52 Projects is an adventure in discovery. Every week, for 52 weeks, do something. Something you’ve never done before. Something you’ve always wanted to do. Something that scares you. Something that inspires you. Something that inspires others. Something that tickles your fancy. Something that caught your eye. Something that just popped into your head. It can be big. It can be small. It can be whatever you want it to be. Find out how doing something can lead you to discover things about yourself, your world, your God. Then, come here on Sundays and share it with others. I'll write about mine here, you write about yours on your blog, then use the tool in my post to link to your something. Please feel free to jump in and participate anytime throughout the year!

Jane


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Week 16: participating in an art show



This week’s project was something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. Weeks ago on my way to meditation, I drove by a local library that was looking for vendors for an upcoming art show out on the front lawn area. I went in and inquired. For a $35 entrance fee, I grabbed an application and signed up. I knew it would be a very small show with limited traffic but for me it represented the perfect opportunity to jump in and get my feet wet. For starters, although I make lots of things, I don’t have a huge inventory at the moment. If I had selected a bigger show, I wouldn’t have had nearly enough inventory. As we all know I’m a Jack of all trades and master of few. Variety is the spice of life and being able to show such a range of art was actually a nice way to see what other people are drawn to and what would be nice to make more of.

All week long, I worked every day to add a few more things and finish some old projects. I had to figure out how to display all the items, how to price them, what to tag items with and how to pack them. I learned that there are so many small steps and considerations to be made in preparation of a show. And this was just a small show. In addition to prep work, I kept checking weather.com since the event would be held rain or shine. Every day this past week was sunny and gorgeous. But yesterday called for thunder storms and heavy winds.

When I woke up yesterday morning, the skies were gray. I delayed driving over to the library until the very last minute possible due to impending storms. When I finally got there, I scouted out the lawn and claimed my spot under a nice tree. I unloaded my car and set up shop. My sun dance must have worked because it never rained all day. The wind was an entirely different story though. The show was set to run from 10-4. By 12:30 I had to pack it up because the gusts of wind were so strong that my displays were blowing over constantly leaving two vintage cake plates and a hand painted wooden bowl broken. Nevertheless, I walked away with a nice cigar box full of cash in the few hours I was there.

Valuable things I learned yesterday:

I learned great tips on “what to do” for future shows from other vendors. There is such value in networking with other artisans. I’ll be emailing one in particular who is in the know with all the shows.

I learned that shows with higher entrance fees get more foot traffic and better advertising.

I learned that some shows are perfect for my eclectic venue while others are geared towards very specific art and craft.

I learned that there are an abundance of shows taking place almost every weekend and that it’s a good idea to visit lots of shows to get a feel for what would be best to enter.

I learned about bartering with other vendors.

I learned that an inexpensive canopy tent from Wal-Mart is an essential for any show artist. If I had one yesterday I probably could have stayed for the duration of the show. The smart vendor at an outdoor show knows to come prepared for a number of unpredictable weather elements.

I learned that doing these shows on a regular basis could be a full-time weekend job in itself.

I learned that my work is better than I give myself credit for.

I learned that there are a lot of jewelry artists but not as many artists that have a big eclectic variety like me.

I learned that the items I think will sell like hot cakes are the very items that get overlooked. My funky and adorable recycled flower pins barely got noticed. At $8 a piece, I thought they would have flown in to the shoppers bags instead of all over the lawn.

All in all, I am looking forward to doing another show again in the future. I’m going to continue to build my inventory, seek out different venues and network with others. It felt really good to share my happy creations with others. It felt even better to make a few sales and meet new people. Most important is the fact that I got over my fear of putting my work out there and took a small leap yesterday.

What did you do this week?

7 comments:

  1. I love art and craft shows and I tend to go to juried ones, and ones that charge an admission that I know are good. It's terrific that you bit the bullet and got out there. The idea of bartering with other artisans is fantastic. That'll be such a great way to acquire art. And how fantastic that you learned so much in a few hours. Best yet, that you learned that your work is really good! What a great post.

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  2. Jane, that's so awesome! I'm so glad that the experience seems so positive! You have major guts to put yourself out there like that. And I'm sure it's really affirming. We never give ourselves and our talents as much credit as they deserve. Happy Sunday! Happy Mother's Day!

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  3. Jane I am so proud of you. You are stepping out and putting yourself out into the world. You ARE an artist. I look forward to hauling crates and canopies for years to come. You rock my world!

    Oh, and Happy Mother's Day!!!

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  4. I am so happy for you. Look at that GREAT comment from Mr.B---YAY! I would haul your crates too, Jane, if I were there or at least cheer you on. Your work is much, much better than you give yourself credit for. I am SO GLAD it didn't rain and that you learned so much. Hip-hip-hooray! xo, O

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  5. way to go! This is such a big step!

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  6. I'm so excited and happy for you! As I have said many times - I think you are incredible! Congratulations!

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