Tuesday, July 24, 2012

No summer shows for me

Summer Market at Eugene Choo 2010
 Renegade Craft Fair, San Fransisco, 2011

Truth be told, there are these pangs of guilt I tend to feel when I open my facebook these days- every potter/artist I seem to know seems to be packing up for some summer show or farmer's market on the weekends.  I keep feeling like maybe I should have signed up for one, just to give it another try- were they really that bad? Yes.  Yes, they were that bad.

Here are some recent blog posts that remind me that I've made the right decision for myself.  I'm sure there are some tried and true summer art fairs out there, where the weather is balmy (not too hot, not too windy, but for sure sunny) and people attend in droves, generously supporting artists, understanding their price-points- not hesitating to buy a $40 mug because they know they will adore using this mug every day and that it's value will long outlast any of those cheap mass-produced mugs they bought at Ikea.  Perhaps there is a magical art show out there in the world that is a guaranteed sure-sell, making the booth cost of $400 for the weekend, along with travel and shipping expenses totally worth all the effort of standing in a booth for 2 long days.  But where this magical and perfect craft fair is, I know not. 

It may seem with all the photos online and the organizer's who boast of 'best attended show yet!' or 'sales were up 25% from last year', that those shows do exist out there in the world.  I'd love to hear about it, but generally speaking, I find most artist a little short about how the show went for them, as they are scrambling to pack up their work so they can get in the line up with their car to pack up the tent and all their stuff to be-line it for home.  Probably, like me, they just want to get home, crack open a bottle of wine, pour themselves a bath and shed a few tears, promising themselves that this kind of humiliation doesn't have to happen next summer.  That, yes, next summer will be different and the 'no shows this summer' will apply to them too. 

And for those who do frequent summer craft fairs- be kind.  Try to ask intelligent questions that can create an encouraging kind of conversation for an artist.  Craft shows are not for the faint of heart- they require such a lot of time and energy- when the show doesn't go well, it can be such a disheartening and frustrating venture. 

As for me, I'm hanging out with the boys for most of the rest of the summer.  It's just too much stress for me to manage shows and family right now and I'm happy to give myself a break.  I'll be making work for shops that hopefully will have good sales this summer.  And my online shop is always open- no wind to blow my work over, no 'I can make this at a fraction of the cost' comments, no 'where do you sell your work?' (answer: 'Here.  Right here and now!! Please buy from me now!!).  Just a nice little online shop with work that ships to your front door!

5 comments:

krystal said...

Oh gosh Heather! I just had all these experiences at the Muskoka Arts & Crafts show. I love you:"Where do you sell?" 'Here. Right here and now!! Please buy from me now!!" Omg.

Enjoy your blissful summer break! I'm taking August (nearly) off.

dahlhaus said...

Oh Krystal- So sorry to hear Muskoka went like this for you. Your work looked beautiful btw...

ana isabel said...

Your post summed up how I have been feeling for the past year about shows. I always feel a little guilty too, about not participating but it's exactly as you said. It's also really difficult to get a straight answer from organizers on how many people attend and buy...and the cost to participate keeps increasing.

JUDI TAVILL said...

Take a look at Whitney Smith's post and you will feel much better: http://whitneys-pottery.blogspot.com/2012/07/get-out-of-my-booth.html

giboulee said...

I thoroughly enjoyed every hand-thrown mug I bought, but 40$ for a mug seems a bit expensive for me...