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Archive for the ‘Art/Craft Fairs’ Category

Hello There! I’ve missed you all and I’ve got plenty of blogs to catch up on! I thought I’d review how my show went, both FYI as well as FMM (for my memory!). The show opens with a 7-10 PM reception on Friday night, then 10-5 on Saturday and 11:30-5 on Sunday. They do a wonderful job of providing 2 electrical outlets to each of the 60 booth spaces, so I was able to use all 8 of my cheap-o clip-on lights, 4 of which are the trumpet top bulbs I talk about here. My 10x 10 had plenty of light, and lots of artists came by to ask about the lights, they were so bright and the colors so true!

My problem (as always) with the setup is that I always have too much stuff I want to show. This was especially true at this show as I had neighbors just to each side of me, and the walkway wasn’t very wide, so I couldn’t ooze into any space outside the tent. Here’s how it looked Friday night:

I had a huge panic attach because I sold less than half of what I had done the year before that 1st night. There were lots of crowds walking by, but not many buyers, and I wasn’t sure whether it was the economy or my booth setup. Considering some of the folks I talked to had done pretty well, I was convinced it was me, so we changed the setup the next morning so there was more room for folk to enter the booth. Hands down the most awesome thing was this scarf stand built by hubby. Each arm has little indentations for 5 scarves to drop across the top. I’ve divided my colors into 4 season, so each arm held all the same weight (5mm habotai or 19 mm charmeuse) of a particular season. I have a stack of plastic bins with extras of all the colors (because I dyed 200 in the past 6 weeks!)…this made it so easy to show all the options.

I moved my stand that holds all the misc. packaging and hanging stuff to the back, and this seemed to make it easier for folks to come in, but it still was a tight fit with more than 4 people.

One thing I’m happy with, I now have some video of me doing the free motion quilting, I was able to show folks who asked exactly how I do what I do, most often impressing them with the fact that i do my stitching without any pre-drawn lines. I’ve got this little freebie DVD player I was able to plug in and leave running throughout the show.

Sales picked up on Saturday & Sunday: I ended up selling 55 scarves, 8 each of the baby outfits and going green totes, a couple of Scribblers, a messenger bag and a medium tote. I may also get a couple of commissions for bags in weeks to come…

So why do I feel so dejected?

  1. I sold less than last year.
  2. 3 people asked if my Branch & Bird series were coasters.

I see-saw back and forth between making things that are practical/beautiful and things that are made just for the joy of it. Many MANY people commented on how I’d come up with new things, and how clever I was. I take it as a compliment, because to me, each thing I make allows me to hone my artistic vision and improve my craft. BUT, I don’t want to fall into the trap of becoming a “Jack of all trades, master of none”.

Both the Branch & Bird series and the Botanical Sketches series were made for 2 purposes:

  1. I had this need to make them and see them hung up in groups on a little clothesline and
  2. These could be affordable art – something small that someone who got my art could purchase without a huge investment. 

I only connected with 2 people who felt the latter during the 3 days of the show.

My earliest venture into the world of art selling was with my quArt, which also involved multiple pieces that people could combine at re-shuffle on a whim. Although I’ve sold a decent amount of the quArt mounted pieces (20-30 I’d guess), over half of them were single pieces. My husband feels that I should be making larger combinations, mounting them in some way and selling them as larger, complete installations, which of course defeats the goal of the small, affordable art.

If you’re still reading this, I’d love your point of view. Obviously this is going to continue to be a struggle for me…

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Mid October Check in

I’ve been really working away, making a lot of stuff, and I’m so sad I don’t get to properly blog about it all…to me, something doesn’t feel DONE now unless I blog about it! Be that as it may, the show starts tomorrow, so how did I do in the prep for Art for Heaven’s Sake?

Item Date Due % Done
Dye lots of scarves & fabric 10/15/09 100%
New, simple portfolio printed 10/15/09 0%
Label everything for sale in booth 10/15/09 75%
3 Cool Messengers 10/15/09 100%
Oct RAA Newsletter 10/13/09 100%
Going Green Baby Onesies 10/15/09 100%
Matching leggings for onesies 10/15/09 95%
Going Green Totes 10/15/09 100%
Small quArt: Natural Silhouettes 10/15/09 100%
More Going Green Scribblers 10/15/09 100%
Make DVD of Free Motion Quilting to show in booth 10/15/09 100%
2-3 Cool Large Totes not gonna happen 10/15/09 0%
Simple Totes not gonna happen 10/15/09 0%
Laptop bag for Mary 10/30/09 0%
3-d Birdhouses 10/30/09 0%
3-d Row Houses 10/30/09 0%
Photograph Scarves for website ?? 70%
Website?? ?? ?
Baby Quilts 10/30/09 0%
Large Messenger for ME! 10/30/09 0%

I got a lot made, bailed on a couple of things, and I’ll see what kind of portfolio I can cobble together tonight. Thanks goodness my Mom is here, she spent the whole day ironing scarves and tagging things!

