Art Fair Insiders

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

No drama this time. I need advice from all. From those people I have come to revere: Nels, Connie, Larry, Annette, Barry, Phil, Amy, Geoff,Amy Amdur and staff, Jim, SMB, Diane, Carla, Michele, Lexi, Mike, Barb and, oh Gosh, so many more.

I am not entering this post for sympathy. I need forthright opinions, the best you have in your pockets, please.

Facts: I have been hospitalized for numerous blood clots of unknown etiology. I am on warfarin which is suppose to prevent the formation of any new clots. The first clot is in my chest near my heart. The best doctors believe my body will in time absorb this blockage and that with limited activity at this time it is unlikely to travel, damaging anything like my heart, lungs or brain. End of medical journal.

This precluded me from sending any submissions to any Art Shows this year.

Other than the initial hospitalization, testing and bother, I now feel great.

This is where the serious advice enters. I have ruminated over several options and I know your minds contain many more. Please, help me sort out a solution?

1) I could take Master Courses to improve my trade. Con: $$$
2) I am a Master at fiber. I design, architect and invent with it. I have a patent pending on wearable fiber jewelry that I sold thousands of dollars to customers before I had to be juried. Should I go back and polish this. Pay to finish the patent. But how do I get a jury to place it in the jewelry category. Or would they create another?
3) In studying the world, there is a movement in music, literature and daily living which calls back simpler times and appreciation for doing it yourself. I believe this will benefit the Arts. Dare I say it, but some highly skilled crafts may be more in demand in our continuing and unabating economic conditions? Can Art Fair producers see this huge trend and respond? Yes, even the wealthy are loosing their pensions, portfolios and pomp. Should I follow?
4) Is it time to do "home jewelry parties" and find a gallery or two? Stop traveling.
5) I miss the circuit. We finally bought the best darn tent with 400 lb weights. Our booth gets raves and we enclosed in glass a section we were to premiere this season. We bought a Lexus V-8 that pulls anything in grand comfort. We have a great account with everyone. I was even redoing my website and had the instructions ( thanks to Diane Ferguson ) for a Facebook page. My growing repeat and loyal clients were increasing. And I owe so much to Amy Amdur personally and professionally. Can I just jump back next year with fresh and daring jewelry?

I am counting on you.
My computer comes home from the repair shop tonight. I entered this by iPhone. Desperation is the mother of Invention......I just can't do that to Herodotus! He said, " Haste is the mother of failure. "

So don't be hasty!

All my thanks,
Linda

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Comment by Lois Anderson on June 13, 2013 at 5:25pm

Linda, I'll begin by saying, this is probably not what you want to hear. First and foremost, you must focus on your health. If you are going to fight the condition continually, you are not going to be any good to anyone--including yourself. No, I do not think that Home Jewelry Shows are a good idea. Too much stress. Loading, short travel to hostess' home, unloading, set-up, some difficult people, orders, collecting money, providing hostess with incentives, tear down, reloading, short travel from hostess' home, creation and delivery of items that need to be created to fill orders. Does this sound restful to you?

Find some good galleries and upscale boutiques, place your pieces and let them do the selling.

A new product development? This one concerns me. Too much sitting and thinking and working without breaks. If you can force yourself to avoid long periods of sitting (that exacerbates clotting) then, okay. But, when I work on new designs, I lose track of time and can go hours and hours without a break, or even without knowing that time is passing. Don't knowingly do something that is well known to make your condition worse. You don't get the luxury of just deciding what you want to do. You must consider how each activity will impact your condition.

Okay, I am done with the MOM-THING now, except to say "My prayers are with you that you have the strength to limit your activities to those that will make your situation worse. 
Lois

Comment by Leslie Turner on February 28, 2013 at 6:40pm

If you have the energy for the creative process, but not the physical demands of the show circuit, it sounds like the internet or galleries are way to go. Or find a rep. Maybe join or start an Artist's Co-op if you want to be more involved in the selling process.

