This week in the Tiny Cat Gallery we have a solo show by Jo Coffey.

Her drawings are exquisite and show the joy and sadness that comes with cats.

I’m struggling with this week’s exhibition for a couple of reasons. Firstly they are huge, too big for the space and secondly I preferred them unframed. I think the frames distract from the artwork. But, it is how the artist sent them and I’ve closed off one side of the door to make them fit.

Taking photos in this now very cramped space is not easy. I’ve changed to a glittery floor which does look great with the work, but again, is hard to photograph. I’ve made things difficult for myself.

So, what have I learned?

  1. check artwork and framing at every step of the way
  2. check and recheck sizes of artwork
  3. be strong and reduce the size of the exhibition if it will look better

I’ve updated the terms for the Tiny Cat Gallery and I will be tougher next time. There is a fine line between wanting to be welcoming and accommodating and showing the work in a way that lets it be seen.


Representing artists

The current exhibition (Philip Ryland – Retrospective) has had some sales.

I’ve not been pushing to sell work but I have been promoting it like a larger gallery would. I have a Shopify Lite store attached to my WordPress site and that lets me embed shop pages anywhere I want. It is a cheaper and easier option than an actual Shopify store but has it’s limitations.

As a commercial gallery, I take 50% of the sales price. I’m part of #artistsupportpledge so when I make £500 I’ll spend £100 on another artist’s work.

But I’m also upgrading things when money comes in.

Things to make life easier

From the first sale of a bird and wind drawing I invested in Shopify Lite at $9 a month. WordPress has a free shopping plugin called Woo Commerce but it is clunky and horrible for the customer to use without loads of work. Shopify lite is swishy and smooth. Mmmm.

This month I’m putting money back in by getting a paid version of Later, the app and desktop programme I’m using to schedule posts on Instagram. I did a possibly foolish thing here and got a whole year upfront because it is cheaper long term. That means the accounts do not look good overall but they are ok for the month.

Sales – £80

Payment to artist – £40
Shopify Lite – £8 (wild guess at exchange rate)
Later – £12

Total expenditure £60

Profit £20!

That does not take the cost of running my website into account or the hours and hours spent taking photos, researching hashtags, responding to comments, answering questions, checking things with the artist……….

So I am celebrating my £20 but not really thinking about it a viable income. Although it will be declared on my tax return next year.

And the very best thing is that I could put HUGE dots next to the paintings in the gallery!




This week has worked well with the artist ( writing about his full sized work on his Instagram feed. I can repost with an app and refer to the smaller sized counterpart in the Tiny Cat Gallery.

This was the first time I’d tried to run a workshop and it went pretty well. We used our families and friends to start the submissions off but did get a couple of entries from followers too. I wasn’t expecting much engagement at all so I’m overjoyed that this went so well.

I’m falling into a pattern of work with the gallery now. It is still very time intensive but having it closed on Wednesday means I can start to think about the set up for the next artist. There is time to change things if needed.



The first week’s exhibition is packed away (but available to buy in the gallery shop)

The second exhibition is by Philip Ryland and it is a Retrospective of his current work. Philip sent me 10 paintings, each 95 x 63mm. They are all mounted on foam board so stand proud of the cardboard walls which makes them look more like they are canvas over a stretcher.

Photo By Philip Ryland

Gallery layout for multiple works

I mounted the paintings low to the ground, thinking of a cats eye level but in future I may provide seating platforms that are elevated because cats can jump! I’d never considered eye level in exhibiting before, that is another gift that the Tiny Cat Gallery has given me; the chance to think about different ways of looking at artwork.

The gallery is as brightly lit as I can make it, with a long bench in the centre of the room. I am using 3 anglepoise lamps with thin paper taped over them to diffuse the light. The lights are the brightest I had in the house, one is actually a grow light so the colours are a little on the yellow side.

Philip Ryland – Retrospective preview event

Further expansion of the Tiny Cat Gallery

I spent some time on Sunday linking the new Facebook page up to the Shopify Lite account. It wouldn’t link up without Facebook and even then, since Facebook have changed things around, it won’t let me install the shop. It is early days yet. I looked into using Printful for merch too.




The first week of the Tiny Cat Gallery has gone very well. From an open call on CuratorSpace to a jam packed programme that looks like it will run into September. All in a cardboard box.

This post is a note of what is working well and what is helping. There was a sort of domino effect happening this week with one thing leading onto another….

Automating posts
Mostly this week I’ve been posting on Instagram erratically. I’ve been making up little stories about the tiny cats, school visits, lovers meeting, guided tour…. taking pics and posting them when I feel like it. I tried saving a few images in draft form in Instagram but I cannot retrieve them.

On Thursday I set up a free account on Later which gives me 30 free posts on Instagram and Facebook a week. It is pretty easy to use through the app but easier on a desktop. There are limitations with the images, you can crop but not rotate and the filters are a bit basic.

It looked like the best thing I could get for no money though. This link is a referral which gives me 10 extra posts a week. I’m actually happy with 30 but I’m not going to say no to something free –

Setting up a Facebook Page
Instagram can post to Facebook too when you link a page up, seeing as they are the same company. I hate Facebook but I’ve set up a page with the intention of ignoring it as much as possible.
The Tiny Cat Gallery is on Facebook here.

Adding artists to my shop
I have a Shopify Lite account ($9 a month) on my WordPress website.  This is because I don’t like the way Woo Commerce looks or works and because Shopify can accept more payment methods. It looks pretty swishy with a pop out cart to the side and customers like it.  I haven’t set up a main shop page yet, but I have started a page for the Tiny Cat Gallery artists. You can see that here

Curating tab on my website
I want to do the best I can for each artist that exhibits so I’ve set up an area for Curating on my website. That means I can write up each exhibition with a selection of photos from the week and link to the artists website.

Streamlining submissions
Curator Space is great but the messaging system is a sod to navigate. I’m using it to chat to the artists initially but after that I send them to a Tiny Cat Gallery FAQ with a form that gives me all the info I need to put on their show.

It has been a bit of a busy week but I’m hoping that putting some of this automation in place will make things easier. On Sunday I’ll set up the preview for the next artist and I’ll try to schedule a week load of Instagram posts too. That won’t stop me from dropping in and taking the odd picture when I feel like it but it will stop it from being an unpaid job that sucks all my time away.


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