Art Fair Insiders

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

If Jewelry is SUCH a COMPETITIVE arena...Why Don't Art Fairs Subdivide the Category?

Yes, I just received a surprising email that said my jury totals weren't high enough for me to be asked to attend a show. It also said: "We had almost 300 applicants this year and the competition was tough. We choose jurors who have expertise in craft and design but as all artists know, you never know what they're going to like from year to year."

I'm not here to whine. That's not me.

Let's find a creative solution for these Jurors.

1) I am sure they want our entrance fees. Do this by dividing "Jewelry" into the categories it deserves.

After all, photography and oil painting both result in images to hang on the wall, albeit by differrent routes.


Why should Metal Clay and Wire Work, although they may both hang around the neck, be lumped into ONE category????

2) Any good executive could find more space to meet the need.

3) Saying that you can only have "x" amount of jewelry artisans in a show is not a natural law of the unniverse. Change.

4) Find Jurors more in tune with the new processes of jewelry.


Any Jurors out there?

Fight my logic....make my day....LOL



Views: 1623

Comment by geri a. wegner on March 28, 2011 at 8:53pm

Well jewelry is already divided quite often into metallic and non-metallic.  

I think the problem is that having too many jewelers at an art festival divides the purchasing pie into too many small pieces and lessens the artist's chances for making a good profit at a festival.  Speaking from my limited patron's point of view, I can only buy so much jewelry in one day no matter how many pieces I find that I like.   Add too many jewelers to that equation and sometimes I get buyer's paralysis (inability to make a decision) and don't buy anything or buy a different medium altogether.  

Also, most patrons don't subdivide the category, to us  it is earrings, bracelets, neckaces, rings.  

Guess this isn't going to make you feel any better,  Sorry.

Comment by Patty Tiry on March 28, 2011 at 9:00pm

Linda, I totally agree with you, especially item #4, because I received the same letter and I'm a member of this organization.  I feel that jurors today don't understand that beadwork can be a new form of artwork. 


Frustrated too



Comment by phillip hall on March 28, 2011 at 9:53pm
 When some shows are up to and over thirty percent jewelry, that's way, way too many jewelers. There is no exscuse to overload that catagory the way they do. What would the other medias think if there were fifty woodworkers or fifty potters or fifty whatevers. It is not fair to the jewelers who apply.  Adding even more jewelry would be a huge mistake.  Maybe beadwork can be a new artform but most of what k see is work bought entirely from catalogs and strung.  With almost all findings and metal pieces bought premade and polished from the sweatshop overseas.
Comment by geri a. wegner on March 28, 2011 at 10:13pm
Phillip,  regardless of whether someone makes their own beads and findings or not, it is up to the artists to use their creative vision to put the pieces together.  If the pieces are unusual or unique, who made the beads etc, is not the first thing i think about. (i just bought a pair of patty's earrings 20 minutes ago cuz I liked they way they were put together)
Comment by Bonnie Blandford on March 28, 2011 at 11:20pm

I agree with Phil and I'll even take it further. My favorite shows are when if you are going to show jewelry in ANY media, you have to apply under jewelry. I'm so tired of 30% being jewelry and then clay, glass and others also have jewelry in their booth. My next door neighbor at one show was juried in the glass category and the booth was filled with all jewelry. How is that fair???

I don't want to see the jewelry category split. It would only encourage shows to allow more jewelry booths.

Again agreeing with Phil on the beadwork made of premade pieces, this does NOT belong at an art fair. Find a local craft fair that allows it. Don't bring it to an art fair because it's assemblage. You haven't made anything, just put it together. A real hot button for me!


Comment by S. Michelle Babcock on March 29, 2011 at 12:12am
Well said Bonnie. A good show will not be overloaded with jewelers. When it is I can't make a profit and I hate competing with assemblage pieces.
Comment by MICHAEL ALAN STIPEK on March 29, 2011 at 1:05am
The better quality shows - not necessarily just the major ones or the biggest ones - usually have rules against people in one category crossing over into another.  In other words, if you jury in glass, the rules will often state that artists in that category cannot display jewelry.  The same will go for pottery/ceramics, etc.  When you read the rules for a show, look for the rule that excludes jewelry from being sold in any medium except jewelry.  If they don't have that rule, contact them and make sure you are protected from non-jewelers selling trinkets in their booths.  If not, you might run into the same situation that Bonnie experienced.
Comment by Jeanne Steck on March 29, 2011 at 6:19am

I'm sure there's a long-winded response in me somewhere, but for now, I'll try to keep it simple.  I'm quite new to the art vs craft controversy and don't have experience with juries.  That said - Linda, I do agree with you, but I'm not sure how a show would break down the categories.  There are so many aspects to jewelry. It's like photography vs. oil painting - is one any less of an artform.  There are artists who make beads who can not "assemble" them into a finish design.   Because I (or Linda or Patty) use a different medium than S. Michelle or Phillip or Bonnie are we less of an artist.  I'm not saying I would want to compete with them, but I do think there is room for both.  Just not sure how it should be handled as a category.


Comment by Larry Berman on March 29, 2011 at 6:33am
And speaking of photography. Occasionally there are artists (photographers) who think what they do should be categorized differently than what other photographers do because it might give them a better chance of getting into a show. Take the shot on film vs. taken digitally debate, or the hand colored photographs wanting to appear in the mixed media category or digital art consisting of manipulated photographs.

I'm not a jeweler or claim to know much about it. But I do think photography should be juried in one category because it still is all photography.

Larry Berman
Comment by Michele LeVett on March 29, 2011 at 7:01am
I agree with Bonnie a Phil......I see too much buy sell jewelry at shows  and most bead booths that I see are buy and sell........may be assembled,  but not made from start to finish.


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