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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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When I first moved to Montana, I made dolls.  The very first customer came to me and asked, "What do the dolls do?"  Do? I replied---they are dolls.  She then said, I mean, do they hold open a door or cover a wine bottle?  It was funny---but after the 500th time, I felt like crying.

At the end of the summer, I took all the dolls, drenched they with gasoline and burned them in my yard.  Now, i paint on fabric!!!!

Ha, ha! Hope you are glad you made the change and it is working for you.

I like the idea of torching the dolls.  I have a stack of older quilts that I just couldn't make work and every time I see them I think of the time wasted making them and realize that they can never be salvaged no matter how much paint I throw at it.  I need to torch them and move on.

So much work destroyed...sorry.

I have found my one pet peeve that seems to be rampant lately. They come then sit there and complain they just spent everything and can't afford what I offer, the kicker - they proceed to tell me everything they just purchased in blow-by-blow detail. And, I am standing there thinking what??? Why are you saying this to me? Because 5 days later at another event, one of the same clods comes up and proceeds to tell me the same sad sack story while she is describing how she just "had" to leave her house while the delivery man for her new mattress took out their electric lines (new story/purchase from previous 5 days) and I am standing there thinking how bad I really wanted to say to her, "YOU can go now"....and had to bite my tongue.

Don't torch your old quilts!  How about donating them to a non-profit who can then auction them off?  Maybe a local school would be happy to display some of them to inspire their art students. How about the library?  Do you use facebook or a website?  Start a scavenger hunt.  Hide one somewhere, then put clues out for people to find it.  Think of all the traffic and attention you'd get.  You might even be able to get a local news station or newspaper to pick up the story.  You could do this a number of times, since you have several quilts you're unhappy with.  I'll bet the people who find them will be thrilled. It would be a great advertising ploy plus you'd get rid of those quilts that are driving you crazy.

Hi Jillian, I see where you're coming from.  I would never toss a large quilt that someone could use, no matter how ugly.   I would donate it to the Goodwill if all else failed.   My 'quilts' are really quilted wall-hangings.  Most of the ones that I don't like are horrible color/pattern combinations that I wouldn't want my customers to see.  They are less than 25 inches square and are truly awful.  I'll see if I can post a picture of one of them so you can see what I mean.  It was so poorly designed that I never got around to quilting it.    This one is 16 x 20 inches.  There is just too much going on and the result is disturbing.  Sometimes I can remove an unflattering section or just cover it up with other fabric.  I'll show an example of a successful quilted wall hanging.  I like your idea of hiding a nice full-sized quilt for a scavenger hunt.  It would be good publicity.  I do have a facebook site for my Quality-Quilts and a website too.  I'm currently researching how to get a useful presence on Pinterest.  Amazon has a book called 'Pinterest champion guide' for only 2.99 for the Kindle. Sorry to mislead you.

I'm still a newbie, so I have little to go on. My first show, I has a couple beeline from across the isle when they saw a bridge piece I made. I had a 4' piece on display, but I had a sign next to it saying it was available in 2', 3' and 4' along with the prices. Their comment as they got close "Look at this crap... That's how they lure you in, put the big one up to catch your eye, knowing you can't afford it." Then gave me the stink eye before stomping out.

I laughed, if they only knew it was my first show and marketing gimmicks and techniques are the farthest thing from my mind.

2nd was the lady in the booth next to me telling me I should make what the other guy doing that stuff makes... I just smiled and shook my head yes and tried to avoid any more chances for her to lend me advice. I believe it would do me little good to have what others have. I believe different sells in my craft of choice.


Get used to it Ken.  There are always well-meaning people that will give you 'helpful' advice.  I get it all the time.  Did you have a good show?

Being our first show, anything over our expenses, was going to be successful. We trippled that and I officially was hooked. Yes a good show.

Even now, eight years in, people still give advise, I thought it was just a "symptom" of my area...New England. Guess it's endemic in the Art/Craft world.  I try to pay attention when getting advise, because there usually is at least something I can learn from every show... even the pitiful ones. You just have to weed through the chaff to find the gems.....I have found the biggest, best skill we have is ADAPTABILITY. It is definitely needed in this particular career path!!

Man: "Look, here on my phone. I've got a shot just like that one!."

Me: "Yeah, aside from not being in focus and the harsh shadows since you didn't get up before dawn to shoot it just before the sunrise. But it certainly is the same beach."

Normally I'm nicer, but that was his third stupid statement.

Heh, what was fun was trying to explain to some guy who wanted to sell me his negatives why I didn't want his negs and why I couldn't use them. Eventually I got it into his head we only sell our own work and we don't buy photos and resell them. He just looked at me funny like I was missing out on a great opportunity.


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