I've been wanting for years to get back to doing art fairs. Now it's happening! Unfortunately the things I need to do to make it happen, need to happen NOW, right at the time that I am also preparing for this
year's holiday events and orders. The future is now.
I like the art fair lifestyle, and the very direct relationship between how hard you work and how comfortably you live. It's been out of the question for a long time because I didn't have an appropriate vehicle, and because the margin is so thin: the added expense of renting a vehicle could push a marginal show into the not-worth-doing category...and you can't always know ahead of time which shows will be marginal! But you may recall that in the spring I bought a little truck. I'll still have to rent a trailer for out-of-town shows, but it opens up a world of possibilities for me. Almost too many - I am experiencing some option anxiety. All the shows I used to do are in the Mid-West, and driving changes that calculation. And who knows if the shows that were good in 1999 are still tops?
I am not new to all this - for several years art fairs were my primary sales vehicle. I am
very rusty. I will need a new indoor booth, for example. Sort of having option anxiety about this too! It needs to look great, and also be lightweight and portable, and (relatively) easy to set up. How the hell did I do the lights??
This is where keeping a blog becomes a great resource! I have had many thoughts and written many posts about art fair displays over the years. I have those thoughts easily accessible now that the time has come to get building.
This was my old indoor booth.
Looking at it now, it's nicer than I remembered; I also remembered I did a longish post
about 5 years ago (my wheels turn slowly
) detailing its strengths and weaknesses. I could do worse than recreate this booth! But my February show is a wholesale event, and that seems to call for a different booth: fewer pots, just examples of pieces I am taking orders for, with more room to move around.
I drew a layout for a new booth around the same time, and I still would like to build this
- for my retail shows. It's probably too busy for this wholesale event. I think the wholesale booth should be walls with shelves, maybe three pedestal and a counter to sit behind. Eventually the walls might have patterns reminiscent of the patterns on my pots (yes, I know the conventional wisdom on this! Don't @ me. 😉) but for now, given time constraints I think I'll go with white or pearl gray.
Ugh, so much to do before February! And so much to do before December 1st, when my next event for this
season happens - that's Art of the Hill
, at the East End Community School in Portland. Come see me in booth 39! Maybe I will have wrought some of these changes to my booth (but I doubt it.)
As valuable as I find all this ruminating, I am getting a bit ahead of myself. The most fabulous booth in the world won't matter if without any pots in it! Today I am making bowls and mugs. Tomorrow will be trimming, decoration and handles.