Comment by Linda A Shields on February 28, 2013 at 4:58pm
Thank you all from my heart. Your concern for my health left me deeply moved and teary eyed. As I lay here, reflecting on the years I have posted to and read the sage advice of AFI members, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the many hundreds of faces I have never seen but their minds, hearts and words have greatly entered and added to my life. Never, ever will I post again without thinking of you and this moment.
To the concerns of the nurse, these blood clots are the final symptom which now confirms my diagnosis of Lupus. I am very very lucky and also medically odd in that I have no organ involvement. Other than debilitating fatigue and pain, ( LOL) I am very healthy. So we know the etiology of the clotting problem. Thank you for your concern and perspective.
Believe it or not, I am torn about the way to proceed. I am a people person. Yet I truly relish those quiet moments when it is the Muse, the color, the shape, the texture, balance, lack or effusion, gleam or texture:chiaroscuro,then...creating. I need it like air. But here I sing to a choir.
What I love and can do well is create and sell. Every single business and physical thing makes me more ill.

My wonderful husband has a stressful job and yet has carried ( sometimes literally ) me this far. But it is taking a great toll. We started just as the economy sank. I used my inheritance to bank us.

Saturday we leave for our first vacation together without the kids since our honeymoon. We, like so many people, have had a stressful year. One son was diagnosed with MS and Dan's company, Northwestern Mutual Life dropped its pension plan out of the blue.

I am not venting. I have a great life, a fabulous family, big house, enough money, etc. But when you have a disease to manage, you aren't free to make decisions. You have to weigh out what each step of the way is going to cost you. It's like you only have $5 of energy and time a day and everybody else lives on unlimited credit.

So, how can I be an artist on $5 a day?
Comment by Annette Piper on February 28, 2013 at 1:10am

I'm sorry to hear that you have been so unwell Linda!  Your health is a priority - take some time out to look after yourself first and if you want have a play with fibre and see where it leads you.  When you feel strong and well and happy with the direction your creativeness has taken you, then plunge back in to the show scene!  

Nels is totally inspirational - he took some time off to recover and started back with a new body of work that is being snapped up by all!

Comment by Kathleen J. Clausen on February 27, 2013 at 5:48pm

Linda,  what a bummer!  This whole thing sounds unsettling.  So many people have given such good advice, my wish for you is that no matter how you decide, you'll be restful with your decision.

All the best!

Comment by Ruth Finkenbiner on February 27, 2013 at 1:32pm

Linda - take it slowly, talk to your doctor and get advice and use the extra time to create. Taking time off is not a bad thing, if you've built up some loyal buyers, just think how much happier they will be to see you in 2014 with all of your new designs. Some of our best shows have been ones we did for a few years, took a year off, went back and discovered we had been missed. That's a fun feeling to have!!

If you decide to participate in a few shows, hire someone to help with the heavy lifting, choose the shows that are the most profitable by hour balanced by those that are lower stress or hassle. If you hire someone to help you, take that into account as your deciding which shows might be worth trying to do.

Comment by Leslie Turner on February 27, 2013 at 12:07pm

I can tell what you want to do by the way you asked the question. Now you need to know if your health will stand up to doing that. Talk to your Doctor. Explain very carefully what is involved in doing shows, including long drives, little sleep, lots of lifting, etc, etc, etc. He or she can help you decide whether you are ready to return to shows this year, or if it is better to wait till next year.

Comment by sean McDougal on February 27, 2013 at 9:36am

Linda, if you have the time to create new work then focus on that. Also the social media. Start to build that up now while your not on the road. If you can sell off your website it is a great way to make sales without being on the road. Check to see if you can connect your website to your facebook page. I am talking about the shopping part. Post good pics of new work often. Also ads on FB are very inexpensive. I am getting ready to run one when I release some new work. You can hit a very big group of people with an ad for about $10 a day. You don't have to run it every day of the week. You can set a budget. Good luck , stay focused , and create.

Comment by Pat Falk on February 26, 2013 at 1:05pm

Linda, So sorry to hear of your health issues.  In our business of applying to shows so far in advance, this is a real concern for many of us.  There are alot of booth fees that could be lost.  Of course your health is the priority here---do what's best and think of that first! Lots of wise advice above from those who have been there.  Lots of prayers coming your way!

Comment by Shoshana Matthews on February 26, 2013 at 8:59am

I agree with Linnea.  Don't jump in until your body is really ready.  I went back with too much too soon and prolonged the healing process.  Your body will let you know when it's ready and for how much.  Good luck, and get well soon.

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