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Tips for purchasing your first art materials

Tips for purchasing your first art materials

When I started with my fibre art, I was mesmerised by the various colours and types of fibres available. Excited, I felt compelled to collect every shade and type of fibre I came across, leading to a large ‘stash’, much of which I have never used. If I could do it over, I would approach purchasing my materials differently (and save myself a lot of money). Many of us can relate to the thrill of beginning something new and feeling the need to have a complete set of everything immediately.

Human nature is what it is, and the excitement of starting something new can lead us to overcommit. However, a more measured approach can save time, money, and storage space, ultimately leading to a more sustainable and enjoyable art practice.

When I took a picture framing course, my tutor advised us to take our time buying all the tools and materials discussed in class. He suggested waiting until the course was over to consider whether this was a path we genuinely wanted to pursue and then decide if we wanted to invest in the equipment. This advice turned out to be extremely wise.

There are two schools of thought regarding starting a new art practice. The first suggests beginning with high-quality materials. This approach helps you get a feel for the medium and achieve better results, but it can be expensive, especially if you decide not to continue with the pursuit.

The second school of thought recommends starting with more budget-friendly entry-level materials that allow for experimentation without a significant financial commitment. However, the lower quality of these materials might result in less satisfying outcomes, which could be discouraging.

Tips for smart purchasing:

  • Assess your commitment: Before making significant purchases, give yourself time to ensure this is a long-term interest.

  • Start small: Begin with a limited palette or selection of materials essential for your initial projects.

  • Quality vs quantity: Decide whether it’s more important to have a variety of low-quality materials or to invest in a few high-quality ones.

  • Learn and experiment: Use your initial supplies to experiment and learn what works best for your style and technique.

  • Gradual investment: Once you have a clearer idea of your preferences and needs, gradually invest in better or more varied materials.

You can build a more efficient and cost-effective art practice by taking a thoughtful approach to purchasing materials. Remember, the goal is to enjoy your art and improve your skills without unnecessary financial strain.

Instagram: @sarahritchiehq


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