Hello Art Fair Family!

I would like to introduce myself, Betsy Bowers, a sculptor, from Sunny Sarasota, Florida. I'm new to the art fair world and am excited to get started. I've been creating art all my life, and finally have the right timing, and material combination to bring my flavor to the art scene. By day, my full time gig is designing T-shirts, and by night I play in clay :)

I do have a few questions for you... Any and all suggestions/comments are appreciated :) So far, I've had some great advise from people in the art fair scene, have read tons of great information on this site, and would love more insight.

For my first year, I would like to stick to the bigger Florida shows, and apply to what I can as a first year-er - I'm torn on where my art stands though, am I fine art, or fine craft?

If there are any shows you think my work would fit into in Florida, please let me know. Please check out my work at http;//betsybowers.com  and let me know what your thoughts are.

I am quickly wrapping up a few pieces in order to take the infamous booth shot. I've read loads of great information on this site, and am excited to see how everything comes together. After seeing my pieces, please let me know if you have any booth suggestions... I've had a hard time finding more sculptural set up to inspire me.

I'll post my first attempt at a booth shot later this week and see if you have any advise. From what I've seen, you all give great advise and suggestions.

I'm happy to be here, and am excited to kick off my first show season in a few short months!






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  • Hello from Minnesota Betsy. You have the advantage of living in FL where there are plenty of good large and small shows to check for fit. I'd try both. Your work will hold its own in the big and busy shows where subtle sometimes struggles (CocoGrove and the like) and it should also do well in the smaller, less hectic venues. Your initial challenges will remain the same in both types of venues - how to interact with customers; best means of displaying work; pricing; polishing your "story". The learning curve will be steeper at the bigger and busier shows but if your going to do this why not get going? The nice thing about fine craft is that there are shows that are exclusively fine craft (Craft America Shows like West Palm Beach; ACC shows; Smithsonian; ACE Evanston; Philadelphia Museum of Art). These shows don't allow fine Art (painting, drawing, etc), they are strictly craft. There are very few 'Art' shows that won't allow fine craft. Your website looks very good. I especially like the time lapse on the monkey. I would like to see some prices and dimensions in your gallery. There are a couple schools of thought on this but I like to know. Any other thoughts about this out there? Good luck, I think you'll do well.

    • Thank you, Jay. Yes, I'm giving it my all... and we'll see what sticks. I am new to all of this and would LOVE input on pricing. I'll post my booth shot today or tomorrow, you can get a better feeling of the size of my work. The smallest being the pigs, they range from 9-11inches, and the largest being the bulldog, elephants, and alligator at around 17inches. I will be doing the all original thing - ceramics, painted with acrylics - but I do have some production pieces as well.

      Thanks for you kind words, and great advice!

  • Welcome to AFI!  I started as suggested here, small local shows first.  Then I started applying to larger local shows.  Now I am in my fourth year and did my first major show and will be doing my first "out of state" show.  That has giving me time to learn at a good pace and improve my art/booth to get into major shows.

    • Thanks, Cassius. Yes, I feel like I need to wear waterwing floaties for the first year or two... out of state sounds very exciting. Thanks for the advise, and good luck!

  • Hi Betsy and welcome to AFI :)  I adore your work - so fun!   I am sure it will do well in the art fair scene.   I too would suggest you start local and small for a show or two - iron out the bugs in your set up and have a show under your belt before going for the big ones.

    Connie did a great thread on creative booths, have a look there for ideas.  Here's the link to it http://www.artfairinsiders.com/profiles/blog/show?id=2160589%3ABlog...

    See you around the site!


    • Thank you, Annette. Wow, that link is great! Thanks for the hook up :)

  • Hello Betsy and welcome to our group.  What cute things you have created! 

    I agree with Dave.  He gave you some great advice.  Sometimes as you are just getting started it is best to stick with smaller shows, close to home - both of those will keep your costs down while you are learning.  You will learn so much when you are at a show from your artist neighbors.  You will find most are very helpful, too. 

    If you need help with your booth shot, Larry Berman is available for that kind of help.  He is a member here, too.  He has   helped lots a AFI members and have helped them to get a great booth shot which is required to get in those top notch shows. 

    Good luck and post your booth shot when you get it.  We would all love to see it.

    • Thanks, Jacki :) I'll be shooting the booth tomorrow. I'll post is asap.

  • I would definetely put you in the Art column!  If you turned your sculptor into lamps, then you'd be in the Craft column:-)  The definition that I've heard bounced around my area is "if it's something to look at, it's art.  If it's something you use, it's craft."  That definition falls apart with jewelry, but it's a starting point.  Other areas may have different opinions, but you would fit good with the art shows in Coastal Virginia. 

    You could apply at some craft shows, too, but I think your market is more with art shows.   You would also do good with wildlife shows, if you had more wildlife pieces, like your bear with fish. 

    I would suggest just the opposite of your thinking, and start with some good smaller shows.  That will give you practice and experience.   Your application fees will be smaller, and the crowds will be smaller, but the atmosphere is often more relaxed (as are booth shot requirements!).   You will have time to learn more from your fellow artists - although you can learn a lot right here!

    Welcome and good luck

    • Thank you, Dave! I've not looked into the wildlife route, that's a fantastic idea!

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