General information About Artisans,
and our folk art, antiques, and outsider art business
Folk art, antiques, and outsider art
Artisans is a mail order and Internet gallery of unique antiques, folk art, and outsider art. Since 1987, we have offered a wide variety of interesting, unusual, and fun stuff. It ranges from funky to formal, with selections for the beginning to advanced collector, and museum quality pieces. You can view our on-line inventory which includes many of these pieces.
Who we are, and a bit about us.
Artisans was started in 1986 by Matt Lippa and Elizabeth Schaaf - that's us. We were living in the Chapel Hill area of North Carolina, had an open shop and also did some shows. It wasn't long before we also added mail order sales; and decided to establish a "Mail Order Gallery". Over the years we've done many shows and advertised in lots of Magazines and trade papers. We launched this web site that you are now on in December of 1995.
Our business is located in Mentone, Alabama, USA, a small town on Lookout Mountain in the Northeast part of the state. We are just 6 miles off Interstate 59. If your travels bring you near Atlanta, Nashville, Knoxville, Birmingham, or Chattanooga we are an easy drive. There are some other folk art and outsider art dealers in the area, quite a few antique shops, some well known folk and fine artists, and some good flea markets. There are also Bed and Breakfasts, good restaurants, State and National Parks, and lots to do and see.
We do not have an open shop, or even a sign out front, but you can call us ahead of time to make an appointment for a private showing. We would prefer AT LEAST a weeks notice. If it is a "last minute thing", we are liable to say "no something else is going on - try another time". We tend to be irritable, self-absorbed, informal, blunt, and opinionated. If you can put up with those kind of attitudes and a little abuse, then you might like looking through the mess. We do have literally thousands of pieces of art and antiques.
Our prices are pretty much firm. This does not mean that you can't make an offer or ask if we would consider reducing (or increasing) them. We are open to that. A warning: we do not react well to being asked "Is this your best price?" That is usually met with a suggestion by us to make it higher. We do try to give a discount for multiple purchases. That means if you are ordering more than one item, and if we have room, we will try to take off a little. If you are an actual, bonafide, in business dealer (not simply someone with a tax number), we try to offer a courtesy trade discount. That will vary depending upon the item(s) ordered. Please feel free to contact us about that.
One of Matt's pet peeves is how folk and outsider art is valued. With named artists, the price of the piece many times bears absolutely no resemblance to the quality of the work. It can be a piece of garbage, and if it has the name of some "hot" artist, the price is most likely hugely inflated. Now, I have seen many pieces done by named artists that are very good. But for every great one, I see many more mediocre, derivative, or poor ones. SO, I have developed a way to value this art called the Stuckey's test.
It works like this. Say you go into a Stuckeys. For those of you with limited life experiences, they are the tacky and sleazy highway shops with pecan rolls, t-shirts, cheap trinkets and puzzles, and the 99 cent breakfast of one egg, white toast and jelly.
So there you are in the Stuckeys. Imagine that you look up at the wall or in a bin or rack display, and visualize the piece of art you are valuing. It has no name or price on it. Ask yourself one question: "What would you pay for it"? Then check the price on the piece. How about a lousy - or great - (insert artists name here) for (insert price here)? Does it now have that same value to you? Does it pass the Stuckey's test?
If you would like us to contact you directly when we get in something you are seeking, please take a few minutes and drop give us the details. Send a note, e-mail, or call. We keep a good record of what people are looking for and DO actually get in touch with them directly when we get in something that may be appropriate. Many items sell this way before ever making it onto the web site. If you also provide photos of what you want, this will give us an even better idea. We will return them to you right away.
During the year, we send out periodic mailers (usually quarterly) of general folk art, with descriptions and some photos. There is no charge to receive them. We supplement these with other specialized mailers such as quilts, tramp art, carvings, whimseys, etc. If you would like to get on the mailing list, please let us know by phone, letter, or E-mail.
We are also always interested in buying good examples of folk art. We prefer older anonymous items. Even though we do buy and sell contemporary and outsider art, our preferences run to pieces from the 1930's or 40's and back. However, if it is just super, please remember us. If you do have something you think we might like please get in touch.
We do appraisals of some folk art and Americana. The value depends on the age, condition, workmanship, and several other factors. We charge $25 (check) or $27.00 (through paypal) for a written appraisal, and need clear photos of the piece, along with as much information you have as to size, condition, - and especially any features that don't show in the photo. You can pay the fee with a check or paypal.
NOTES ON PHOTOS:
1. If you take digital photos please resize them to 72 DPI. PLEASE DO NOT send huge image files unless we request them. These are the raw 1 to 6 or 8 meg images that come out of most cameras. It is very time consuming for us to work with large images.
2. If you do not know how to resize images and must send large files, we can handle them in two ways.
First: Send them on a disc. There is no extra charge from us for this. If you want the disc returned, include a self-addressed label, mailing sleeve, and enough postage.
Second: You can still email large images. Because we must download, scan, and resize them we charge an additional $3.00 for each image to work with them. This will be billed by invoice to you through Paypal and will need to be paid prior to us doing an appraisal.
Try to take images which show the overall look from all sides. Be careful to include any damage or special elements. The surface and finish of any item are important to evaluate. Please try to include at least one image of that. If we need additional information, we will contact you.
We will give you as much information about your piece as we can, along with a range of value you might expect depending on where and how you sold it.
We also buy, and are especially looking for unusual pieces. If it is something we are interested in, and we end up buying a it from you, we would return your appraisal fee for that item.
If you do send photos to us and want them returned, please also include a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope with enough postage to return them. We discard photos if not SASE is provided.
If we are unable to do an appraisal because of poor photos, any refund will be made to you through Paypal.
You should undersand that we are dealers, and because we do buy items, there is an inherent conflict of interest in us appraising a piece which we may want to buy. We do attempt to be clear and honest, but if you have any doubt about selling an item to us, we recommend you seeking an appraisal by another party.
We can do restoration on many antiques and pieces of art, and specialize in matching colors and carving. This includes quilts, tramp art, and many other items. Our rates vary, but are in the $60.00 per hour range, plus materials. Contact us for a quote.
In addition to buying and selling folk art and antiques, we also do web site design and hosting, and will consult with you on how to make an existing site work better. If you are interested in this type of service, please let us know.
Oh, if you'd like to see what we look like and hear a message or two from us, take a look.
Artisans: Matt Lippa or Elizabeth Schaaf
P.O. Box 256, Mentone, AL 35984 USA
(256) 634-4037 (9AM - 8PM Central Time Only please.)
Copyright © Artisans. All Rights Reserved.