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Artist Spotlight: Theresa Angelo

Artist Spotlight: Theresa Angelo

Theresa Angelo, Minneapolis, MN

Lost & Bound BookArts is fine craft hand bound books designed and produced by Theresa Angelo. Theresa resides in a Minneapolis artist loft community on the Mississippi River with studio space in an old-school bindery in St. Paul. She combines hand binding techniques with computer formatted pages to create books with fine and re-purposed leathers and specialty papers. Covers are finished using a mid-century foil stamper, beads, buttons, snaps and found objects making each book one-of-a-kind. Theresa creates these blank art books with the sense that they’re a collaboration— unfinished until someone uses them. They become art for everyone, everyday.
 
Describe your work.
My focus in book design beyond function and the comfort of the end user, is color, pattern and texture. Often it seems the leather dictates the character of the piece, as I like to maintain the raw edges of the hide. A word stamped on the cover or included in the text block may also lead the way. I practice the medieval long stitch binding tradition most often in creating my line of hand bound books. The variation of pattern with long stitch book binding is endless, which leads me to think myself a fiber artist, although my books are primarily leather and paper.

 
How did you get started in the crafts business?
I earned my fine arts degree in the 80's and spent the next 20 years making a living on my computer as a graphic artist. I wasn't a great match for the corporate work environment and I itched to work with my hands again.  
  
How long have you been wholesaling?
I began wholesaling in 2009 when I was rep'ed by a 4 man team catering to book sellers. My husband's significant health issues derailed this, but I've recently reconnected and expect to sign with this team again soon.  I have been consigning locally since 2005.
 
What percentage of your business is Wholesale? Retail? Commission, etc.?
Not nearly enough! 50-60% of my revenue comes from commissions for custom books and high end marketing pieces. The balance of my income is derived from my 3 wholesale accounts, a handful of consignment shops and retail sales events.
  
What are your top 3 marketing methods for reaching new buyers?
I'm researching this.
  
How has IndieMe helped your business?
The 3 wholesale accounts I'm claiming are through the ACRE Philadelphia event.
  
What advice do you have for new craft artists?
Art buyers are sold the artist not just the art work. How do present and sell yourself? Sell them your story, your style, your work...
Set a schedule which includes the business of your business along with the production of your products. To make a living with your creative work you need to be whole-brained (not merely left-brained), persistent, and optimistic. Never give up!
  
What advice do you have for new craft galleries?
When an artist has gotten to the point of wholesaling their craft they are serious about creating for a market. Share buying trends with your artists. Suggest direction on what sells within their medium.

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