Art Fair Insiders

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

i am wondering how large operation buy sell jewelry sneaks into juried are fairs.  Over the weekend there were two vendors that clearly had high volume of the same merchandise, that they seemed to have no thoughts on how they produced them.  One had a slick banner with a website that apparently they did not pay for the renewal of the domain. The other was overheard on his cell phone ordering more stock- specific sizes of rings and bracelets. Now not everything in this show was “fine art” but the reputable jewelers were working in silver and gold, clearly smaller inventory, knew and willingly explained their work, the technique, the stone, etc.  My work is in fiber but I have enough friends working in meal that have educated me on the processes.

as a festival organizer/ jury what are there not more stringent qualifications for being accepted, and why are there a growing number of venders that buy from China in bulk, repackage and sell it as their own?

a quick review of the artist,s website or social media should reveal more than a schedule of where they will be selling.  Pictures of work in progress, video of processes should be required.  

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I was at Sugar Creek Arts Festival in Bloomington, IL last month when my booth neighbor, who is a jeweler, told me about a buy/sell booth that was selling jewelry from China. She had suspected this was buy/sell after seeing this same person at several shows and asking her about her technique (which she was unable to articulate). My neighbor raised her concerns with the Festival director and even provided links to another website where you could purchase the exact same ready made jewelry. This “artist” even used the very same images on her own website. The Festival director and staff shut down that booth and made her leave. So there are still some shows with integrity. 


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