This is my first blog entry, I have commented and lurked for about a year now and thought it about time I contribute a bit more to this wonderful community, from whom I have learned much. So here goes...
I just did the BAM/artsfair in Seattle, WA it was my first time participating in this show and I am only a three year show veteran so I still have a lot to learn. First some background, I am a wearable fiber artist and I live in Massachusetts. I am sure you are wondering why then given all the costs, am I traveling to the west coast to show. KIDS. I have two children who have chosen to live in the west and if I want to see them, I have to travel. Plus my husband has a client in San Francisco which means we can sometimes bundle some of the costs. I try to plan 4 shows a year on the west coast so that I can have my kids visit me and stay with me while I am working. In general I try to rent a house or large apartment through Airbnb. If you don't know about them, check them out. They are sometimes less than a hotel room and with a kitchen you can save on a number of meals.
I managed to get a wonderful house about 1/2 mile from the site, so I could even walk there if I wanted to or if I didn't have to do any schlepping. From my perspective, the show was wonderfully managed. You had a choice of choosing an outdoor spot or being inside (or under) the parking garage. Because I was nervous about rain, garments are not so much fun to try on when wet, I opted for the garage. Load in was a breeze. You had an assigned time, they lined us up on one street, and sent us in as space would allow. Once you were in, if you were not driving an oversized vehicle, you could pull right up to your space unload and stay till you were set up.
The weekend was gorgeous, it didn't rain, the sun came out intermittently and the temperatures hovered in the low to upper 70's. The show had armies of volunteers who kept circling to give you a break and they had an artists only area, where coffee, water, soft drinks, snacks and lunch were provided each day. Oh and the crowds were huge! But, somehow, I must have missed the small print for the hours of the show 9:30 - 9:30 Friday and Saturday and 9:30 - 6 on Sunday That is 32 1/2 hours of being ON. Some would say that was an opportunity for sales, but after 6 on a Friday and Saturday night, well, let's put it this way, I would have had better things to do as did most of the crowds. I also missed the fact that this was not the only show. There were two other shows happening within in walking distance of each other bringing the total number of artists somewhere near the 500 mark. Way too many artists chasing the same dollars. All three shows were free entry so there were a lot of aisle walkers.
This show is both a fine art and fine craft show and I saw some pretty fabulous work. I did see lots of bags and large pieces heading for the parking lot. I didn't like the fact that the NYT, siding/window company and other non-art booths had the prime locations outside. There were a number of them at the entrance, so it was hard to tell what the show was about. For, myself, it was a barely break even show, but worth it because I got to be with my family. In my limited experience I am discovering that I do best in shows that are heavy on wearable art. My clients come in dressed in their artwear looking for new. I did not see a lot of artwear walking about, for the most part, they were well heeled but on the conservative side and my clothing, says look at me.
Load out for me was very easy also. I shipped my work and fixtures and rented the booth, so after I packed my suitcases and boxes, I hand carried them to my car. I did notice that there was a long line of cars and vans lined up on the street, so I think load out was probably less easy for most.
I am not sure I will do this show again. Not just because of sales but that 12 hour day just about killed me, it is a little bit too much for me.