Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Yes, I have indeed read all the other posts about tents. I've been at this for days (thank you for all the great information everyone!)
After reading, and reading, and reading, it seems to me that for photography a Trimline tent with mesh panels is going to be my best option.
Does anyone disagree? Does anyone have a Trimline tent and/or mesh panels and are NOT happy with them for any reason?
I just want to make sure I'm making the right decision, since the set-up is not cheap.
Thank you so much!
I an old display tent, but recetly got my set of mesh panels and in my opinion they are amazing! They are easy to set up, and hanging paintings/photos are so easy and makes for a really clean looking booth, well worth the investment.
Thanks for that! One more good review!
First, I have a Trimline with mesh walls. I have the universal back door (or side door depending where the door is installed). This means one of your mesh walls needs to be able to reef to 7 ft. and a few more pipes need to be purchased from Flourish. This is also a 'must' purchase given space limitations at many shows and your ability to access inventory. Of course this is not the only option for inventory management but that discussion can wait. I have also purchased the French Wall, which enables me to expand my display area and adds interest to the configuration.
This arrangement has served me well for 7 years, but there are pluses and minuses.
A few pluses...
* the walls breaks down to a small foot print (breaks down to a 5 ft by 1 ft package. This is very important if cargo space for transport is small. As a photographer, you will need to carry a lot of inventory (solid walls will take more cargo area).
* on stifling hot days, with tent walls rolled up, this allows the air to move. It can get really hot in tent cities on asphalt roads.
* the mesh is light but made of durable fabric, so it is relatively easy to install by one person. The Trimline tent on the other hand can be a chore to install, but it has served me well in all kinds of weather. When you start out, you will need to develop a coding system for accessing the various parts of the tent. This get easier over time.
* mesh walls are less expensive than carpeted wall systems
A few minuses
* the mesh wall system limits display area to a square configuration. The French wall unit helps to add some interests but I am often frustrated by the few options I have for display. The carpeted wall displays give a an artist lot more options for creating little nooks and interesting configurations.
* the ability to let air flow through the walls is a strength but it is also a weakness. The mesh is see thru and can create a very busy background for your art when your tent walls are rolled up. I find this at times a hindrance to my professional presentation.
* the mesh is white and I find at times it doesn't give enough contrast to serve as a foil for the art. (you can buy solid colored fabric walls from Flourish but at a substantial cost.
* some will say that the mesh walls take some away from a professional display and may limit acceptances into some shows. I haven't found this to be true; I've been accepted into top shows, and I have also been rejected by top shows. I'm sure some judges have preferences, but who knows the mind of a judge.
* if you have a neighbor who encroaches on your space (pottery vase pushing against your wall, you'll quickly see bulges in your walls and your work will hang horribly. The mesh is not very forgiving and at times your neighbor can be uncooperative. Solid carpet walls are not flexible.
Bottom line, when I started out with the business, mesh walls were necessary as cargo space was limited. Now, I think I would be happy with either the mesh or carpeted wall systems. The decision will come down to your business needs.
Wow Leo, excellent information! That helps a ton. Thank you! I would never have even thought about having a rear door - which I see now really is a must.
Hmmm... this gives me a lot to think about. I guess I need to figure out if I'll have enough space in my suv for regular walls. If not, then my decision is made for me (I have a Toyota FJ Cruiser).
One more thing. Do you set up your tent by yourself? I'm a bit concerned about that.
I have a Trimline and am a photographer. I used to use the rear door option but I no longer do. I want my back wall to show off my art, not whatever is in the background behind the booth. The background environment is rarely flattering. ;-)
IMHO, the best choice for you comes down to the size of your work. If you have a couple of "showpiece" shots, 30 inches wide or so, they deserve a back wall, and I'd use the full tent width.
Even in a tight show environment you can usually get to your back space by walking a few tents down to the end of the row (or a break in the row).
Ahhh. Good point. I DO have several large pieces (36x24). I have one that's 60x40! You're right - any door I have should be at the side for that reason.
So, do you not have any door at all now? If not, does it not bother you to have inventory that your can't see/access quickly? Or do you have a different option for inventory?
Hi Renee. I guess I never thought of putting the door on the side! I don't think I would have liked the way it looked, though.
As I said above (but perhaps not clearly), I just go out the front, walk down the row until there's a break between tents, and go around to my back that way. It doesn't take much extra effort. I'd rather have the extra wall/sales space than the "convenience."
As for risk of theft, if that's what you're wondering about: I've never had anything stolen in four years. Not to say that it couldn't happen. Actually, now that I think about it, I used to worry more about theft when folks would use my rear door as a shortcut to get to the next row of the show: it would have been easy for them to grab something on their way out.
No, you said it clearly. I just wasn't sure if you still had a door but opted not to use it anymore. I was wondering if one could "close" a door opening with a mesh panel.
And yes, I was thinking of theft actually. So, people would use your back door??? I never thought of that either, but yeah, that could be more of a theft opportunity indeed! I didn't dream there would be so much to consider when I committed to this thing! *groan* :)
Really do appreciate your willingness to help! Thanks thanks.
One other thing to address your setup question. A Trimline is a bit of work to set up...takes a bit of upper body strength to hoist the tent, and also to hold the outside canvas walls while you zip them to the sides of the Trimline. Women inherently have less upper body strength then men (that's not being sexist, just a physiological fact), and many women artists have told me that Trimlines were difficult, but not impossible, to do solo.
You definitely want to get the E-Z Riser (which is basically a fifth pole used to hoist and support one end of the tent while you attach the corner legs, plus a sliding fitting that holds the pole in place). This also enables you to attach the legs in a retracted state (meaning that you don't have to stand on tippy-toe while you're attaching the legs to the frame). The Flourish folks can explain that to you better than I can.
Very true that women have less upper body strength typically. Hey, I did p90x for 3 months and never could do even one single full pull-up from a hanging position! But boy did I try, darnit! :) But still, I'm pretty strong for a woman so I think with some practice I'll be able to handle it if there are other women out there doing it. Although I'm still not sure it's worth it if there are easier tents to deal with.
The EZ Riser is an excellent suggestion! I can see where that would be a must.
I sure wish I knew someone close who actually had one that I could "test"...
So, are you happy with your purchase? If you had it to do again, would you get the same tent?
Very happy, and yes, I'd do it again. I also bought the mesh panel covers recently and they upgrade the booth appearance about 1000%.
1000% is a lot!! :) If I opt for mesh walls I was going to consider those anyway but I think you just convinced me. I hate the idea of white walls. But do the covers keep the air from flowing through? Do you think that black mesh would be as attractive as the covers? Showoff sells black mesh walls for their canopy and also for the Trimline canopy.