Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
I was asked to introduce myself and give a little of my background. Here goes......
I earned a BS & MS in Tech Ed in '69 and taught graphics and woodworking in high school.
I couldn't feed my family on a teachers pay and started doing art and craft shows in '77. I did just about everything wrong off the beginning but learned a lot, quickly, mostly from great advice from the show vets.
I came up with a good booth design and a unique product line of relief wood carvings and they sold! Went full time in '79. Moved out to the country with my wife and 2 little ones and have been at it since.
A lot has changed over the last 42 years but the game is still the same.....produce a quality product and get it in front of your customer and you are in business. It's the "getting it in front of your customer" part that has always been the challenge. Way back when, you could do it with shows alone.....not now. In marketing, you have to be creative and sometimes take chances. I've been fortunate to have found the right combo for myself.
I'm still learning and sharing what I can, to help others. And that's why I'm on this forum, to learn and share.
Soooooo, HI! I'm Joe, woodcarver from Connecticut and looking forward to "meeting" you all.
Welcome.... this is an excellent site and I know you will enjoy it. As another wood artist I look forward to seeing your creations
Hi Joe ... glad to have you join us. I'm sure you have a lot to share. I also started in this business just about the same time as you. We've probably met over the years when we came East to do some shows. You've also seen it all, the excitement of the early years (before Pottery Barn, Pier One, Etsy, the Internet, the collapse of the middle class when union jobs became scarce) and an art fair was big news in a community. And yet, you've been able to flow with that and find an interesting life. How many miles have you put on, do you think? How many states have you sold your work in?
Greg and Connie, thanks for the warm welcome
Greg, I like your work.......a lot of sculpting going on!
Connie, miles?????? I've shown from Mass. to MD. One year I did 32 shows......6 in MD. That was 12 days of just driving, lol. Remember winter shows in malls? 4 day shows and I slept in my truck. I rarely got a room.....didn't have the money. Had a wife, 2 kids & 2 mortgages
Mostly I settled into about 18-20 shows a year. My big annual show (41 years this year) is a big country fair, (The Eastern States Exposition) They have an arts and craft area next to a Colonial Village. Sweet spot!! It runs for 17 days, 12 hrs a day. 1.7 million last year. You learn a lot of people skills at a show like this.....a lot! When I figure out how to post pics, I'll get a few up.
Makin Chips and Havin Fun!
I hope you said you earned 1.7 million at the Expo last year ...
Connie, That's 1.7 million people. lol
If I made $1.7 million, I would have only done the show once, lol
I do get at least 6-8 months work out of the show.
Makin Chips and Havin Fun!