I DID get some pix taken, not as many as I wanted, and I can’t process them all, but I can show you an overview of what I’ve been doing the past week:

1) Tried to make some complete outfits of the freshly picked rompers…

2) Made 3 messenger bags:

3) Made covers for all the Ecojotters I had on hand:

4) Made 18 6” x 8” wee quilts, the same construction method as my Branch & Birds. I’m calling this series “Botanical Sketches”.

Okay, I feel a teeny bit complete I’m off to work on that portfolio! Wish me luck – it’s going to be a LONG weekend!

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My studio does NOT always look like this! Here it is, (minus the diet coke cans, they had to go, they were multiplying without me) right now:

I’ve got this evening, 2 full days, and 2 more evenings until it’s time for my largest show of the year! YIKES!

 

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to say HI! I Miss you blog-o-sphere! There are 340 unread posts in Google Reader as we speak!

We had a crazy busy weekend, what with 2 whole days in the park, a birthday party for Logan on Friday afternoon, then family bday celebration with him Sunday night. I’ve officially decreed next weekend as Mother’s Day! Poof! I will have breakfast in bed next Saturday!

Until then, I’m in the throes of teaching – the 3rd of 4 weeks. I had format/edit the Redlands Art Association newsletter this evening, and there’s concerts to attend this week as well! AAAHHH!

Show report:

This year was much better than last year. My sales are still mostly small stuff – scarves and Going Green bags. I did sell one piece of actual art:

6  little birds

Sigh, my favorite little birds piece. LOVE that red! Must make more…soon…

Here’s some pix of my booth setup – although I was happy with it at the time, looking at it now, as well as with some input from dear hubby, I see it didn’t do a god job of drawing people in. We’re going to get more gridwall before the next show (not til next Fall, thank goodness) and try to do away with the tables…

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The best part of this show is that I was surrounded by friends and acquaintances – and that makes all the difference! As I begin my 3rd year of doing business as an artist, I realize how much I’ve grown as a member of this community, as well as an artist! – Worth it’s weight in gold!

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My Next Show

 Art In The Park

Sat. & Sun, May 9 & 10 9AM-4 PM

Smiley Park between Smiley Library and the Police Annex (old City Hall), on the corner of Vine & Cajon in Redlands, CA.

For Original Art: cards, prints, glassware, ceramics, paintings, sculpture, wood crafts, jewelry, photography, textiles…over 50 Artists!

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Shop for your Mom!

Shop for that special gift!

Shop for the thrill of finding that one-of-a-kind treasure!

Sponsored by Redlands Art Association

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Well, there were 93 comments and the winner is…# 37! Kim! I’ve emailed her toRed Dirt Sp 09 013 let her know, and if I don’t hear from her before next Friday, I’ll draw another # – after the NEXT show (and last ‘til the Fall) I do – Saturday & Sunday of Mother’s Day weekend.

The show had incredibly awesome weather – after temps in the 100’s earlier in the week and then a threat of rain, it was just a bit cool and cloudy that turned into sun! Yay!

The turnout was fair, and I did make a fair number of sales – but they were all quite small, basically scarves and the going green totes. I usually sell at least one or 2 of the big bags, a few clutches and at least one piece of art, and this time none of those sold 😦 To look on the bright side, I’ll have a nice full booth at my next show, Art in the Park, May 9 & 10. I hope it’s just the economy that’s affecting things and I hope that it hurries up and fixes itself! One encouraging thing was to have the other participating artists come up and comment on how they like seeing me have new stuff at each show – I’m glad they noticed…I always have a hard time getting away from the booth for more than a few minutes, and regret I don’t get more time to visit with them!

I’m pretty happy with the setup, and I think that hanging the market totes off the shopping cart (thanks Lizzi!) is quite ingenious, don’t you? I’d like to buy a banner or two to string across the top of the EZ-up, and I’d like to make a quilted sign to hang on the front of my stand…perhaps by the Fall show season!

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Really quick – the festival was fun. It was held here:

orange muffin 086

My good friend Liz came with her “raggy” quilts, button jewelry and little bags made from recycled ties:

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As it was only 3 hours, I “only” took bags, notetakers, scarves and mini art quilts:orange muffin 073

One of the hardest things about selling scarves (well anything really, but especially the scarves) is display. Here you can see the rack I use to hold more scarves:orange muffin 074

I’m busy getting ready for a full blown day of selling at Red Dirt Art Festival this Saturday, and don’t forget to enter my celebratory giveaway! One more day til the comments close (gee, I hope I can figure out how to do that!)

