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Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

At a loss for what to do..what if the judges don't get or like your work...

Sorry so long...

I sell ok considering the economy, by selling online,but it's getting harder.I seriously think the few shows I've gotten into were a fluke,considering the high rejection rates.

Gotten into three shows, 1- made expenses plus, on one show, 2- lost my arse on another , it was really bad, loads of Buy/Sell and 3- I sold a couple things at one plus award saved my bacon, mostly due to ,long drive $800 in gas , and high hotel costs...Stayed at a cheaper hotel,as cheap as you can get in Orlando in Nov...

I got an award on my freakiest piece,my octopus hand flower, people of all ages, not just kids, loved it,surprisingly..

I like what I make,I make what is in me to make and my customers love it,but judges don't seem to...One show,I had to show a picture tutorial of how I make my jewellery for them to get it...Which actually I didn't mind, if they did more of that it might cut down on Buy/Sell. The bad part was none of the judges knew a thing about jewellery creation...

One of my pieces was a hand made pair of  sterling eye glasses, they didn't know people could make their own eyeglasses...so I did a picture tutorial of myself making eye glasses from frame to lense cutting , beginning to end.

Rarely I do get a response as to what they see wrong, or that I can improve.. Mostly I see that it's style...

The most common response I get is it's too representational,we're looking for minimal clean gallery , high art pieces.

It's not what we're looking for, or doesn't fit into the show... it's too different,we want a cohesive show.

Too busy,too weird was one. Considering I've seen pieces made from drywall screws wired together in a necklace.

Not creative was another..Lord of the Rings and Star Wars and should be in Comic Con was another...

From the responses I got, it must be my work...

I looked at a well known show, they do Jan, Feb,March, looked at the jewellery for all three months and for previous two years,all the same artists,all three months and both previous years... all the jury piccies were the same...for each show...

A lot of the jewellery styles were similar to each other,nothing at all like mine...

Isn't it about diversity?

I had a friend who made ornate fabulous pieces for years, no problem jurying, and always great sales...then she ran into the brick wall of minimalist tastes at jury...So she began doing what they liked to get in, jury,minimalist type pieces would just sit there... and the gorgeous ornate tribal pieces that sold like hot cakes.  The judges would praise her minimalist pieces when they  judge her booth  but chastized her it not being the bulk of her inventory..

I can understand the rational.

She told them, "my ornate work sells, the juried stuff that got me in, doesn't...if it did, I'd make more of it! They told her shows were about promoting fine art, she told them ...then don't charge so much for booth fees, artists can't afford to be a traveling art  exhibit... She never won an award at a show, but made her money in sales...

I'm about ready to give up. I can't make what I think will get juried in. It's not what's in my soul...I wouldn't be an artist just a jewellery maker.

I had to do that to get through college,it was all about abstract and minimalist, non representational art..anything else wasn't considered creative... So I fell into line, did what they liked,they loved it,they thought I had an epiphany... Had a highly praised senior show, sold nothing,melted it all down after the show, made what I loved and sold most of it...

I don't see a lot of representational realism in jewellery,I do in sculpture but not so much in jewellery...

I like making pieces that will keep the person interested, they find something different each time they look at it...

Granted some of my work as a fantasy component, but also nature and other elements. The octopus hand flower isn't everyone's cup of tea. But one older lady liked it enough to have it done in gold! Which I'm working on now...

I just don't have the money to make jewellery and have photographed, keep submitting to shows, that isn't going to get past jury and the economy isn't getting better and online only goes so far.. plus I like shows you get to meet people, see what they like and how they respond to your pieces. You don't get that sitting in studio and selling online...

Maybe what I do isn't art,so juried art shows aren't my venue..

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If erecting your tent is your biggest struggle don't overlook your fellow artists. Almost always there will be another artist willing to help with this small task. I know I always offer to help someone that is alone or seems to be struggling. And usually someone offers to help me. Getting help packing out is another story since people are usually in a rush to leave. 

I can do everything to set up and break down except put the roof on my Craft Hut.  There has always been someone there to help me.

Michelle, I do shows by myself, I don't hesitate to "borrow" someones husband for the 3 minutes it takes to pop and EZ up. You can do it one person, but it's much easier and less stressful on the tent to use two. Also I bought a kit from ebay http://www.ebay.com/itm/24-Large-New-Photo-Softbox-Light-Tent-Cube-...

Then I bought a graduated background from someone Larry recomended. I did the photos myself. I have a background in photography but honestly it was no big deal. I downloaded a 30 day free photoshop trial to do the photos. Don't quit. You have too much talent. It takes about 3 years to find your shows and then you will always be adjusting.

I think the work is great. Thinking outside the box. The problem is most of the juries are stuck in the box in my opinion. We want a well balanced show is what they say. In other words we are not familiar with that so we will take the safe bet and take the same work over again. I work in my own medium. I don't even know what to apply in some times.If I apply in metal they seem to be looking for a 3D sculpture. If i apply in mixed media I am up against so many others that are mixing media.In my opinion balance is not that exciting.I like new ideas. Not that you don't see any out there, but canvas prints are not new and exciting.And people wonder why the shows don't attract younger buyers.They see great work online all the time.Over the top and new exciting and different.And I hear artists tell me they have been doing some shows for over 10 years.So no other artist has come up with anything new and different in that time?I doubt it.Just the juries take the safe bet because they are not familiar with the new work.Perfect example, I applied to a top show in metal.I looked at the past artists in metal over 5 years.Most of them were the same people.This show had over 1200 applications.One of the artists work is something I have seen from others.With that many apps how do the same ones get in year after year?

noobie here, i might not have the answers to your jury problems,  I just wanted to write & tell you that i think your work is phenomenal. 

I'm having a hard time deciding if i should show your work to my wife because i know she would also love it (specifically the octopus bracelet), but i also know i couldn't afford it! (hence the conundrum!) 

With the amount of money you spend on expenses + your husbands time off work to go to a weekend show, could possibly be around the same expense for rent on a storefront studio for a month. It's a risky adventure (what isn't?) but i believe your work is definitely worth exploring that option.
If you can't afford that, find another artist on your caliber for a share-space partnership.
If that isn't an option, try soliciting jewelry stores for consignment space.
Reach out to your local artist guild & see if there are any events they throw that you could participate in. seek out the support of your community & community events, attend your local chamber of commerce meetings & see what opportunities that may lead you to, etc.
Do whatever it takes to get your work seen by as many people as possible until you get
to the point in elevating yourself to where you want to be with your art and your sales.
The point i'm trying to make is that there are other options.
Don't feel like you & your art aren't worthy because of some cookie cutter judges want cookie cutter art pieces at their cookie cutter weekend art fair. 
Quitting isn't an option. once you're an artist, you're an artist for life.
sure you can *try* to quit, but that only leads to depression until you kick yourself in the rear & get back to doing the thing you love doing the most: being an Artist.

you're an extremely talented Fine Artist.

Don't give up. 



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