Sunday, January 5, 2020

Wow Already? Again: Time to Apply for Next Summer's Fairs!

Last year's images

This year's images
This year's images
A potter is always living in the future. (Well: and also the past, in a different way. But that's a ramble for another time.) From a making point of view, for sure: the things I throw today, in my mind, they are already glazed and fired - I have a surface in mind for them, although it is fair to say the kiln often has other ideas. In business terms as well - in snowy January, I must decide which art fairs I want to swelter at next summer. Some of the fairs are even further out than that - two I am applying to are in September and October.

Last year I got a rude surprise when I didn't get into two big events I was counting on. (See, this is why I am terrible at business and possibly also life; I know I am supposed to pretend to be amazing and always successful; just openly failing like a common person, that is not good branding! But it's just you & me here...well, us & the whole damn internet...)


I got a surprise, not the good kind, when I got juried out (well: wait-listed, which in the end is the same thing) of two good shows. I made the best of it & actually had a great summer with no pressure of upcoming events, but I would not like a repeat for next summer! Getting juried out is not the end of the world, it happens to most of us at times, but it shook my confidence a little to get the boot twice the same year. Maybe my slides sucked? Maybe the pots suck?!? MAYBE I SUCK?!?!?!

So I am having to do a little work here to push those doubts aside. There's an element of the random; this was probably just that...but it couldn't hurt to be extra deliberative when choosing my images this year.

At the top of this post are the 4 images I used to apply last year; below them are the 4 I used on some applications this year, and 4 more I used for other shows. I was trying for a greater unity among the images this year. There are still lots of shows to apply to, so if you have some insight on which set of images might work better, I am all ears!

So far I have applied to the Common Ground Country Fair, The Portland Fine Craft Show, and started the complicated application for Belfast Arts in the Park, which requires filling out an in-site form, emailing images separately, and sending a 2 checks by snail mail. I'm also considering Art Providence - would love to hear from anyone who has done that show if it was worth it.

There are some smaller events, like the Winthrop Sidewalk Art Festival, whose applications are not yet open. I'm considering giving that one a try - it's only a few miles from my house, the booth fee is tiny, and I have heard good things about it. 

ETA: A reader commented that there is a Facebook group, Art Fair Reviews, that might be helpful. (Thanks, Susan!) Boy was she right! I joined the group and immediately got the information I needed specifically about Art Providence, which was , don't. Or that was my take. I saw comments like, "We almost made our expenses" and "we made our expenses, but only because we didn't need to get a hotel" and "It was our worst show of the year." Everyone says it's well organized, with excellent quality vendors; nobody says they sold well. So, I am crossing them off my list.


R's Rue said...


Susan O’Hanlon said...

Hi Lori - I really like this year's images! They're brighter and happier, to me anyway (it's all a crap shoot, right?). I think that they also look cohesive and like a body of refined work. The only thing I question is the angle of the mug shot ... is there a reason why you shot the mug from this angle?

Also, in case you're not aware, there is a FB group where artist feedback on various shows is offered uncensored by promoters. Art Fair Reviews & Art Fair Insiders. Maybe someone there can give you feedback on the shows you are on the fence about.

Best of 2020 to you!

Lori Watts said...

I had several shots of the mug; I took that one to show the interior color; I like it for the application because I thought it looked a little more dynamic than the straight-on shots. I guess I was thinking that because the pots were all of similar surface design that the application as a whole might be a little visually dull, so I wanted to introduce some variation.

LOL I honestly don't know if it was a good choice! I hope so, but you know...who knows? Maybe I will switch it out for one or two applications.

Thanks for the FB group suggestion - will check them out.

Unknown said...
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Lori Watts said...

Shove off, spammer.