of difficult times, that when things get tough we want to simplify, to enjoy activities that are creative, that encourage self satisfaction and simple pride in the fact - that I built that.
So - to all you stained glass artists who were thinking that it costs too much or that joining won't be a benefit to you, I say think again. AISG has had over 30 years of being on the web. That's a very long time to be on the internet. And despite all the wonderful stained glass sites that have come - and gone, AISG still has excellent page positioning and a dedicated core of members that benefit from AISG traffic and exposure, you can too.
Won't you join us today? The yearly membership fee is modest. Your gallery page with up to five images is usually created within twenty four hours of payment. You can change images as often as you wish, include a short biography and promote classes.
Lastly - a reminder that the founder of AISG, Robert Jekyll will be speaking at the American Glass Guild conference in Buffalo, next week. Hope to see some of you there!