The photo above is of my long-ago booth set up; I think that shot was taken at the ACC fair in St. Paul in maybe 1998? It works in some ways: The pedestals nested for travel, and the textured paint hid chips and dings. But it has long since been repurposed, bit by bit. And I would like to do better in a few ways:
- The old booth does not take advantage of wall space, either visually or for the display of work. If I used painted hollow-care doors, I could attach short shelves at varying heights, to highlight special pieces. Those doors aren't heavy, but they are awkward in that they don't get any smaller, so I'd be lugging this 7-foot slab of wood, sometimes a whole city block. Hard to transport on a hand truck, too. But what if I alternated with panels of wooden lattice?
- Or, hey, how about this: if I reinforced the lattice on the back with a frame of 2x4s, and if it was only a couple or maybe 3 feet wide, it would be sturdy enough to hold hooks for mugs, making use of the space for display. The lattice would let the wind through, making it Omaha, Nebraska-proof.
- Panels of painted canvas would diminish the weight and the packing space consumption. I could alternate them with the lattice panels or hollow cores doors. Not both, as the whole will start to look like a mishmash. Or - making it complicated now- maybe hollow core doors for indoor shows, and lattice panels for outdoor shows? I'd have to get the expensive spray-on stuff to fireproof the canvas, but it's a one-time pain in the ass. Not that ACC ever carried out the threat to fire-test the rugs or wall panels, but they could; and also, it's just safer, with so many booths in the hall, if they are flame retardant.
- Okay, the floor: ugh. I had that rug because I didn't want to pay $80 to rent a 10 x 10 square of grey or beige carpet for three days, a couple times a year. That shit adds up! (That goes for the curtains, too. Lesson learned long ago: always bring your own.) At outdoor shows, the floor will probably just be the grass or pavement...for indoor shows, maybe I could do a pattern, with colored duct tape? Or would that look cheesy? Hmm.
- My old booth was somewhat lacking in storage pace for extra inventory, shopping bags, packing materials, price stickers, pens, sunscreen, a cooler, just all the stuff you need during the day at the event. Two of the pedestals were open at the back with shelves for such things, the circular ones had lids so I could store things inside, and the back curtain was two feet forward from the perimeter or the booth, but it was clumsy and inconvenient. When I plan the new layout, I will take those things into account.
- Pedestals: I think I can build them, cheap and light, from foam insulating board. I plan to make a small one, to discover how best to cut the board and smooth the edges. There are hot wire tools for this, as cheap as $7 or over $100; it might be worth seven bucks to make this big job easier.