I don’t show my face too often (I prefer being behind the camera) but here’s a half decent picture, so I thought I’d say HI!

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Items get crossed off the list:

Item Date Due % Done
Floral quArt 3/20/2009 100%
30 Tie Dye shirts etc…for Elixer 3/20/2009 100%
Design Clutch – Will Tuba 3/26/09 100%
10 Notelets 4/24/09 100%
5 Warm Colors Grab & Go 4/24/09 0%
5 Warm Colors Clutch 4/24/09 0%
30 Going Green Totes 4/24/09 30%
5 Cool Colors Clutch 4/24/09 0%
Cool Colors quArt 4/24/09 0%
Crazy Colors Bags 4/24/09 0%
5 Cool Colors messengers 4/24/09 15%
Candied Fabrics Quilt 4/25/09 0%
Medium tote for Nicholle’s sister 5/30/09 0%
Laptop bag for Liz 5/31/09 0%

 

Today I just finished 10 cute notelets, 5 in the warm colors and 5 in the cool:

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The green one with the flower in it is a special order for my friend Leslie, the rest go in the box for the Orange Muffin Festival I’m doing on Saturday! Yet another fun little event in Redlands celebrating the local citrus!

6th Annual Orange Muffin Festival

Saturday April 18th

10am –1pm

Historic Kendal House at Plymouth Village

120 E. Palm Avenue, Redlands, CA

plymouth village

Orange Muffins, Orange Butter, Juice, Coffee/Tea ~ $3

Muffins are also being sold by the baker’s dozen

I can’t wait to see what’s inside this gorgeous house!

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I’ve now done ~ 10 local art/craft fairs, some juried, some not. I’ve learned a lot from other folk in the blog-o-sphere (this list of craft fair advice from The Small Object is awesome, also comments on this Pink Chalk Studio post), but I wanted to share some things I’ve learned:

  1. Have a sign or something that tells people who you are. On my list of things to do is to make a 2-3 foot square quilt that has my business name 7 tag line on it. until then, I’ve got some 8.5 x 11 signs printed on glossy photopaper.
  2. Tote bags look better hanging than sitting. You may even want to stuff them with something so they have lots of shape.
  3. I am LIVING the “I’m not going to have enough to sell!” So you only do the best that you can. Every time I have a show, I keep meaning to make some smaller items like simple wallets, etc…and I never get to them, because the profit I would make is so small. I’d rather make one more bag than 10 mini wallets, and the profit would be about the same.
  4. Assembly line – make 4 or 5 of something at once. It truly does cut down on the time/item – but freaks you out because none are done until they’re all done.
  5. If you make stuff that can be worn, get a dummy/dress form to drape your items on.
  6. I’m sure you’ve read lots of general advice about this sort of thing, things like wearing comfortable shoes, bringing plenty to eat/drink & duct tape etc… All of that is helpful, but the most helpful advice of all is that you have to engage the customer. You have to figure out when to just say hi and when to schmooze, but interacting with the customer makes all the difference.
  7. Take the time to write or stamp your business name across a bunch of your sales slips. I ALWAYS flake out on writing all that I want to write on the sales slips – you want to be as quick as possible at the time of sale so that you don’t make the customer wait, plus you want to sell to someone else.
  8. Keep your money in an apron or a bag that you keep around your neck – you never want to worry about where that has gone to.
  9. Have a pad setup to add people to your mailing list.
  10. Have a space for people to write checks that is separate from where you’re merchandise is. The last picture in this post shows the stand my husband built for this purpose (it’s like a tall, skinny bookcase. I keep plastic baskets with bags and other stuff I need to sell on the shelves accessible on the back. Plus my diet coke.) This is a new addition and I love it – before that people would scoot some notetakers out of the way to write, and I ended up with a notetaker with a pen mark across it – ouch!
  11. Have some special order slips made up so you can quickly write those up – if you’d like to do that.
  12. Bring some red sticky dots in case someone buys something but doesn’t want to take it just yet – then you can make it sold but keep displaying it…I’ve gotten a few special orders this way.
  13. Don’t hold something for someone unless they give you the money.
  14. Be prepared with an answer when someone asks for a quantity discount. Um, have two, the nice one and the forceful one when they don’t like your 1st answer.
  15. Lighting! The cheap clip on lights in my booth are a godsend – you can get them for like 5$/each at your local big box store.
  16. Have fun and rake in the dough!

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I hope this advice helps someone!

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