Art Fair Insiders

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

Let's do it as a top ten: My number 1 is


"Did j'all make this"?

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A lady asked me if I had any pictures of mermaids, I replied "that I'm a photographer and you do realize that mermaids aren't real" Her reply was that since I had photographs of santa on the beach and he isn't real that I would surely have mermaids.

Okay I am a bit of a newbie, this is my first year showing at shows. But I have two contenders.

1. Do you do this to make a living?

2. Does this go with black?

both questions left me totally baffled! Though my husband had a quick response for number 2. He said. no, the more expensive one looks better with black!.

Most common baffler:


"Where did you take this?"  I used to tell folks, but it was never where they imagined it was, and I soon discovered that if I didn't have the exact right answer they were holding in their minds they wouldn't buy it.  So now my standard answer is, "Where would you like it to be?  It can be anywhere you want."

This year I am taking the locations off of all my tags.  I've lost too many sales the same way.

I think the strangest thing was "can you watch my baby while I walk down this isle?" I did not know this person. We had just had a nice talk about some of my work. I had to explain that I was working.

Just returned home and saw this discussion.  What a hoot.

I am a watercolorist/acrylic artist. My worst question ever was, " Can I just buy the frame?"   Was so stunned, I just said,"You're kidding, right?".  She said, no, I really like that frame for a picture I have at home.  More nerve than brains. 

Oh I just remembered another one. I am a felt artist, made the traditional way, one tuft of wool at a time, but lightened with laminating it onto silk. This comes under the heading The customer is always Right, even when they are wrong!

Two women come into my booth. Says one to the other " Ow, I know how she does this, she knits everything and throws it into the washa. Women number 2, nods sagely. I seeing an educational moment. Interrupt, and with samples and pictures explain in detail how I make my work.  Women number 1 listens, narrows her eyes and says " NO, that is not how you did this You KNITTED everything first, and glued the silk on. THEN you tossed it in the washa " I, with mouth wide open replied, "Your right, I forgot".  Women number 1 then turns to her friend an says "See I told you how it was done:" Then they promptly and thankfully left my booth.

My jewelry is mostly done with seed beads, so I get the "this is so tedious", "I'd never have the patience".  I usually just say, "it's a labor of love" and "everyone has their tolerance.  That's why I'm here and you're there!"   Then there's "you must have great eyes!"  me - "so far!"

A young lady came into my space at a holiday show and asked how much a bracelet was - I told her $130.  She looked shocked and I explained it took several hours to make it.  "Oh you make this?"  me "yes, I shouldn't be at this all hand made show if I didn't"  her "oh, I didn't bring any money".  Me in my head "then what the #^&% are you doing here?"

Then there are the people who come to the show during the last hour and express a desire to have the show last longer.  After we've all been there selling for 8+ hours and setting up for 2+ hours......

Thirty years ago, when we were on the show circuit as potters making functional dinner ware, the worst question was "can I eat off of this?" After three long days, what came out of my mouth and what I was truly thinking got closer and closer to being the same thing...but for the most part I was a good boy!



Rose Squared Productions, Inc


Them: This is a photograph, right?

Me: No, it is a woodcut.

Them: Oh Wow, a woodcut! That's amazing... What's a woodcut?

Me: explaing the process

Them: That looks really tedious!  Do you have it in a smaller size?



Dang!  I can't stay away from this thread!  OK, my absolute, all-time weirdo-ness:

A lady walks into my booth, looks at my photographs, none of which have people in them.  She says,"Do you have any photos of Jesus?"

I say, "Of Jesus Christ?"

She says, "Yes, our Savior."

I say, "Photography wasn't invented then, perhaps you might want a painting instead?"

She says,"No, I want a photograph.  You know what I mean."

All I could do is look at her in complete bafflement - just another escapee from the shallow end of the gene pool - as she walks away, shaking her head. 

Michael, that's priceless!


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