Morganica’s experiences in planning, designing, building, setting up, and selling her art to art fairs, galleries, craft shows, online, private commissions
What do the above pieces have in common? They still live with me. I’ve never really thought of myself as sentimentalist. Sure, I sometimes sob at tearjerker chickflicks or cracking good animation or sublimely elegant algorithms or wonderful UX or hardware that really IS “plug and play” or somebody just being nice for no good reason or incredible art. And maybe I succumb to leaky optics over certain scents or songs or baby animals but… […]
To all artists who make (at least part of) a living doing artfairs: Superpeople. You're superpeople. Your muscles are titanium, your brains are solid gold. I am not in your class. After one artfair, my muscles are jelly, and my brain is solid mush.
One nice thing about a glass art blog is that it's read by...(drumroll) ...artists. Especially artists who sell their work at artfairs and such. And that's just who I want to talk to now. If you've designed a good booth for selling arts and crafts: I need your advice. Please?
"I'd much rather have you in the booth, instead of helping with setup," she said, and I felt a mild tingle of pride. "I suppose," I said modestly, "You want your best *people* people out front, interacting with the public." "No, it's just that schlepping pedestals isn't exactly your strong suite," she replied, "I saw you working setup last time." That's what I love about New Yorkers: You never have to wonder what they're thinking.
Definition of exhausted: Me. Actually, I'm writing this the day after the Gathering of the Guilds, an artist-owned art fair that I'm told is the largest west of the Mississippi, so you'd think I'd be recovered by now. But this is the 11th year the Oregon Glass Guild participated, and only the second year that *I* shared a booth at the show so, as with last year's show, I ran myself ragged. And found out I still have a LOT to learn. I am--for those of you who don't follow this blog--a show newbie. What I don't know about being an art/craft fair vendor could fill an encyclopedia. On the off chance that there's someone out there even more clueless about shows, I figured it'd be kinda constructive to discuss the things that went wrong (and right).
Staffing a booth is fun, but not nearly so much fun as designing and building it. (And taking it down is hell, but that's another story) Having exactly ONE art fair under my belt, I'm not gonna suggest that I'm an expert at booth design or management. Terry Belunes and I took our new artfair booth out for a test run last weekend at our first show; we were pleased with the results, but found lots of room for improvement. Don't take this as showdesign gospel, but the following is booth design from a newbie perspective. I welcome ALL suggestions and helpful hints.