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

Okay, here we go. Another Newbie on the loose! First, may i tell you all how much I have enjoyed this site over the past few weeks. I feel as if I'm in really good company with others who are actually doing what I've been wanting to do for years. it just seemed so impossible to get started because no one I knew was actually doing it.

It is also a great way to find answers for well meaning family and friends who, with obvious intrusive irritation, say "why don't you just do shows? What's your problem?" How does one explain that it's just not that easy. It's a life decision and although you're doing what you love, it's still very much work in the true sense of the word. 

So, thank you for the opportunity and all that you've shared. I hope I will be able to do the same for others going forward.

Okay. I've been in the biz selling my work on and off for many years through galleries, and in my own studio, etc. but this year I have decided to go the show circuit. I'm starting strictly local, smaller shows under $300 this summer. I've got two coming up in June. I just did my FIRST show which was indoors, and really primarily craft. I made a hundred bucks but I had a ball. 

For the record, that really isn't the long range plan. My work is not craft, but actually fine art ceramic sculpture and painting. I've ventured to the craft side on occasion, greeting cards, tiny individually sculpted ceramic animals, hand rolled fimo bead bracelets. It's gives me a chance to cool down after working for a month on a large crazy sculpture. And I love the selling, having grown up in the retail business.

Anyway, i thought this local craft show would be a good way to start. It was just cute for the first day back in business. It was a well attended show. One day. The people that bought from me were hard pressed to part with the $10 to purchase my tiniest of offerings. So i really appreciated them.

So, my June shows, one art & craft and one strictly fine art are both outdoors and I have borrowed an EZup from a friend. But he only has a tent. I have no walls, no weights, and I don't know where to begin. I've looked on professional sites and on Ebay and have read a lot from this site as well. No way I can invest in propanels or other heavy equipment but I do want to look professional and not fly by night.

Here's my question (which i could have started with but that's no fun...) What is the difference between different types of side walls? Are there standards? For starters, regardless of how I design the inside of my booth, I need to close up shop at the end of the night, right? What's the least I would need to get started? Do I need three separate walls and one zippered wall? And would it be enough to just buy the canvas zippered walls on Ebay from a personal seller for a hundred bucks or so, without going into hock? 

I know I will need weights too, but I'll wait on that question...

I've posted one photo of my practice display - in my dining room, and one 2 second video of the actual indoor show, just for reference.

Thanks all. Can't wait to hear whatever suggestions are out there.

Robin.

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The short answer is you need to borrow, purchase, or rent a canopy that comes with side walls unless it's only a one day show and the director (or God) guaranties beautiful weather. Weights can be 8x8x16 concrete blocks from Lowes or Home Depot, at least two or three per corner.

Larry Berman
http://BermanGraphics.com
412-401-8100

Larry, thank you. Are you saying I should not use the borrowed Ezup and attempt to fit walls to it, but rather go ahead and purchase my own fully equipped canopy? I have two two day shows in June in Rhode Island. I have a pretty good connection with God, but probably not in regard to weather. 

Oh and please don't laugh too loud, but what are sta-bars and if I use concrete blocks for weights, how do I use them? I have been reading lots of discussions here but there are so many, i would be happy to be directed to the appropriate ones. 

btw, is that your beloved bichon? I have one too.

If you are doing a two day show and don’t have walls, you will need to pack everything up for the night and lower the tent so it is still there in the morning.  If you had walls you can just zip them down and take your times from the display leaving just your tables and stands.  I never leave any product in my tent overnight…my things are very light weight and even though my tent is weighted down I don’t want to take the risk of leaving items…OK, I do leave some ornaments I have. 
StaBars attach to the top and/or bottom of your tent depending on the type you have.  I have a e-z-up and used two sets one at the top and one at the bottom.  They are attached on three sides of the tent leaving the front open.  The difference in stability with the bars in place is amazing.  They are well worth the investment.  If you have a lot of shows booked I would suggest you make the investment in a good quality tent.  I ended up with two e-z-up tents, so I left the extra one in the trailer as a backup in case we got to a show and disaster had struck overnight…thankfully I never had to use it.  As I said I started out using an E-z-up doing outdoor shows, and this spring I decided I would be continue doing shows outside so I have invested in a Trimline tent.  Sometimes it comes down to the saying you have to spend money to make it. 

There are two basic types of sidewalls for pop-up style tents.  Some attach to the tent with velcro, running across most of the top of the sidewall.  Others attach to the tent frame with straps.  The strap style will work on most popup tents, even if they are designed for a velcro attached sidewall.  As long as there's a tent frame to attach the straps to, they will work. 

All the sidewalls that I've seen use zippers at the corners to attach them to each other.  That has been the weakest part for me.  You can get a set of Caravan sidewalls on Amazon for about $50.  That's 4 sidewalls and one of them has a zipper in the middle for a door.  They are really thin, almost see-thru, but they are cheap.  They appear to use the same plastic zipper that the $100 sets use, and since the zipper is the weakest link, I buy the cheap sides.  Right now I have 3 sets of sidewalls with broken zippers sitting in my garage! 

I tried something at my first outdoor show this year.  I bought a bunch of 48 inch bungee cords and at night I wrapped them completely around my tent, about 2 ft. off the ground.  That kept the sides from flapping in the wind, and I think it saved the zippers.  We had 40-50 MPH winds that first night, and my sidewalls and tent survived.  It was still a little breezy during the day, so I just opened the front panel and fastened the bungees to go around 3 sides. 

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