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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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I get that only in a different format. Since I work with high-end fibers...there is a belief - if you own them, throw food at them, let them breed indiscriminately, roll in mud, thistles you name it, shear the fleeces with a chainsaw (not really but it looks like it) are sitting on a gold mine. They are called alpacas...the biggest pyramid scheme of the past 20 years. Raising animals to produce a desirable fiber takes that old thing called "work" here sits who knows how many people that invested into the myth waiting for their big payday.... Not. And to say there is a glut in the market is an understatement. Every least one naive hopeful comes up with the attitude they are offering me gold. Now, when I hear someone look at me with all this excitement that "they" invested and now have alpacas...I am inwardly rolling my eyes and thinking to we go again, me trying to politely explain I don't deal with fibers at that level of the process. Thank you very much.

"Do you have any photos of [some place where I've obviously never been because there are no photos of it in my booth]?"

Oh, I'm glad you asked! Yes, I do have one single photo of that awesome place you've been looking for! I love it so much that I have never ever thought of making a four-foot framed print of it, and instead I have it buried in one of my print bins as a 5x7.

Really.. Don't you think that if I had a really awesome photo of what you were looking for it would be prominently display up on the wall?

1) Did you make these or do you just buy them?

I guess the shocked look on my face ran him off.

2) wife says "how do you cut these out?"
Husband says "she uses a CNC machine"
I say "with a scroll saw"
Husband says CNC machine, Scroll saw it's all the same thing a computer does the work.

I show them step by step pictures so at least they understand.

3) where do you get your patterns, these are really good?

Me: I design all of my own stuff, you won't find any of these anywhere else in the world.

4) my brother cut out this exact one

Me: these are all my own original designs

5) I've made a couple of things, how much does it cost for a booth here?

Me: I do 20+ shows are year and after a while it all runs together.

6) what brand of saw do you use & where do you get your blades?
I'm nice & answer but it gets old

7) I've got some patterns I got from somewhere you might be interested in?
Me: I only sell my own original designs

8) so do people buy stuff from you?
Me: no I just give it all away or no I just like to pay & display

9) are these laser cut?
I point out each of the 5 signs I have displayed saying they are not

10) so is this your tent & you bring it?
Me: I was just passing through and saw it & couldn't resist!

I think this has happened to everyone at one time or another.

You're at a show where you paid $350 for your space for the weekend. You have a nice display as does everyone else. The crowd is good and you're doing well, and suddenly..... Two people are in the middle of the aisle looking very serious. They have a folder full of something. They're very serious! They're pointing at things in your booth and quietly talking to each other.

They straighten themselves up, walk over to you and hand you... an application to their school show in 3 weeks! They tell you they have juried you on the spot and have been "accepted". "The space fee is $50 and we would love to have you join us."

Almost every show Chris ;)   Mind you, some of them can be quite profitable!

I know what you mean. I have no problem doing a small venue show if I have an open weekend and it's less than 50 miles away.

The big red flag for me was the show was in 3 weeks. An autumn show only 3 weeks out and  it's not full?

I'm booked until the second weekend in December so I wouldn't have signed up anyway, but I kinda felt sorry for them, because the chances of getting exhibitors at this particular event was almost nill.

I paint landscapes, I did a Christmas fair last year where the booths all around me did personalizing of names, scriptures, and sayings, ect. on their work.  I kept getting asked if I could personalize the work with a family name or whatever like the booth next to me.  I just got to a point with this that I just said you can purchase it and take it to a vendor that specializes in personalizing it.  Like really guys?  I also told them that if they would like to commission such a work, this would be the price, but these pieces were already completed along with varnish.

"Would you like me to be your model? I will do nudes!" -says the man standing in my booth of landscapes while striking a pose, looking creepy as hell.

Being a former tailor...for some always thought I was really "enjoying" it when I would ask them to unzip their I could measure how far apart it split wide open to see if it was possible to make their pants WIDER...oh...uh-huh that really did it for me. NOT

And the most offensive was when they would do that...AND be wearing no underwear and then think I "seriously" was going to alter their filthy pants for them?

I apply designs to tumbled travertine tiles for coasters, trivets and plaques. The one that mystifies me is when the want to know if I made the tiles myself .... like did I shape them and fire them. Yeah, I fire up the kiln by night and apply designs by day, right. No, in reality I buy the blanks and then apply my design.

Like any good artist trying to sell what we create, I have several lines of specialty fibers and each one reflecting not only the costs of the raw materials but the work put into such. I had one that was upset that I was selling a blend that included rose fiber in some unique dye paths (one of my more expensive lines)....and why weren't those available in my low end see, it's like was that want it but you don't want to pay for it. I just smiled...and said maybe next year.

"Are you the artist?"

"Did you make all these yourself?"

"Did you paint all these yourself?"

"I love your stuff. Do you have a card?" - (get out of booth free card)

"Do you know the way to San Jose?" - I am from San Jose, I do know the way.

"If only the top on that piece was on the bottom of that piece, I would take it"

"Do you do commissions? I have a spot in my yard"

"How long does it take you to make this?"

My favorite... "Will you be here next year?" (My under the breath reply: I am here now, buy now!)


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