Guide 101 - The Process of Selecting an Artwork

Antique Vintage Textiles
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The selection of a piece is probably the single most important event in the entire chain of tasks I perform at WOVENSOULS.
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Why?
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Because 99% of my acquisitions are for myself - for my collection. When I acquire it, I want it to be with me forever. With the 'forever' perspective in mind, it is therefore necessary to choose carefully.
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How do I select the pieces that make it into the door?**
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First it is important to have eyes everywhere. Keeping track of the new items that come up for sale is very important. Sometimes one can afford them and sometimes one can't. But seeing the unaffordable ones is just as important. So search the internet as often as you can. Stay in touch with dealers and galleries - subscribe to their newsletters to get news of fresh pieces on the market.**
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Second, expose yourself to as nay pieces as you can to develop and train your eye.
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a) Visit museums. Many reputed museums have collections online - so one does not have to travel to see numerous pieces. An exploration of 20-30 pieces from varied museum collections is sufficient to give you an idea of what a good piece looks like.
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b) Read books. Explore Google Books. Read articles on the net.
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c) Visit dealers - that way you can handle the pieces. Touch, feel, scents and real-life vision - all add enormous depth to one's grasp of the category.
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d) Spend time learning about the category on Ebay. Again - sometimes circumstances are such that a masterpiece sells for a song and at other times trash sells for a handsome price.
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e) Learn about the variations in the category. Learn about how old pieces differ from new ones. Learn about the colors. Learn the motifs. Learn what is rare and what is common. Learn about condition issues in that category. Compare and contrast everything you see.
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f) In the beginning of entering any new category or subcategory, it is easy to get swayed by anything and everything that comes your way. In most textile categories, good pieces are not easily available so when one comes along, the urge to grab it before its gone is very strong. Then, over the years when one has a few pieces of the same group,  it becomes necessary to become a bit more discerning. And a piece must be more than just 'good' piece to make it through the door. The question that I have begun asking is "why bother".
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All of these considerations occur within the natural boundaries of 'affordability'.  Within my budget I must get the best value for my money. Naturally when I can afford more, I get pieces that score A+ on all my parameters of evaluation: content, color, condition, age and rarity. And what might be 'why bother' 10 years from now, may be a joyful acquisition today. So why not!
 
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DO note that for all this gyaan and advice, I still buy pieces with my soul rather than with my mind. If it speaks to me, it does not matter if it is not too old or not in great condition or if it not beautiful according to others. But I love them and would suffer a lot if they were to leave me.
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 antique hazara shawl
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So keep all the guidelines in your head and then develop your own rules for what works best for you! 
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Conclusion
It is sooo much easier to find information today than it was 20 years ago. So train your eyes with as much as you can absorb. Over time one develops a sense of a good piece vs a great piece. The faster we learn, the lower the amount of money wasted on buying things we may no longer value when our eyes have matured.
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